USA Meets Canada in Qualifier Decider

The No. 17 USA Men’s National Team will face No. 21 Canada in the second of a two-match Rugby World Cup 2023 Qualifier Series on September 11 at Infinity Park at Glendale. The kickoff is at 7 pm MT (9 pm ET) and broadcast on Flo Rugby in the U.S. and on Premier Sports in Canada.

Canada enters the match having beaten the USA 34-21 at Swilers Rugby Club, St John’s, Newfoundland, and on September 4. The USA will need to win be at least 14 points to move on to face Uruguay on October 2 and 10, with the victor of this series qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2023 as Americas’ #1.

The loser of the two-match North American series will move on to face Chile on October 2 and 10, with the victor needing to face the loser of the match of the Americas #1 Final qualifier. The loser against Chile will have one last chance to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in the Repechage that will be held in 2022.

September 11th Tribute

Saturday’s match takes place on the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, marking a significant and meaningful day in the nation’s history. 

The Eagles will honor the occasion by wearing a commemorative logo both on their warm-up shirts and as a patch on their match jerseys. A special video featuring Men’s and Women’s 15s players will appear at pregame, followed by a moment of silence to honor all those affected in 2001 and even most recently in Kabul. 

At halftime, Lt. Col. Dr. Kat Strus will accept a commemorative flag on behalf of Friends of Flight 93, in honor of American rugby players Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick. Bingham and Glick are known for their heroic efforts in derailing the fourth plane 20 years ago. USA Rugby highly encourages the community to support Friends of Flight 93 by making a donation to The National Memorial or by purchasing their own warm-up shirt in-stadium. All t-shirt profits go directly to the fund. 

Click here to make a donation to Friends of Flight 93. 

USA Men’s National Team

Head Coach Gary Gold has made seven changes to his match roster from last week against Canada. AJ MacGinty will captain the side and start at flyhalf. The front row has been swapped with David Ainu’u and Joe Taufete’e the props and Kapeli Pifeleti starts at hooker. Ryan Matyas will start for the first time since 2018 against Romania on the left-wing, and Tavite Lopeti starts at center after winning his first cap last week and scoring a crucial try at full-time. Mike Dabulas could make his national team debut from the bench.

Head Coach Gary Gold said I speak for everyone when I say we are incredibly focused on making up for our performance last week. As a group, we are utterly disappointed in what we showed on the field against Canada; and credit where it’s due because they took their opportunities and deserved to win. We absolutely cannot underestimate what this Canadian side can do and it is on us to put out a dramatically improved performance from last week. 

“Saturday will be a serious task for us both physically and mentally on the field and because of what that day represents to this country. Playing on the anniversary of September 11 is something our guys take very seriously and there is a huge amount of pride that goes into representing your country in a World Cup qualifier on such an important day as that.” 

Canada has made one change in match-day 23 with Kyle Baillie replacing Mason Flesch as a reserve. Head Coach Kingsley Jones said “We’ve got a 13 point lead in the series at the moment and we’ve got 80 minutes to play. We know it’s going to be a different challenge this week, a big challenge. We are fortunate to be able to choose the same starting fifteen that have again earned this selection, while we’re happy to have Kyle fit to add to our reserve strength.”

USA and Canada Match 2 Squads

USA: 1. David Ainu’u (Toulouse,12 caps) 2. Kapeli Pifeleti (Saracens, 5 caps) 3. Joe Taufete’e (Lyon, 30 caps) 4. Nate Brakeley (Rugby United New York, 26 caps) 5. Nick Civetta (Rugby United New York, 29 (caps) 6. Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz (Old Glory DC, 4 caps) 7. Hanco Germishuys (Rugby United New York, 24 caps) 8. Cam Dolan (NOLA Gold, 54 caps 9. Ruben De Haas (Saracents, 20 caps) 10. AJ MacGinty (C) (Sale Sharks 29 caps) 11. Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion, 12 caps) 12. Bryce Campbell (Austin Gilgronis, 35 caps) 13. Tavite Lopeti (Seattle Seawolves, 11 caps) 4. Christian Dyer (USA Sevens, 3 caps) 15. Marcel Brache (Austin Gilgronis, 25 caps) 16. Dylan Fawsitt (Rugby United New York, 16 caps) 17. Chance Wenglewski (Rugby ATL, 7 caps) 18. Paul Mullen (Utah Warriors, 21 caps) 19. Siaosi Mahoni (San Diego Legion, 3 caps) 20. Andrew Guerra (NOLA Gold, 2 caps) 21. Nate Augspurger (San Diego Legion, 27 caps) 22. Will Magie (Austin Gilgronis, 28 caps) 23. Mike Dabulas (Old Glory DC, uncapped)

