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FIJI DEFEAT TONGA 2017

Fiji and the USA became two more qualifying teams for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. The Fijians won the Pacific Nations Cup against Samoa and Tonga while the USA defeated Canada to advance into the Americas 1 slot in Pool C. Fiji moved into Pool D.

Pool C awaits one more nation for the Oceania 2 slot, either Samoa or Tonga. The loser of this series will have a repechage opportunity to qualify. All three Pacific Nations fifteens competed in the 2015 RWC in England.

The Eagles have never beaten Samoa, sporting a 0-5 record, the last loss 25-16 coming in the 2015 RWC. Against Tonga, the USA are 1-8, a May 1999 win followed by consecutive losses, the last match a close 20-17 defeat in November 2016, a game played in San Sebastian, Spain.

The Americas 2 place will be decided by a two-match series pitting Uruguay, ranked 18, versus, Canada, now fallen to 23 in the World Rugby standings.  The loser also will have that repechage chance.

The four RWC 2019 Pools and current rankings follow:

Pool A – Ireland (3), Scotland (6), Japan (11), Europe 1*, Play-Off Winner

Pool B – New Zealand (1), South Africa (5), Italy (14), Africa 1**, Repechage

Pool C – England (2), France (8), Argentina (9), USA (17), Oceania 2 (**)

Pool D – Australia (4), Wales (7), Fiji (10), Georgia (12), Americas 2

(*) = Romania (16), Spain (19), Russia (20), or Germany (22)

(**) = Tonga (13) or Samoa (15)

(***) = Namibia (21) or Kenya (26)

The RWC for men and women can showcase a nation’s rugby side in a dynamic fashion that regular Test matches cannot accomplish. For example, one-million Irish fans watched the Women’s side upset New Zealand in the 2014 RWC in France on TG-4, the Irish language channel. And, after Japan upset South Africa in the 2015 RWC, the subsequent Japanese games witnessed a dramatic increase in television viewership.