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The World Cup draw took place Thursday in Japan, with three of the five teams in each pool being cemented, and the likely landing spots for the United States revealed. While certainly no pool in the Rugby World Cup is going to be easy, it appears the USA's best path to success is to actually lose the qualifiers to Canada this summer to avoid the pool of death.
The top-qualifying team out of the Americas is set to join England, France and Argentina in Pool C, along with the second team out of Oceania (likely Tonga, Fiji or Samoa). If the Eagles were to qualify as the second-place team from the Americas, they would go into Pool D with Australia, Wales, Georgia and the top team from Oceania. At least in Pool D, a win against Georgia would be expected.
Pool B will feature rivals New Zealand and South Africa, along with Italy, the top team out of Africa and the repechage winner. Pool A includes Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe's qualifier and the playoff winner.
The Eagles actually have three avenues to reach the World Cup. The first is the doubleheader against Canada this summer. The Eagles meet the Canadians June 24th in Canada and July 1st in San Diego. The winner of the aggregate score between those games goes into the pool of death.
The loser has to play a similar double header next year against the winner of the South American championship, which includes Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil.
The winner of that goes into Pool D. The loser would enter a four-team repechage tournament. In that, all four teams would play a round-robin, with the victor taking a spot into Pool B with New Zealand, South Africa and Italy.