Canada moved a step closer to the Rugby World Cup on Saturday with a 29-10 win over Germany at a last-chance qualifying tournament.
Canada, ranked 21st in the world, can book its place at 2019 World Cup in Japan with a win or tie against No. 24 Hong Kong in the repechage finale Nov. 23.
“We still have one more (game),” said captain Phil Mack. “So again just like last week, we’ve got to reflect on this, carry on and then hopefully we’ll get a trip to the World Cup.”
The Canadian men top the four-team round-robin with 10 points after their second straight bonus-point win while Hong Kong has five points, Germany four and Kenya none. Saturday’s loss eliminated the 26th-ranked Germans, who can finish with no more than nine points.
Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point (scoring four tries or losing by fewer than eight points) to move into first place.
The first tiebreaker in the event of a tie is the result between the two tied teams.
No. 29 Kenya is also out of the running after losing 42-17 to Hong Kong earlier Saturday at Stade Delort.
The repechage winner will complete the World Cup field, slotting into Group B at the 2019 tournament in Japan alongside top-ranked New Zealand, No. 5 Australia, No. 13 Italy and No. 22 Namibia.
Lucas Rumball and Tyler Ardron also scored tries for Canada, which led 10-7 at the half. McRorie kicked a penalty and added three conversions.
Dasch Barber scored for Germany. Raynor Parkinson booted a conversions and a penalty.
Canada has never missed a World Cup.
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) November 17, 2018
Millions of dollars are at stake. Rugby Canada has said missing out on the sport’s showcase could hit its bottom line to the tune of $10 million with World Rugby funding going elsewhere.
Canada thumped Kenya 65-19 in its opening game while Germany beat Hong Kong 26-9.
The Canadians put Germany under pressure from the get-go. The Germans held strong but paid for a series of second-half penalties that killed chances of a comeback.
Canada’s power in the forwards proved to be the difference although handling errors delayed the scoreboard ticking over.
Matt Evans’ try in the 68th minute, off a fine inside pass from Gord McRorie, gave Canada some breathing room with a 22-10 lead. McRorie then went over in the 72nd minute for the fourth try that netted Canada a bonus point and, with his conversion, a 29-10 lead.
It was all Canada in the early going, with 75 per cent possession in the first 15 minutes.
Canada mounted an early attack that lasted several phases but the Germans turned the ball over at the breakdown near their goal-line and were able to kick for safety. After getting the ball back from the ensuing lineout, McRorie tried an unsuccessful drop goal.
Lock forward Mike Sheppard almost capped another lengthy Canada attack with a try at the 10-minute mark but his attempted offload in the tackle near the goal-line hit a body and went to a German.
The Canadian forwards then took matters in their own hands, driving their counterparts back on a German scrum put-in for a penalty. McRorie kicked the penalty for a 3-0 lead after 14 minutes.
The Germans were penalized for hands in the ruck at the goal-line in the 16th phase of a relentless Canadian onslaught. Canada opted for a scrum which produced another penalty against Germany and a melee between players before the scrum was reset.
Rumball, with prop Hubert Buydens pushing him on, crashed over from short range from the ensuing scrum for the first try of the game in the 23rd minute.
The Germans scored in the 30th minute after a driving maul off a lineout, following a Canadian ruck infraction. Barber, on while starting hooker Kurt Haupt was off for a head injury assessment, was awarded the try after video review. Parkinson’s conversion cut the Canadian lead to 10-7.
DTH van der Merwe retrieved the ball on Canada’s kickoff to open the second half and Ardron subsequently bulled through two would-be tacklers over in the corner in the 43rd minute. McRorie’s conversion made it 17-7.
Parkinson answered with a 47th-minute penalty when Canada was penalized for hands in the ruck.
The Germans are coached by Mike Ford, the former England defence coach who previously led Leicester, Bath and Toulon. He took over in September, inheriting a diverse roster that includes a cable-car driver and bouncer.
The repechage wraps up Nov. 23 when Canada faces Hong Kong and Germany tackles Kenya.
Canada dropped into the repechage after losing qualifying series against the 15th-ranked U.S. Eagles (80-44 on aggregate) and No. 18 Uruguay (70-60 on aggregate).
Germany landed in the repechage after losing a playoff to Samoa, which moved into Pool A at the World Cup. The Germans ended up in that Europe versus Oceania playoff after Rugby Europe Championship winners Romania and runner-up Spain were disqualified for breaching player eligibility laws.
The Canadian Press