The “Americas 2” decider was on a knife-edge following the previous week’s 27-27 draw in Montevideo, but the USA held their nerve in Atlanta to progress with a 32-13 second-leg victory. The Eagles are the fourth nation confirmed in Scotland’s group for the tournament south of the Border in September and October next year, with South Africa and Samoa already formidable opponents for Vern Cotter’s team.
However, with Japan set to be formalised as the “Asia 1” qualifier via the Asian Five Nations in April and May, the USA are determined not to prove the Pool B whipping boys. Coach Mike Tolkin said: “My approach is we are going to compete as a team that can come out ahead.
“The thing I always say is ‘why not us?’ We are out on the field and we competed in the World Cup the last time. I think we have more depth now, we play a better level of games and we are better prepared.”
The USA have only failed to reach the finals of the World Cup once, in 1995, but have not managed more than one victory at any tournament since the event began in 1987.