MARSEILLE, France (AP) — Canada upheld its record of appearing in every Rugby World Cup by claiming the 20th and last berth in the 2019 championship on Friday.
The Canadians qualified by defeating Hong Kong 27-10 in the rain on a chewed-up field in Marseille, with two brilliant tries by record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe.
As the unbeaten winner of the four-team repechage, Canada filled out Pool B in Japan, where it will play past champions New Zealand and South Africa, Italy, and Namibia in a 17-day span from September.
Canada has opposed all four teams previously at Rugby World Cups, and beaten only Namibia, in 1999. Canada’s best finish was the quarterfinals in 1991, when it lost to New Zealand.
Hong Kong could have qualified for its first Rugby World Cup with a bonus-point win over Canada, but it squandered possession and territory by lacking a cutting edge in the first half, and succumbing in the set-pieces in the second half. Hong Kong lost five of its throw-ins and was penalized frequently in scrums.