Canada in driving seat to book RWC 2015 spot

(IRB.COM) Friday 23 August 2013
 
Canada in driving seat to book RWC 2015 spot
Kieran Crowley, Jamie Cudmore, Todd Clever and Mike Tolkin at the press conference in Toronto

  • Canada hold 18-point advantage as USA prepare to pull out all the stops
  • Winner on aggregate will be first direct qualifier for England 2015
  • Capacity crowd anticipated in Toronto as Webb Ellis Cup makes appearance
The first direct qualifier for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England will be known on Saturday when Canada and USA complete the second of two legs to determine the Americas 1 qualifier.

With an 18-point advantage heading into the decisive second leg at BMO Field in Toronto, Canada are firmly in pole position to book their ticket to Rugby's showcase event.

Canada have won the last six encounters between the two teams, though they will miss the services of forwards Jamie Cudmore and Ryan Hamilton, who are both ruled out through injury.

The spoils for the winner on aggregate is a place alongside RWC 2011 runners-up France, Ireland, Italy and the Europe 2 qualifier in Pool D.

With the Webb Ellis Cup in attendance and interest in Rugby growing across Canada, a capacity crowd is anticipated in Toronto.

Canada head coach Kieran Crowley said: "We are really looking forward to it and it certainly will be a big day. We are anticipating a large crowd, the Canada v USA rivalry is always intense and we have the opportunity to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015."

USA will throw everything at their neighbours to overhaul the deficit after a 27-9 first leg defeat in Charleston last weekend and captain Todd Clever believes his team are up for the challenge.

"We were disappointed with the result and the performance last week. We will take to the field on Saturday to give it all we have and the first priority is to win the Test match and worry about the points once we are in that position."

While the winner will already be able to plan for RWC 2015, the road to England will not be over for the loser with a home and away play-off against Uruguay their next challenge to determine the Americas 2 qualifier.

IRB Council Member Bob Latham, in Toronto for the match, said: "As a representative of this region, I am very excited about the weekend, which represents a huge milestone for North American Rugby."

"The Rugby World Cup qualification process kicked off in this region with Mexico v Jamaica and we will be delivering the first direct qualifier from the global process. These are exciting times."

The match kicks off at 16:00 local time.

Rugby World Cup 2015 match schedule for Americas 1 qualifier
Sat Sep 19 – Ireland v Americas 1 – Millennium Stadium
Sat Sep 26 – Italy v Americas 1 – Elland Road
Thu Oct 1 – France v Americas 1 – Stadium MK
Tue Oct 6 – Americas 1 v Europe 2 – Leicester City Stadium