- Canada host Uruguay at BC Place, Vancouver
- Winner over two legs will qualify into Pool D as Americas 2
- World Rugby to stream match across its digital platforms
- Webb Ellis Cup to attend decisive leg in Montevideo on 3 February
The road to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan resumes on 27 January at BC Place in Vancouver when Canada plays Uruguay (17:10 local time, GMT -8).
The first in a two-leg series with the return match taking place in Montevideo on 3 February, the winner on aggregate will qualify as Americas 2, joining Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji in Pool D.
The match doubles as the first encounter of the Americas Rugby Championship 2018, the premier annual international rugby event in the Americas.
Furthering its commitment to providing global fans with access to international rugby, World Rugby will be live broadcasting both qualifiers and all matches in the Americas Rugby Championship across its digital and social platforms (outside of North and South America where broadcast rights operate).
Canada coach Kingsley Jones said: “We just wrapped up a successful training camp in London, which included training sessions with Harlequins and Oxford University with our top domestic-based players, along with our professional players.
“The entire team and staff are incredibly excited to kick off the Americas Rugby Championship series on Saturday at BC Place in front of our home fans in Vancouver. Uruguay is a strong team and well-drilled unit, they play as one unified team.
“They have won a lot of games recently and we know they’re going to be ready for the challenge of this two-game series. We know we have to match them physically and, more importantly, play as a team. We have some quality on the field but they will only be able to show their class if we play as a team. It’s a unique and exciting challenge, we have to deliver full-80 minute performances over two legs in order to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but we’re confident we can get the job done.
“This qualifying series kicks off the Americas Rugby Championship, which is a hugely important tournament for our programme to give our domestic-based players opportunity to gain international test match experience against quality opposition as we build towards 2019.”
Uruguay coach Esteban Meneses said: “We had a warm-up game in Houston en route to Vancouver, which was very helpful for the team and management as we’ve been training very hard but needed match action.
“Our discipline was very good and that will be crucial when we play Canada. This is a game of 160 minutes that starts in Vancouver and finishes in Montevideo so we are very focused. We have our best players available, including Rodrigo Capó Ortega, whose experience will be crucial for the forwards.”
The match falls on a major milestone for fans who will be able to apply for Rugby World Cup 2019 stadium and ticket packs in the ballot from that day via www.rugbyworldcup.com/tickets.
The window remains open until 12 February and Mastercard, as a Worldwide Partner of Rugby World Cup 2019, is offering those who apply for tickets using their Mastercard the chance to receive a double entry in the ticketing ballot for the opportunity to secure tickets to each of the matches they apply for.
The Webb Ellis Cup will be in attendance for the second qualifier in Montevideo on 3 February. The match will be streamed live across World Rugby's digital platforms.