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Germany in white against Romania

There is another European Men's fifteen's tournament that garners less interest and media coverage than the Six Nations event. It is called the Rugby Europe Championship comprised of six nations: Belgium, Georgia, Germany, Romania, Russia, and Spain.

But its lineup of teams has, potentially, a greater impact on the USA both in the next Rugby World Cup qualifying rounds, and, possibly, in RWC pool play.

Georgia have already qualified for Japan 2019 from their fine showing in the 2015 RWC. If they win this event, the second place team will go to the RWC as a designated European fifteen.

Last week was Round One of the five-match schedule, where Georgia beat Belgium 31-6, Spain defeated Russia 16-6, and, in a surprising outcome, a much-improved German side upset Romania 41-38.

The Americas Rugby Championship (ARC), now in its second year, was created to give North and South American teams Test match opportunities similar to the Rugby Europe event. But here's the rub, five of the six European sides (Georgia, Romania, Germany, Spain, and Russia) play at a similar competitive level as the USA, while the ARC includes two lesser sides. Here are the current World Rugby rankings, which demonstrate the lower standing of ARC sides Brazil and Chile. (ARC in bold):

Nation, Rank            

Argentina (9)

Georgia (12)

Romania (16)

USA (17)

Canada (18)

Russia (20)

Spain (21)

Germany (22)

Uruguay (23)

Belgium (26)

Chile (30)

Brazil (34)

The USA have traditionally battled Uruguay for one of the three American regional RWC spots (NB - RWC 2015 saw Argentina, USA, and Canada qualify). Uruguay qualified in a home and away contest against Russia for one of the last remaining RWC slots. If the Eagles should fail to beat Uruguay, then they might have to face one of the better Rugby Europe sides.