LANGFORD, BC – Canada have work to do to keep their dreams of Rugby World Cup qualifying alive despite a 22-21 win over Chile on Saturday in the first leg of their points streak cumulative.
The game at Starlight Stadium seemed in Chile’s hands as the clock stopped. But a penalty conceded in front of the Chilean posts gave the hosts a chance to take the lead with replacement opening half Rob Povey converting the kick.
The 21st-ranked Canadian men and No. 28 Chile now make the 10,400-kilometer journey to Valparaiso, Chile, to complete the tie next Saturday. The loser of the series is not in contention for the World Cup.
“It’s easy for us now,” said Canada coach Kingsley Jones. “We have to go to Chile and win an away test match.”
The Canadians had just suffered a 59-50 total loss to the No. 16 United States Eagles, which saw the Americans advance to the playoffs with No. 17 Uruguay with the winner advancing to France 2023 as Americas 1 alongside n Â° 1 New Zealand, n Â° 1. 6 France, n Â° 14 Italy and Africa 1 in pool A.
The United States beat Uruguay 19-16 to start their home and away playoff Saturday in Glendale, Colorado. The second leg will take place on October 9 at Estadio Charrua in Montevideo.
The Canada-Chile series winner will face loser USA-Uruguay to decide Americas 2, which will advance to Pool D alongside England No.4, Argentina No.8, Japan No.8 # 10 and Samoa # 13. The loser of the Americas 2 playoffs has one last chance to qualify for France 2023 via a draft tournament.
Jones had warned that Chile would be tough and he was right. The good news is that Canada can play a lot better.
“Credit to them, their defense was strong,” the former Wales captain said of the Chileans.
“It was a good effort from Chile and it was a tough game as expected,” he added. “Anyone who thinks differently is really disrespectful. We won a test game, which is nice. I feel like we left probably 14-20 points, if I’m being honest.”
The Canadians leave for Chile on Tuesday. They will take a short flight to Vancouver to Houston and then Santiago. Valparaiso is located approximately 115 kilometers from the Chilean capital.
Canadians will have to spend their first 24 hours at a hotel in Chile, until negative COVID tests are returned.
Ross Braude scored two tries and Corey Thomas added a single for Canada, who trailed 9-5 at the half. Peter Nelson initiated two conversions.
Clemente Saavedra scored two tries for Chile. Santiago Videla took three penalties and a conversion.
It was a shoddy game with a lot of penalties and handling errors. The Canadians mounted two long attacks deep in Chile in the dying minutes, only to see the push blocked each time by a penalty before Povey gave Canada the lead.
The arbitration did not help Canada. The Chileans were likely to receive another yellow card in the second half, either for repeated infractions or for a case where Canadian Brock Webster was called out for a high ball.
Canadian mainstay Tyler Rowland was sent to sin-bin in the 50th minute for knocking out a Chilean player in the air as he challenged a high kick. As Rowland’s 10-minute penalty was about to expire, Javier Carrasco followed him to the trash after Chile were called up for repeated infractions.
Canada pressed early, only to see the attacks canceled due to handling errors. A series of early penalties against Chile helped the cause and Canada’s position on the ground.
Chile came close to scoring the opening goal, however, with winger Franco Velarde landing a cross kick over the Canadian goal line after the home side were penalized, leading to a lineup for the Canadian side.
The Canadian forwards began to gain control, winning scrum penalties. There were some disagreements between the two teams after the whistle, prompting Irish referee Chris Busby to ask the two captains to talk to their teams and calm things down.
But it was a penalty against Canada at the break that led to the first points, a penalty from Videla in the 22nd minute that gave Chile a 3-0 lead. Videla doubled the lead with another penalty in the 32nd minute.
Thomas responded with a try for Canada in the 34th minute, making his way after the Canadians besieged Chile’s goal line. The test survived a grounding video check. Nelson missed the conversion, leaving Chile with a 6-5 lead.
A strong Chilean defense kept Canada at bay and Videla added another penalty late in the first half as Nelson asked not to release the ball after being tackled.
Canada took a 12-9 lead early in the second half with Braude darting in the 44th for a converted try after Chile was penned deep in their own camp after conceding a penalty. Braude again made another convert try in the 48th, ending a Canadian counterattack after Chile spilled the ball to a 19-9 lead.
With Canada losing a man, Chilean Saavedra scored on a maul at the wheel after Rowland’s penalty to reduce the lead to 19-14 in the 51st.
Busby warned Chile in the 57th minute for taking too many penalties, promising a yellow card if he continued. And seconds later, Carrasco was sent to the sin-bin.
Saavedra regained the upper hand in the 66th following a maul at the wheel after a lineout caused by a Canadian penalty. Videla’s conversion put Chile in the lead 21-19.
Jones tweaked the front pack for Saturday’s game opener.
Hooker Eric Howard, lock Kyle Baillie and Rowland entered with Andrew Quattrin and Conor Keys falling to the bench. Veteran prop Jake Ilnicki has been added to the substitutes at the expense of Matt Tierney.
Chile have made three changes to the forward group that last started in a 15-10 loss to Uruguay. Lock Clemente Saavedra joined his twin brother and center Domingo Saavedra in the starting lineup, while mainstay Vittorio Lastra and flanker Martinez also signed on.
The Canadians have never failed to qualify for Showcase Sport, but had to do it the hard way last time around, winning a four-team draft after losing playoffs to the United States and Uruguay.
This time around, Canada led the United States 34-21 after the September 4 first leg in St. John’s, NL. But the Americans rallied with a 38-16 victory on 9/11 at Glendale.
Argentina automatically qualified from the Americas due to their performance at the 2019 World Cup in Japan. Uruguay became the first seed in qualifying in South America by winning a three-team tournament that also included Chile and Brazil.
The Chileans advanced to the Americas 2 qualifiers thanks to their second place finish.
Canada and Chile have met in recent years in the Americas Rugby Championship, with the Canadians winning at home 56-0 in 2019 and 36-15 in 2017. On the road, Canada won 33-17 in 2018 and 64-13 in 2016.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on October 2, 2021