English upbringing prepares USA's Magie for World Cup debut

The fly-half, who started in rugby as a pre-schooler with the Ealing U4s, hopes to be part of an improved Eagles performance against France.

FUKUOKA, 30 Sep - Will Magie could make his debut Rugby World Cup appearance from the bench against France on Wednesday, the latest instalment of a rugby journey that began when he played for Ealing Trailfinders U4s in west London, where his parents lived before moving back to the United States.

"It was my childhood club so I played there from 'rugby rats', which was U4s, all the way up to playing for the first team, which was pretty cool to do," said the 27-year-old USA fly-half, above, who was born in the English capital and later captained the University of Leeds rugby team.

His senior debut in the Ealing side came at 21, after their promotion to English rugby's second tier. His commitment to international representation had begun when he played for the USA U17s.

"Growing up, I was in America as much as I was in England. Any school holiday, we were over in the States, plus all of the summer, Christmas and Thanksgiving," Magie said.

"With both parents born and having lived the majority of their lives in the US, and all my extended family being American, I definitely feel very American. It's a great sense of pride and honour to put on the jersey at every opportunity I get."

Magie played for the USA in two World Rugby U20 Trophy competitions, finishing seventh in 2011 in Tbilisi then triumphing in Salt Lake City in 2012, in a team that featured fellow RWC 2019 Eagles squad member Mike Teo.

"I probably played 20-odd games from U17s to U20s for the USA," Magie said. "It's awesome, and every time I get to sing the national anthem, it's a sense of huge pride and honour."

Having played for club side Glendale Raptors for three years, two of them in the newly founded Major League Rugby, news of where Magie will play after the World Cup has yet to be announced.

His focus, though, is on the Eagles putting in an improved performance against France after their opening 45-7 defeat by England.

"France are a very strong opponent, a Six Nations team just like England, so they'll bring a lot of physicality. We're just looking forward to the opportunity to go up against another great team, another top-10 team in the world rankings, and show what we're about."

Magie referred to "harsh lessons" having been learned following the Eagles' defeat in Kobe, and said that on Wednesday the USA must "stick in the arm-wrestle by bending not breaking".

RNS nh/sg/pp/ajr