Rugby World Cup 2023
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USA’s Mitch Wilson scores against Kenya in the Rugby World Cup final qualifying tournament at The Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Photo: World Rugby

Rugby World Cup: USA romp to 10-try demolition of Kenya in opening game of final qualifying tournament

  • Dylan Fawsitt and Christian Dyer grab hat-tricks for US, who are favourites to win four-team competition in Dubai
  • Hong Kong face Portugal in second game at The Sevens Stadium where spot at main event in Paris is up for grabs

The USA romped to a convincing 68-14 win over Kenya in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup final qualifying tournament in Dubai on Sunday.

Dylan Fawsitt, the hooker, and wing Christian Dyer both bagged hat-tricks in a 10-try thrashing, as they made a fast start to the tournament that will decide the last place for the main event in Paris next year.

There were scores too for No 8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, full-back Mitch Wilson, wing Nate Augspurger and replacement prop Mike Sosene Feagai, while fly half Luke Carty and his replacement AJ MacGinty contributed 18 points with the boot between them.

The seemingly endless procession of scores in the second half was in stark contrast to an error-strewn opening 20 minutes, when no one on the pitch was immune to making a mistake, with even referee Tual Trainini getting on the act.

Trainini had quite a busy start to the game, and only he will know why American lock Siaosi Mahoni was sin-binned rather than shown a straight red card for a shoulder charge to the head of opposite number Malcolm Onsando at a ruck.

Hong Kong ring changes for Portugal clash as final bid to reach World Cup begins

Despite being a man down, the US, and everyone else at The Sevens Stadium, thought they had taken the lead shortly after when Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz barrelled over from close range and Luke Carty calmly added the extras.

However, once the ball had sailed through the posts the TMO called a halt to proceedings and the score was eventually cancelled out because the American No 8 had knocked on before pushing the ball over the line.

The comedy of errors did not stop there. Kenyan full-back Darwin Mukidza muffed the restart and in an attempt to rescue the situation, wing Geofrey Okwach took a flying hack at the ball and only succeeded in volleying Augspurger into air.

Man of the match Dylan Fawsitt scored a hat-trick against Kenya in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup qualifying tournament in Dubai. Photo: World Rugby

A reckless action that earned him 10 minutes in the sin bin and opened the door to the US to start scoring. Fawsitt got things under way from close in after a line-out, added a second soon after, and Fa’anana-Schultz finally got on the scoreboard a minute before half-time to put his side 19-0 up.

It took the US eight minutes to get on the board again, with Fawsitt bagging a third in much the same manner as his first. and after that it was almost one way traffic.

Kenya at least got something for their efforts, with Brian Juma and Joshua Weru scoring tries that Mukidza converted, but they were never anything other than consolations.