MARSEILLE, France – Canada retained its ticket for the Rugby World Cup on Friday with a victory over Hong Kong of 27-10, which ended the perfect result of the qualifying tournament in the last chance.
Canadian men had to rely on their defenses in the first half, continuously refusing the Hong Kong team who had 75% of the possession, but lagged at 14-3 at the break. Canada (3-0-0) bent but did not break with Hong Kong (1-2-0), unable to use their chances.
Canada was in control in the second half, crushing victory.
Canada, ranked 21st in the world at the 22nd place in Hong Kong, becomes the 20th and final team to make the 2019 World Cup field in Japan, September 20th. 2. The road is not easier for Canada, who will retire to the World Cup B Pool B, together with the highest-ranked New Zealand, no. 5 South Africa, no. 14 Italy and no. 23 Namibia.
Canada lost to 30th place Kenya (65-19) and 28th Germany (29-10) in the upcoming quarter-final tournament.
"A super-aggressive game, but we're just happy to get away from the victory," said Canada captain Phil Mac.
"Now the hard work really starts and we have to go to the World Cup and perform," he added.
The victory on Friday improved the Canada record at 11-20-1 since the last World Cup in 2015.
Coach Kingsley Jones, a former captain of Wales, who took over the Canadian team in September 2017, called him "a really professional performance" in difficult circumstances.
"I thought our team was in control of big parts of the game," he added. "When they were called to defend themselves, they defended themselves greatly. The most attractive part was the cheering victory – just closing the game and getting the result we need."
Canadians have never missed the sport event. But it was much harder to get there this time.
In the past years, Canada has qualified at the first attempt. This time it had to qualify through the last defeat of the Dam after losing a series against the 13-ranked United States and 18. Uruguay.
The game on Friday was opened in the rain at Stade Delort. While the rains slowed down, it created a slick condition in a field that looked worse to carry out than rehearsing.
Winger DTH van der Mervwe scored two tries and veteran Ray Barclay added another for Canada. Gordon McCormy started three conversions and two fines. Van der Merve, the leading striker of all time in Canada, had five attempts to lead all supporters.
Conor Hartley scored for Hong Kong. Matt Rossel imposed a penalty and a conversion.
Millions of dollars to fund and, to a certain extent, Canada's rugby reputation were in question in Marseille.
Rugby Canada badly needs funding that World Rugby provides for World Cup participants. And Canadian men struggled to keep up in recent years. The failure of the World Cup would be a blow to the body.
"It's a great incentive for Rugby Canada," Jones said.
Canada could return to the top 20, if no. 20 Spain lost to 16th Justa at the weekend.
After winning a bonus, the Canadians entered the game on Friday at the driver's seat with 10 points. Hong Kong, who lost 26-9 in Germany and won a bonus point in defeating Kenya 42-17, had five points.
Hong Kong was supposed to beat Canada and achieve four attempts to win the bonus, and gave the Canadians a loss bonus (with seven or fewer points). That would leave the two teams 10 points, and Hong Kong won the Tiberaka for the beating of Canada.
Hong Kong dominated the start of the walk, setting a siege on the Canadian goal line for the first 12 minutes. Necessary attempts in the search for a bonus point, Hong Kong decided to be horrified, not a naked goal when punished.
The devils made an early statement, winning a penalty with stones by throwing Canadians back after breaking the match. The news was not so good for Hong Kong when Tyler Spitz was treated in the third minute with a leg injury.
Following the lining of the Canadian region, Hong Kong set up a 17-phase attack that resulted in an offside against Eulan Olmsted. Hong Kong opted for a tough, opening 14-phase attack finally cut short by another Canadian penalty.
The third penalty near the Canadian goal-line caused another match, but this time Canada won the final battle and penalty to ease it.
After pressure absorption, Canada hit the other end with 38-year-old Barclay, who in 18th minute crashed from near range, to attack the attack began with a great move from Full Theo Sauder.
The 24-minute attempt by Hong Kong's hard-hitting pole Liam Stemte was wiped out of a video review for a strike by Hartley.
Hong Kong entered the board with a 33-minute penalty for Rosley. Rosley was forced to go naked when the team's official came to the ground with water after the penalty was granted, which took away other options in Hong Kong.
Things went badly to the worse, when Van der Merve scored a goal that blocked Rosle's shot, then took the ball and rolled through the finish line for an attempt,
French judge Romain Poit has warned Canada of the number of offenses, sending McCurry into a bin for sin in the 39th minute for a deliberate knock. Hong Kong attacked the Canadian goal-line, just to give up the penalty in order not to release the ball.
Hartley, a superpowered wing, crashed in the 52nd minute for a transformation attempt that reduced the lead to 14-10. McKee missed a penalty shot in the 58th minute, but with holes in the 62nd and 67th minute.
Van der Merve, heading for the Fourth World Cup, then defeated four left-wing leaders for a 71-minute attempt.
Professor Hubert Buidens, World Cup veteran in 2011 and 2015, won his 50th cap.
Friendship was postponed on Friday. Canadian coach Kingsley Jones played under the coach of Hong Kong Lee Jones, a fellow Welshman, and considered him a close friend. So is David (Dai) Rice, the chief Rugby operational officer of the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
Hong Kong defeated Malaysia and South Korea at the Asian Championship before defeating Cook Islands (77-3 for the aggregate) in the Asia-Oceania playoff to reach the rehearsals.
The World Rugby says the qualification process, which began in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in March 2016, included 188 matches in 994 days with a score of 10,355 points.
Seventy-one teams are proposals for ports that eventually filled the United States, Uruguay, Russia, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Namibia and Canada. The other 12 teams qualified after the end of the World Cup.