Canada’s ever-present record at Rugby World Cup is on the line in Valparaiso this Saturday as they head into their return match with Chile defending the slenderest of leads.
Robbie Povey’s last-minute penalty handed Canada a 22-21 win in Langford last weekend and the replacement fly-half knows they will have to up their game in the return match if they are going to stay in the hunt for the Americas 2 qualification place.
If the scores are level on aggregate after normal time, there will be two 10-minute halves of extra-time, followed by a 10-minute period of sudden death if necessary. A kicking contest will then be used if the sides still cannot be separated.
“Hopefully we can put right the few bits that we slipped up on slightly and put in a better performance this week,” Povey told World Rugby.
“They brought a lot of passion, a lot of line speed and we didn’t quite execute how we’d have liked to, and hopefully we’ve put that right in training.”
Canada were in serious danger of losing to Los Condores for the first time in seven outings until Povey intervened, but the 25-year-old says they did not take their opponents lightly.
“It would do them a disservice to say we didn’t expect them to perform at that level. We probably didn’t react to it in the way we should have done.”
Qualification would be “awesome”
Whoever loses on aggregate score across the two legs will be eliminated from the qualification process for France 2023.
But the winner will go forward to face the loser of this Saturday’s Americas 1 play-off between USA and Uruguay for the right to go to compete at the tournament in Pool D alongside England, Japan, Argentina and Samoa.
Povey, who qualifies for Canada through his Montreal-born mother, made his national debut in 2017 but fell by the wayside and missed out on selection for Rugby World Cup 2019.
A spell in Major League Rugby with Houston SaberCats has helped to reignite his international career, with five of his eight caps won this year, and now he has his sights set on playing on the game’s biggest stage.
“It would be unbelievable, a dream come true,” he said of the Rugby World Cup.
“Chatting to all the guys who went to Japan they said how awesome it was so that’s definitely something I am aiming for.
“We’ve just got to take it one step at a time but if we perform like we know we can, I think we are a very good side. Hopefully, we can put out a performance that does us justice and we’ll take it from there.”
Photo: Armando Tura