MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Canada missed its second chance to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, falling 70-60 to Uruguay after a two-game, aggregate-points series.
Uruguay beat the Canadian squad 32-31 in the second leg on Saturday at Estadio Charrua to solidify their victory. The Uruguayan team won the first leg in Vancouver last weekend 38-29.
“We are deeply disappointed to be in this position of having not qualified as Americas 2 for the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup. We appreciate that the Canadian rugby community is dismayed at this result. This is not acceptable for Canadian rugby,” Allen Vansen, CEO of Rugby Canada said in a statement.
Canada will have one final chance at qualification via a repechage tournament in November, likely in France. There, the 21st-ranked Canadian men will likely face several higher-ranked countries for the tournament’s final berth.
Canada has never missed a Rugby World Cup. A loss to the 17th-ranked U.S. Eagles last summer marked the first time the Canadian men had failed to qualify on the first attempt.
“The entire organization and our men’s 15s program will finalize a robust schedule and plan to ensure the best preparation for a successful competition and qualification through the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup repechage tournament,” added Vansen.
The loss also hits the Canadian program financially. A win over Uruguay would have ensured an immediate injection of US$448,000 from World Rugby in World Cup preparation money for Canada.
“The failure to qualify as Americas 2 for the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup has significant financial challenges for Rugby Canada with a loss of key 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup planning and preparation funding and missed commercial opportunities in the form of a marquee international match planned for November,” said Vansen.
“The organization will be reviewing these implications, ensuring prioritization is placed on the men’s 15s program’s preparation for the Men’s Rugby World Cup repechage tournament this November.”
No. 18 Uruguay slots into Group D for the 2019 tournament in Japan as America 2, alongside No. 4 Australia, No. 7 Wales, No. 10 Fiji and No. 12 Georgia.
The Canadians, who needed a win by 10 points or more Saturday, looked strong at the outset as they compiled a 15-0 advantage. But Uruguay began to chip at the lead from there and the Canadians went into halftime up 18-10 in the game but down on aggregate.
Uruguay came out firing in the second, scoring a try less than two minutes in to cut the deficit further. The Uruguayans took their first lead of the match in the 65th minute on a try from Santiago Vilaseca.
Vilaseca led the Uruguayan side with two tries. Ignacio Dotti and Juan Manuel Cat Piccardo had the others.
DTH Van der Merve scored twice for Canada while Taylor Paris and Djustice Sears-Duru added tries.
Van der Merve scored his second try of the game in the dying seconds to bring Canada within one, but Brock Staller missed the conversion.
Canada was without injured backs Connor Braid and Jeff Hassler for Saturday’s match.
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