Dublin – Ireland, August 25, 2013: Canada is the first direct qualifier for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England after defeating USA 13-11 at BMO Field in Toronto on Saturday. The victory followed last weekend’s 27-9 win in Charleston to give the home side a 40-20 win on aggregate, booking a place in Pool D as Americas 1.
Canadian fans can now start looking ahead to Rugby’s showcase tournament and an event that is anticipated to attract more than 400,000 international visitors for a six week celebration of Rugby and the host nation.
In Pool D at England 2015 Canada will face Ireland at the Millennium Stadium on September 19, Italy on September 26 at Elland Road, Leeds, France on October 1 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, before wrapping up pool play against Europe 2 (TBD) on October 6 at Leicester City Stadium.
Defeat does not spell the end of USA’s chances of making it to England 2015. A much improved performance will breed confidence as Mike Tolkin’s side progress to face Uruguay home and away for the right to claim the Americas 2 place.
With the Webb Ellis Cup in attendance, USA came out of the blocks strongly chasing tries and had one attempt ruled out by the TMO before Taku Ngwenya’s try gave the visitors a 5-0 lead midway through the half.
Canada hit back with a penalty and try from James Pritchard, but it was USA’s Chris Wyles who had the last word of the half with a penalty to leave the teams locked at 8-8.
The second half was just as tight and it took a Jason Marshall try in the 60th minute to break the deadlock and give the home side the lead once more.
Chris Wyles responded six minutes later with a penalty and had the chance to steal a first victory over Canada in seven matches in the last minute, but his penalty attempt drifted wide and the celebrations started for Canada.
Canada captain Aaron Carpenter said: “It is an amazing feeling to know that we will be there proudly representing Canada at Rugby World Cup.”
“It caps an incredible year with more test matches and Pacific Nations Cup inclusion and I am sure it will boost Rugby interest here. I am really proud of the guys.”
It was fitting that the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) IRB regional association should deliver the first qualified team to England 2015.
The global process kicked off in NACRA last year with Mexico playing host to Jamaica. By its completion, some 3000 players from 80 Unions across every continent will have participated in the 184 matches that comprise Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying.
Rugby World Cup 2015 match schedule for Canada qualifier
Sat Sep 19 – Ireland v Canada – Millennium Stadium
Sat Sep 26 – Italy v Canada – Elland Road
Thu Oct 1 – France v Canada – Stadium MK
Tue Oct 6 – Canada v Europe 2 – Leicester City Stadium
About Rugby World Cup:
In total, the Rugby World Cup qualifying process features 80 nations. The qualifiers comprise some 184 matches, made up of around 3,000 players across six continents, including the strategic markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China as well as USA, Canada and Mexico.
Rugby participation has increased by 18 per cent since RWC 2007 owing to IRB investment that comes from RWC finances, the positive effect of being included in the programme for the Olympic Games 2016 and the global reach of the Game’s flagship tournament.
Rugby World Cup provides an international stage to promote Rugby and generates 95 per cent of the revenue the IRB invests in achieving its strategic goals, including growing the global Game. Therefore the success of the tournament is vital for achieving the IRB strategic goals.
England was awarded RWC 2015 as it offers a mature Rugby market which is likely to generate strong spectator numbers and significant financial returns. Large iconic venues, an experienced Host Union, the UK major event infrastructure and a prime commercial Rugby market provide an ideal platform to host the Rugby World Cup.
This tournament also offers an important opportunity to continue the development of RWC tournament planning and delivery models and opportunities to grow the game in England and Europe.
Looking further ahead, growing the Game is a key consideration for RWC 2019 in Japan. Asia is a critical market for future growth and Japan is the traditional leader of Rugby in Asia. The JRFU has made significant professional developments in recent years and is well-placed to host such an important event.
A successful tournament in Japan has the potential to generate significant interest in the Game in Asia and ignite a lucrative commercial Rugby market. With 60 per cent of the global population and 80 per cent of the world’s youth living in Asia, this interest could have a considerable impact on the development of global Rugby.
Awarding RWC 2019 to Japan 10 years prior to delivery provides an adequate time scale, if used properly, to prepare the framework to host the tournament in a developing market.
The scale of Rugby World Cup and the importance of using RWC tournaments to achieve wider strategic goals of key stakeholders demand a clear strategic approach for each tournament. These must integrate the IRB goals with those of other key stakeholders, providing a framework for decision making and measuring success. —- IRB