Rugby World Cup: Chile beat United States 31-29 to qualify for first time
Chile qualified for the Rugby World Cup for the first time after beating the United States 31-29 in Colorado to win by just one point on aggregate.
Santiago Videla’s penalty in the 75th minute, which put the South Americans in front for the first time on Saturday, sealed victory.
The US had won last week’s first leg 22-21 in Santiago.
Chile will be in Pool D at the 2023 World Cup in France alongside England, Argentina, Japan and Samoa.
The US, who have only once failed to qualify for the World Cup, can still reach France in 2023 when they compete in a final qualification tournament later this year.
They will face the third-placed team from the Rugby Europe Championship, the loser of the Asia/Pacific play-off and the Rugby Africa Cup runners-up for the final place in France..
Joe Taufete’e’s converted try put the US 26-14 up in the 48th minute before the Chile comeback started.
Videla’s try and conversion in the 51st minute made it 26-21.
Bristol Bears fly-half AJ MacGinty extended the US lead with a penalty in the 58th minute but Matias Dittus went over for Chile seven minutes later and a Videla conversion brought the visitors back to just a point behind at 29-28.
Videla’s late penalty made it 52-51 on aggregate and sparked emotional Chile celebrations.
“It really means so much… the sacrifices that this team has done. There were times when it seemed like it was uphill,” Chile captain Martin Sigren said.
“I want to thank all the family who came here. They were the ones who kept us pushing.”