Rugby World Cup repechage: Last ticket to Japan


One last chance to make Japan for four teams starting on Sunday.

On Sunday, the last ticket to the Rugby World Cup in Japan will be up for grabs in a repechage tournament at the Stade Delort in Marseille, France featuring three teams who have never qualified for the Rugby World Cup and one team who has never not qualified. It is a round-robin tournament with the team finishing first going to Japan next year and be placed in Pool B with New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and Namibia. Let’s take a look at the field for this unique last chance tournament.

CANADA:  Much like in soccer, each region has its unique qualification process. For Canada, they could have qualified by defeating the USA in a home-and-home. They didn’t. They could have beaten Uruguay in a home-and-home as a backup. They didn’t. In fact, Canada let a 15-0 lead slip away in the second leg in Montevideo to lose 32-31 on the day and 70-60 on aggregate.

Canada has made all eight previous editions of the Rugby World Cup even making the quarterfinals in 1991. According to a TSN report, in failing at the first two qualifying hurdles, Canada has already lost out on $450,000 in World Rugby funding. Rugby Canada turned to its provincial unions to increase registration dues while looking internally to reduce costs in a bid to fund its pre-repechage program.

“Qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup is vital to the future of the sport in Canada and the health and well-being of all Rugby Canada programs,” Rugby Canada said at the time.

All of Canada’s matches will be televised on TSN in Canada.

GERMANY:  Much like how Nike’s Phil Knight has been a huge benefactor to the University of Oregon’s athletic department, Hans-Peter Wild—heir to the Capri Sun fortune—has been a big benefactor of German Rugby. 

They opened qualification with a surprise win over Romania and overcame some ups and downs and benefited from points deductions to Romania, Spain, and Belgium for fielding ineligible players to set up a home-and-home with Samoa. Samoa were easy winners though, 108-43 on aggregate. 

Germany has slowly but surely growing in stature in rugby. After narrowly missing out on a spot on the Rugby Sevens circuit, they are looking for a maiden place in the 15s World Cup to boost its profile in a place where another football code is king.

HONG KONG:  Hong Kong’s claim to rugby fame is hosting the most famous rugby sevens tournament every year. Being a former British colony, rugby has been played in Hong Kong for over 150 years. The Dragons consist of a mix of Hong Kong Chinese and British expatriates.

They got to the repechage four years ago, but fell to Uruguay at the final hurdle. For this year’s repechage, they got here by defeating Malaysia, South Korea, and then the Cook Islands in qualifications.

Hong Kong are easily the highest-profile team in Asia outside of Japan. It would be a big boost for the territory if the Dragons qualified for their first Rugby World Cup after being most known rugby circles for hosting the most famous sevens tournament. 

KENYA: The Simbas are looking to reach the Rugby World Cup for the first time to join fellow African nations South Africa and Namibia. It was defeat in the Rugby Africa Gold Cup to Namibia that has led Kenya to the repechage. Kenya has made noise in the past with its Sevens squad winning the 2016 Sevens in Singapore and being Cup finalists in Canada and Hong Kong in 2018. 

Kenya’s squad features sevens veterans Collins Injera, Willy Ambaka, Andrew Amonde, Samuel Oliech and Nelson Oyoo. Injera is second on the all-time list of sevens try-scorers with 271, behind England’s Dan Norton (299).

However, Kenya is seeking its first real success in the 15s game and making the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year would go a long way for the Simbas.

The entire tournament is available for viewing in the United States on the NBC Sports Gold app with a purchase of a rugby pass which will be good for Premiership Rugby, European Champions Cup rugby, the Six Nations, and the Rugby World Cup.


November 11th:

Canada vs. Kenya, 6am CT

Hong Kong vs. Germany, 9am CT

November 17th:

Hong Kong vs. Kenya, 6am CT

Canada vs. Germany, 9am CT

November 23rd:

Kenya vs. Germany, 11am CT

Hong Kong vs. Canada, 2pm CT


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