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The Road to Rugby World Cup 2019

Written by Chris Perrotte

It is just two weeks ago, but it still stings...

In front of their home crowd at the Torero Stadium in San Diego, California, America’s Eagles took flight and dominated Canada’s Men’s squad to secure their spot in the 2019 World Cup of Rugby, taking place in Japan.

As Canadian supporters know only too well, Canada fell short in their bid by being outscored 80 to 44 (combined) in the two test matches.  They came away with a 28 to 28 draw in their first meeting on June 24th when they hosted the Americans at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario, followed a week later by the 52 to 16 loss on July 1st.

Team Canada and Team USA have a long history of combat on the rugby battlefield dating back 40 years.  Their first match took place back on May 21, 1977 at the Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia where the Canadian squad defeated the American Team 17 to 6. Since this rivalry began, these two teams have squared off against each other 58 times, with Team Canada holding the advantage with 38 wins, 18 losses, and two draws. Canada has outscored the Eagles 1352 to 971 total in the 40 year span.

Although Canada has the better record overall, they have been unable to defeat the American squad in three years.  The last time the Rugby Nation of Canada tasted sweet victory was back on August 24th, 2014 at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario. It was a key two game match and important win for the team. They edged Rugby USA 13 to 11, completing the sweep and qualifying for the 2015 World Cup of Rugby that took place in England. 

Since then, however, The Eagles have dominated with six wins and one draw, edging their opponents north of the 49th with aa aggregate score 255 to 171 overall during that span.

Despite the loss and subsequent negative reviews of how Canada could have done things differently, Rugby Canada still has a chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup and a spot in Pool D (along with Australia, Wales, Georgia and Oceania 1) when they face Team Uruguay in a home and away two-game test in January and February of 2018.

The Canadian team successfully qualifying and participating in this world event is of vast  importance to our growing Rugby nation. On a larger scale the world sees how widely popular this World Cup of Rugby is. It’s an awesome experience, shared by those who love to watch the event every four years.

“I think they are tremendously important and I think it’s huge for the nations competing because they’ll get funding, and the other reason for it is globally,” explains Stewart Dobb, Director of Rugby for the Ajax Wanderers: “I believe the Rugby World Cup is actually the third largest sporting event in the world,  behind only the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup [of soccer].

“That’s why I think it’s critical for Canada to be represented in each World Cup, because that’s how a lot of their funding will come, which hopefully trickles down to the Canadian Rugby public and helps promote and grow the game within Canada too.”

Rugby Canada has been involved in every Rugby World Cup since its inception in 1987, which took place in Australia and New Zealand. 

With the weight of this knowledge upon their shoulders, and putting their loss at the hands of the Team USA behind them, the Canadian squad will now focus and look ahead to defeat the Uruguay Rugby squad in order to continue the proud tradition of participating in the World Cup and showing the world they belong among the finest and top ranked teams in this sport.

So, come the Autumn Tests, I invite you to join with me in donning the Canadian colours and let’s cheer as one Rugby nation to support our men as they #RISEAsOne to march on the road to a berth at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.