Canada is going to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Holding an 18-point aggregate advantage heading into Saturday's second leg at BMO Field in Toronto, the Canadians held off an upset-minded United States Eagles squad with a 13-11 (40-20 overall) victory.
The team's official Twitter account confirmed the news:
With the victory, Rugby Canada joins World Cup Pool D along with France, Ireland, Italy and the Europe 2 qualifier.
Despite the loss, you have to hand it to the Americans for their grit until the end. After last week's sizable loss at Blackbaud Stadium, it was going to take a minor miracle for the Eagles to find a way to upend Canada by more than 18 in front of a raucous crowd decked out in red.
But they came out with a purpose, and after several doses of pressure without conversions in the opening minutes, they earned the first try of the contest at the 16:40 mark.
Following a nice kick downfield by Blaine Scully, the Americans worked well as a unit and eventually got the ball to Takudzwa Ngwenya, who made a beautiful dummy, broke a tackle and barged his way in for five points.
It was an encouraging bit of play from the Americans:
Stamford's Chris Wyles would miss the conversion, however.
Canada responded in clinical fashion, as James Pritchard professionally converted a penalty goal and subsequently followed it up with a try moments later to put the Canadians up, 8-5.
Rugby Canada's Twitter had the scene:
Wyles would tie things up with a penalty goal just before halftime.
It was heartening play from the desperate Americans, but they still had a long, winding road to climb to get back into it on aggregate, and Jason Marshall's try in the 60th minute put to bed any remaining thoughts of a comeback.
Wyles would convert another penalty to make it 13-11 in favor of Canada, and although the Americans continued to push and threaten, the Canadians held on to win.
As Nigel Melville, President and CEO of Rugby Operations for USA Rugby, pointed out, it was an encouraging performance for the United States:
Nevertheless, Canada was the better team over the home-and-away stretch, and it has a spot in the World Cup to show for it.
Hope isn't lost for United States, though, as the Eagles will now face off with Uruguay in another home-and-away matchup for a spot in the World Cup Pool B.