New Low As Canada Fails WC Qualification
Saturday brought only disappointment and disillusionment as Canada's national men's rugby side failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in the history of the competition. This means the Canadian men will be watching the 2023 edition of the event from afar as they rue the day they suffered the competition-blowing defeat against Chile.
While Canada started off strong against their South American opponents, their 3-0 opening lead didn't last very long as Chile racked up 16 convincing straight points to lead by 12 points at halftime. And even though the Canadians tried their best to close the gap during the second half of the match, the Chileans were just too strong in all the ways that mattered most.
Not A Pleasant Time For Canada
Times are tough at the moment, said Canadian coach Kingsley Jones following the weekend's 33-24 defeat to No. 28 Chile. Jones said while Chile were the better team, the changing room is still not a pleasant place to be right now. He said many of the players were very upset about being part of the first squad not to qualify for the World Cup.
Chile will this year look to qualify for the very first time. They'll next play against the US for deciding who qualifies alongside Japan, Samoa, England, and Argentina in Pool D.
Saturday's victory will see Chile advance to world No. 26, the country's highest ranking in 3 years. Canada will drop to No. 23. Scoring tries for Canada on Saturday had been Andrew Quattrin, Eric Howard, and Kainoa Lloyd. For Chile, it had been Matias Dittus, Santiago Videla, and Rodrigo Fernandez.
Impact Deep For Rugby Canada
While disappointing from a player's perspective, Saturday's failure to quality will have the biggest impact on Rugby Canada. World Cup qualification comes along with a financial injection from World Ruby, which the Canadians will now have to make do without.
This is just the latest big blow after the women's sevens team failed to make it past a ninth-place finish in Tokyo.
As for Jones, he'll have to really make it work if he's to avoid getting the axe from Rugby Canada. His focus on youth and the development of young talent may be all that keeps him in the driver's seat.
Interesting about Chile's convincing come-back on Saturday is that the South Americans had lost all seven previous meets with the Canadian men's side. What's more, they've never before qualified for the World Cup.
Proof again how investment and direction really do go a long way.