Canada secure final Rugby World Cup berth

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Canadian players celebrate after victory in the 2019 Japan Rugby Union World Cup qualifying match between Hong Kong and Canada at The Delort Stadium in Marseille, southern France on November 23, 2018. (Photo by Boris HORVAT / AFP) (Photo credit should read BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada secured the final spot at the 2019 Rugby World Cup at the repechage event in Marseille.

A 27-10 victory over Hong Kong last night earned the Canucks qualification. Canada will play in Pool B alongside New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia.

Two tries from talisman DTH Van Der Merwe were supplemented by a score from 38-year-old hooker Ray Barkwill as Canada topped the round-robin format.

Canada won each of their three games in the south of France, beating Germany, Kenya and Hong Kong.

Now coached by Kingsley Jones, 2019 will be Canada’s ninth straight World Cup.

Jones took the role last year after leaving the Dragons. His tenure has been somewhat ignominious thus far, as this marked the first time the Canadians have had to go through the repechage after Uruguay earned the Americas 2 qualification slot.

Jones’ side lost all three of their summer internationals, including a first loss to Russia.

With experienced and talented players like canny wing Van Der Merwe, the Chiefs’ all-action back-rower Tyler Ardron and flying outside back Taylor Paris of Castres, Canada will be a threat.

They will particularly be targeting the Namibia game; Canada have never lost against the African side.

For the “minnows”, not finishing bottom of your pool is a notable achievement. Thus the pair’s Pool B clash will be eagerly anticipated and hotly contested.

The two will meet in Kamaishi on the final day of pool-stage action on October 13th next year.

Sevens Success

While Canada’s fifteens side have struggled in recent months, their sevens side continue to impress, although they disappointed with a 12th placed finish at the Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.

One of the most physical teams on the circuit, Canada reached cup semi-finals in Dubai and Paris, finishing a credible ninth in the Series. Experienced kicker Nathan Hirayama was the top points scorer in the Series with 334 points.

They notched their first ever Cup victory in the 2016-17 Series, winning in Singapore.

The Canada full code team will hope to draw from their colleagues’ success at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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