U.S. Eagles flying home from Rugby World Cup after Italy defeat

Italy's try-scoring captain Sergio Parisse has set his sights on beating Ireland in their final group match.

Story highlights

  • U.S. eliminated from the Rugby World Cup after Tuesday's defeat to Italy
  • The Eagles lose 27-10 in their fourth and final Pool C match, having won once
  • Italy now need a bonus-point win over Ireland to reach the last eight
  • Japan and Canada share only the third draw in the World Cup's 24-year history
The United States' hopes of reaching the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the first time were dashed in New Zealand on Tuesday, after a 27-10 defeat to Italy.
The bonus-point win was crucial for Italy's bid to qualify for the last eight, with the Azzurri now facing a winner-takes-all clash with Pool C leaders Ireland in Dunedin on Sunday.
Two-time world champions Australia can go top of the table with victory over winless tournament debutants Russia on Saturday.
"We are happy because we took the five points," captain Sergio Parisse, who is hoping to lead Italy into the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time, told the tournament's official website.
"It was the important thing for us. We scored four tries, so that's important. Now we're looking forward to our last match against Ireland with a lot of confidence. It was a difficult match for us and now we're ready to take the maximum against the Irish."
Italy, under the guidance of former South Africa coach Nick Mallett, flew out of the blocks in Nelson as Parisse scored the game's first try after just two minutes.
But the U.S. responded through fullback Chris Wyles, who converted his own try to level at 7-7.
The fightback stung Italy into action, and tries from flyhalf Luciano Orquera and prop Martin Castrogiovanni ensured a 20-10 halftime scoreline.
The vital fourth score came as Italy's powerful scrum earned a penalty try for the second time this tournament, which back-row forward Mauro Bergamasco converted.
"We are good in the tight play, so why shouldn't we be able to use it?" prop Andrea Lo Cicero said. "Why shouldn't we be able to profit from it? Why should others profit from being weak in the scrum?"
In Tuesday's other match, Japan and Canada played out a 23-23 draw in Napier -- only the third in the World Cup's 24-year history.
Japan's Brave Blossoms looked set to record their first victory at the four-yearly tournament since overcoming Zimbabwe in 1991, but, despite leading from the 24th minute to the 79th, were denied by a late penalty from Canada flyhalf Ander Monro.
The draw eliminated Japan, while Canada will need to record a shock bonus-point win over hosts New Zealand on Sunday and hope second-placed France fail to pick up a point against Tonga in order to advance.
Canada's South Africa-born center DTH van der Merwe scored the contest's first try after five minutes, before Japan responded with tries from hooker Shota Horie and wing Kosuke Endo and a penalty from New Zealand-born James Arlidge to claim a 17-7 halftime lead.
Wing Phil Mackenzie scored a superb solo try to bring Canada back into the contest three minutes after the restart, before Arlidge looked to have made the match safe for Japan with two more penalties.
But Monro saved the day for Canada by crossing Japan's line for a 75th-minute try before kicking a last-minute penalty.