Citing a fixture crunch, Canada opts to skip World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge

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Citing a fixture crunch, Canada will skip next month's World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge.

The six-team competition, back after a pandemic-prompted hiatus, runs Oct. 22-30 in Montevideo, Uruguay, with developmental teams from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and the U.S.

The World Rugby-funded tournament requires that 23 of the 28 players in each squad must be 23 or under. The remaining five players can be any age over 18.

Canada's senior side reconvenes Monday ahead of its two-legged Rugby World Cup qualifying series against No. 28 Chile, Oct. 2 in Langford, B.C., and Oct. 9 in Chile.

The 21st-ranked Canadians will then turn their attention to the November international window.

The Canadian men are coming off a 59-50 aggregate loss to the 16th-ranked U.S. Eagles in their first round of World Cup qualifying.

A win over Chile and Canada will face the loser of the U.S.-Uruguay series to see who slots into Pool D at France 2023 as Americas 2 alongside No. 3 England, No. 7 Argentina, No. 10 Japan and No. 13 Samoa.

Canada coach Kingsley Jones said he hopes Canada will be able to field a team in next year's Americas Pacific Challenge.

Pool A next month will feature Argentina, Chile A and Brazil A while Pool B consists of Uruguay A, the U.S.A. Selects and Paraguay A.

Teams from Pool A will play those in Pool B with the tournament winner the side with the most points from three rounds of play.

"World Rugby’s strategic mission is to grow the global game and this competition goes to the heart of that strategy by focusing on raising the overall competitiveness of the game on a national, regional and international basis," World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

“We are excited to be partnering with the unions and regions on a competition that will promote and support the development of some of the finest young players in the Americas. We hope that this experience will help them to progress to star on the sport’s biggest stages in the near future."


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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