Canada’s rugby team faces a tough road to World Cup

Edmonton Journal - - SPORTS - NEIL DAVID­SON

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.

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