Canada’s rugby team faces a tough road to World Cup
TORONTO For Canada head coach Mark Anscombe, Wednesday’s draw for the 2019 Rugby World Cup could be labelled “pick your poison.”
The Canadian men are vying for one of eight remaining spots in the 20-country field for rugby’s quadrennial showcase, slated for Japan. And the draw in Kyoto offered up a tough rugby road for the first team to emerge from the Americas.
Should 22nd-ranked Canada get past the 17th-ranked U.S. Eagles in a June home-away-away qualifying playoff, its reward as the No. 1 seed for the Americas will be a place in Pool C with No. 2 England, No. 6 France, No. 9 Argentina and Oceania 2 (likely one of No. 10 Fiji, No. 13 Tonga or No. 14 Samoa).
Should the Canadians fail to get past the U.S. in June, they will meet a top South American team, with No. 21 Uruguay a likely foe, to see who qualifies as Americas 2.
That would mean a spot in Pool D with No. 3 Australia, No. 8 Wales, No. 12 Georgia and Oceania 1 (likely Fiji, Tonga or Samoa).
Canada’s last chance to qualify for the tournament would be via a world repechage tournament. The winner of that will slot into Pool B with defending champion and world No. 1 New Zealand, No. 7 South Africa, No. 11 Italy and Africa 1.
Pool A features No. 4 Ireland, No. 5 Scotland, No. 11 Japan, Europe 1 and a playoff winner (Europe 2 versus Oceania 3).
The quarter-finals will see the Pool A winner versus the Pool B runner-up, the Pool B winner versus the Pool A runner-up, the Pool C winner versus the Pool D runner-up and the Pool D winner versus the Pool C runner-up.
Canada has qualified for every World Cup since the tournament started in 1987. Its overall record is 6-21-2, including an 0-4-0 showing in 2015.