(Writes through, adds quotes)
By Peter Rutherford
KOBE, Japan, Sept 26 (Reuters) - United States flanker John Quill became the first player to be sent off at the 2019 Rugby World Cup when he was shown a red card for leading with his shoulder into the head of England’s Owen Farrell on Thursday and the Eagles also lost two key players to injury in the Pool C match.
Quill delivered the hit after the England replacement back had knocked on and referee Nic Berry checked the TV pictures before sending him from the pitch in the 70th minute.
World Rugby have cracked down on dangerous tackles to the head this year and Quill faces a ban of at least three weeks for the offence, effectively ending his World Cup.
There were few positives to take from the 45-7 defeat at the Kobe Misake Stadium and U.S. coach Gary Gold now has repair work to do with 19-year-old prop David Ainuu (ankle) and fullback Will Hooley (concussion) set to miss their next match against France on Wednesday.
“It was a bit of a calamity in Kobe,” Gold told a news conference. “We feel we let ourselves down badly today.”
England ran in seven tries to expose the gulf in class between the sides and the Americans claimed only a late consolation try.
Gold had no complaints about Quill’s red card and said the players had all been warned about high tackles and how referees would deal with such challenges. “I’m not sure they could make it any clearer. You’re not allowed to make contact with the head, and you certainly need to use your arms, and he didn’t do either,” Gold said.
The United States were second best in every department on Thursday and had learned a hard lesson, he said.
“We lost every single aspect of today’s game,” added Gold, who also bemoaned the loss of Ainuu only two minutes into the game.
“When it rains it pours. To lose David, and then to lose Will to a bad concussion, and then to lose Quilly to a red card, it was a bit of a calamity in Kobe tonight.”
The lower tier teams at the World Cup have earned praise for their improved showing in Japan and while Gold had said before the game that their goal had been to establish the credibility of U.S. rugby they fell way short on Thursday.
“I don’t think it was credible tonight, not by our standards,” he added. “We’re not better than England but we’re a better rugby team than that.”
U.S. captain Blaine Scully said that while the team were disappointed in the performance it was what they did next that was important.
“Our reaction is what’s going to define us,” he said “Show up to work tomorrow, try to get better and put in an improved performance next week. As athletes that’s the decisions we’re going to have to make.”
Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Tokyo, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond