Atlanta: The United States booked a berth in the 2015 Rugby World Cup with a 32-13 victory over Uruguay on Saturday at Kennesaw State University.
The Americans advanced to the England tournament on a 59-40 aggregate score after they tied Uruguay 27-27 in the first match of the two-leg playoff qualifier.
“I am really proud of the guys,” said Eagles captain Todd Clever. “We had some bad bounces in the first game and some bad bounces in the first half [Saturday] so it took longer than we expected to get on top.
“But in the second half, the leaders led and we got front-foot ball.”
The USA become the 16th team to secure a spot in the IRB World Cup and are in Pool B along with South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the Asia 1 qualifier.
Uruguay still have a chance to qualify through the repechage tournament.
Andrew Suniula and Shalom Suniula scored consecutive tries with less than 15 minutes remaining to help seal the win for the Eagles.
Uruguay came out quickly, taking advantage of some undisciplined play and sloppy ball handling by the United States to lead 13-3 at halftime.
Andrew Suniula was penalised after he threw a punch at Uruguay’s Francisco Bulanti.
The Americans took their first lead of the match, 17-13, at the 63-minute mark when scrum half Mike Petri scored easily on a run from 30 metres out. It was Petri’s first try for the United States since June 2012 against Georgia.
Shalom Suniula scored three minutes later and just a minute later his brother Andrew slid in for the final try of the match and a 29-13 lead.