Written By Joe Harvey I Photos By World Rugby, Getty Images and Melissa Lear Photography
In the opening round of the Final Qualification Tournament for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, the USA took charge. Scoring ten tries against Kenya, which included hat-tricks for Rugby New York’s Dylan Fawsitt and Houston SaberCats wing Christian Dyer, Gary Gold’s team moves into the new week in poll position.
PHOTO BY WORLD RUGBY/GETTY
Fawsitt opened the scoring after nearly 20 minutes played. The Eagles had to survive an early yellow card to second-row CC Mahoni [Houston SaberCats], bedding into withstand pressure from their opposition and eventually marching up the field. MLR’s leading try-scorer got over the try line much the way he usually does, thanks to the lineout. After throwing the ball in, the front row had the ball popped back to him by Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz [Old Glory DC], who arced his run and dotted down with plenty of black, green, and red shirts on his back.
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Some 10 minutes later, Fawsitt was crossing the whitewash once again, this time at the back of the maul, the team’s physical dominance proving its worth. On the stroke of half-time, Fa’anana-Schultz would have a score of his own. With quick-ball, Kenya was well and truly on the back foot, the big No.8 burrowing over from close range.
Resuming the scoring in the second half was Fawsitt. Completing his trio of scores just after the break, the 32-year-old crashed over from the back of a maul once again to all but seal the contest. As Kenyan bodies began to tire, Dyer’s involvement began to grow.
PHOTO BY MELISSA LEAR
Having scored seven tries for Houston on their way to the playoffs, the 24-year-old is certainly a threat and made a mazy to dot down for his first. In the following minutes, Kenya would get themselves on the scoresheet through Brian Juma. Although undeterred by conceding, the Eagles would score through Nate Augsperger [San Diego Legion] thanks to the pace of full-back Mitch Wilson [New England Free Jacks].
Dyer’s second would continue to keep the Eagles on the front foot, and the ball worked to his right wing before diving low to get the score. Former Old Glory DC hooker Mikey Sosene-Feagai was next in on the action, the maul once again making way for a score.
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To wrap up the USA’s afternoon, there was a try for New England Free Jacks back, Mitch Wilson. Making his debut for the Eagles in this game, the 26-year-old was the beneficiary of a strong scrum just meters away from the Kenyan try line, the ball making its way to Wilson to score behind the posts.
To put an end to the game, Kenya would score their second through Joshua Weru, the wing sent over by Martin Owilah to score unopposed and draw a close to proceedings.
“Kenya brought it to us at the start and frustrated us a bit,” Fawsitt said post-game, “it was what we wanted to do to them, so credit to them. But we came together, and I am proud of how the boys reacted. We got the result we wanted.”
In the game between Portugal and Hong Kong, it was the Europeans that took the win. Beating their opposition 42-14, Os Lobos are second in the table on points difference. In their second game this Saturday, November 12th, the Eagles will play Hong Kong and will kick off at 9:30 AM ET, and viewers in North America can watch for free on The Rugby Network.
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