USA Staff: Head Coach Gary Gold, Asst Coaches Rob Hoadley, Steve Brett & Shawn Pittman,
Head of Strength & Conditioning Huw Bevan, Asst Strength & Conditioning Josh Schnell, Performance Analyst Jimmy Harrison, Team Doctor Sam Akhavan, Head Physiotherapist Kristen Douhan, Athletic Trainer Ron Klingensmith, Massage Therapist Daliah Hurwitz, Team Manager Oscar Alvarez

Canada: 1 DJustice Sears-Duru 2 Andrew Quattrin 3 Matt Tierney 4 Corey Thomas 5 Conor Keys 6 Lucas Rumball 7 Matt Heaton 8 Siaki Vikilani 9 Ross Braude 10 Peter Nelson 11 Kainola Lloyd 12 Spencer Jones 13 Ben LeSage 14 Brock Webster 15 Cooper Coates 16 Eric Howard 17 Cole Keith 18 Tyler Rowland 19 Kyle Baillie 20 Michael Smith 21 Rob Povey 22 Jason Higgins 23 Patrick Parfrey

Canada Staff: Head coach Kingsley Jones, Assistant Coaches Rob Howley & Phil Mack, Strength & Conditioning Michael Deasy

USA 31 Man Squad


  • LHP: David Ainu’u (Toulouse, FR), Matt Harmon (NOLA Gold), Chance Wenglewski (Rugby ATL)
  • H: Dylan Fawsitt (Rugby United New York), Kapeli Pifeleti (Saracens, UK), Mike Sosene-Feagai (Old Glory DC)
  • THP: Paul Mullen (Utah Warriors), Joe Taufete’e (Lyon, FR), Dino Waldren (NOLA Gold)
  • L: Nate Brakeley (Rugby United New York), Nick Civetta (Rugby United New York), Siaosi Mahoni (San Diego Legion), Greg Peterson (Newcastle Falcons, UK)
  • BR: Benjamín Bonasso (Rugby United New York), Cam Dolan (NOLA Gold), Hanco Germishuys (Rugby United New York), Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz (Old Glory DC), Andrew Guerra (NOLA Gold), Moni Tonga’uiha (NOLA Gold)


  • SH: Nate Ausgpurger (San Diego Legion), Michael Baska (Utah Warriors), Ruben de Haas (Saracens, UK)
  • FH: Luke Carty (LA Giltinis), AJ MacGinty (capt., Sale Sharks, UK)
  • C: Marcel Brache (Western Force, AU), Bryce Campbell (Austin Gilgronis), Ryan Matyas (San Diego Legion)
  • W: Christian Dyer (USA Sevens), Ryan James (LA Giltinis), Mika Kruse (Utah Warriors)
  • FB: Will Magie (Austin Gilgronis)

Canada 30 Man Squad

Uncapped players include Toronto Arrows Spencer Jones, Mason Flesch, and Jason Higgins in the 30-man selection, along with the Pacific Pride pair, Foster DeWitt and Brock Webster.


  • LHP: Cole Keith (Toronto Arrows), Djustice Sears-Duru (Seattle Seawolves), Foster DeWitt (Pacific Pride)
  • H: Eric Howard (NOLA Gold), Andrew Quattrin (Toronto Arrows)
  • THP: Jake Ilnicki (Seattle Seawolves), Tyler Rowland (Toronto Arrows)
  • L: Matt Tierney (Castres, FR), Kyle Baillie (NOLA Gold), Conor Keys (Rugby ATL), Corey Thomas (LA Giltinis)
  • BR: Mason Flesch (Toronto Arrows), Matt Heaton (Rugby ATL), Lucas Rumball (Toronto Arrows), Michael Smith (San Diego Legion), Siaki Vikilani (Toronto Arrows)


  • SH: Ross Braude (Toronto Arrows), Jason Higgins (Toronto Arrows)
  • FH: Will Kelly (Toronto Arrows), Peter Nelson (Aurillac, FR), Robbie Povey (Houston SaberCats)
  • C: Brock Webster (Pacific Pride), Spencer Jones (Toronto Arrows), Lockie Kratz (NOLA Gold), Ben LeSage (Toronto Arrows), Quinn Ngawati (Rugby United New York)
  • W: Cole Davis (Austin Gilgronis), Kainoa Lloyd (Pacific Pride)
  • FB: Patrick Parfrey (Toronto Arrows), Cooper Coats (Canada Sevens)

Other Articles

DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe to include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant