Both Os Lobos and the men’s Eagles have remained undefeated through the first two rounds of the Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai.
Both Portugal and the United States of America have won both of their matches at The Sevens Stadium, setting up a championship match for the Rugby World Cup 2023 Final Qualification Tournament.
Os Lobos started off match day two with a convincing 85-0 victory over Kenya, and then on Saturday, the men’s Eagles defeated Hong Kong 49-7 in Dubai.
It means that Portugal are in first place in the standings based on their point differential, but whomever wins the matchup between the two teams on the following Friday will secure the 20th and final remaining ticket to RWC 2023 as well as their spot in Pool C.
Both Hong Kong and Kenya needed to win on Saturday to have any chance of qualifying for the showpiece tournament that will be held in France the following year. However, since neither team was successful on Saturday, the only thing that will be at stake when they face each other at The Sevens Stadium the following week is third place.
Portugal is superior to Kenya
In the first match of the day at The Sevens Stadium, Portugal defeated Kenya with a score of 85-0 after scoring 13 tries and maintaining complete control throughout the battle.
When Os Lobos finally broke through the Kenyan defense, it took number eight Thibault de Freitas capitalizing on a hard driving lineout to do it. This took less than a minute.
Scrum-half After Portugal hooker Mike Tadjer scored a try at the end of another set piece drive, Samuel Marques converted it, and then he did it again in the seventh minute.
Brian Tanga thought that he had put Kenya on the scoreboard in the 14th minute, but his try was disallowed because of a knock-on that occurred earlier in the game.
The Simbas gave up a third try very immediately, and Manuel Cardoso Pinto was the one who scored it. Portugal was able to get a try-scoring bonus point in the 22nd minute when José Lima crossed the try line for them.
Os Lobos scored their fifth try just before halftime, and it was scored by winger Vincent Pinto, who benefited from a shrewd lineout move that occurred while Kenya second-row Brian Juma was in the sin bin. Marques’s performance from the tee was flawless, as shown by the fact that the score was 35-0 when the break occurred.
The challenge that Kenya was up against was already formidable, but it became even more difficult within a minute of the game being restarted when Juma received a second yellow card and was subsequently sent off for the team. Kenya needed a victory to keep themselves in the running for a spot at the RWC 2023.
Tadjer, Vincent Pinto, Tomás Appleton (twice), and Jose Andrade were the players who crossed the try line for Portugal during the following 20 minutes, during which time they scored five tries. Os Lobos had a 66-0 advantage with a quarter of the match yet to play after Marques converted two of their opportunities and Jéronimo Portela added one more.
Their 13th and final touchdown came after Kenya had been reduced to 13 players due to Geofrey Okwach’s sin-bin for a violent tackle. Os Lobos crossed the whitewash on a further three occasions, through a penalty try, Joo Belo, and Lionel Campergue.
Augsperger scores twice for the USA
In order to stay ahead of Portugal at the top of the standings and pass them in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, the USA needed to defeat Hong Kong, and they succeeded in doing so.
A second-minute penalty by Gregor McNeish that would have given Hong Kong the lead was missed, although it was a rare venture inside their opponents’ 22.
USA winger Christian Dyer was the first player to cross the goal line during the first half of play within Hong Kong territory, but play was stopped for an earlier forward pass.
In the 13th minute, number eight Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz surged over from close range for a try for the men’s Eagles, and AJ MacGinty added the extras.
After seven minutes, the USA managed to get past Hong Kong’s defense once more as hooker Kapeli Pifeleti Jr. took advantage of a driving lineout to score. MacGinty converted once more.
The rest of the first half followed a similar pattern, and in the 25th minute, Nate Augsperger added a third American try that was converted thanks to some deft handling.
Eleven minutes later, Cam Dolan scored a close-range touchdown to give his team the try-scoring bonus point. The Eagles went into the interval with a 28-0 lead thanks to MacGinty’s fourth convert.
Seven minutes into the second half, Mitch Wilson pounced on a reverse pass from MacGinty to increase the USA advantage before Augsperger added his second try, giving the Eagles their sixth of the game.
With little over 15 minutes left, though, Matthew Worley danced his way across the goal line to give Hong Kong the victory they had been fighting for.
However, Moni Tonga’uiha still had time to cross and score the seventh USA try, which would have given the final score a little more luster.
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