Canada is the first direct qualifier for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England after defeating USA 13-11 at BMO Field in Toronto last Saturday.
The victory followed the previous weekend’s 27-9 win in Charleston to give the home side a 40-20 win on aggregate, booking a place in Pool D as Americas 1.
Canadian fans can now start looking ahead to Rugby’s showcase tournament and an event that is anticipated to attract more than 400,000 international visitors for a six week celebration of Rugby and the host nation.
In Pool D at England 2015 Canada will face Ireland at the Millennium Stadium on September 19, Italy on September 26 at Elland Road, Leeds, France on October 1 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes, before wrapping up pool play against Europe 2 (TBD) on October 6 at Leicester City Stadium.
Defeat does not spell the end of USA’s chances of making it to England 2015. A much improved performance will breed confidence as Mike Tolkin’s side progress to face Uruguay home and away for the right to claim the Americas 2 place.
With the Webb Ellis Cup in attendance, USA came out of the blocks strongly chasing tries and had one attempt ruled out by the TMO before Taku Ngwenya's try gave the visitors a 5-0 lead midway through the half.
Canada hit back with a penalty and try from James Pritchard, but it was USA's Chris Wyles who had the last word of the half with a penalty to leave the teams locked at 8-8.
The second half was just as tight and it took a Jason Marshall try in the 60th minute to break the deadlock and give the home side the lead once more.
Chris Wyles responded six minutes later with a penalty and had the chance to steal a first victory over Canada in seven matches in the last minute, but his penalty attempt drifted wide and the celebrations started for Canada.
Canada captain Aaron Carpenter said: “It is an amazing feeling to know that we will be there proudly representing Canada at Rugby World Cup.”
“It caps an incredible year with more test matches and Pacific Nations Cup inclusion and I am sure it will boost Rugby interest here. I am really proud of the guys."
It was fitting that the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) IRB regional association should deliver the first qualified team to England 2015.
The global process kicked off in NACRA last year with Mexico playing host to Jamaica. By its completion, some 3000 players from 80 Unions across every continent will have participated in the 184 matches that comprise Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifying.
Rugby World Cup 2015 match schedule for Canada qualifier
Sat Sep 19 – Ireland v Canada – Millennium Stadium
Sat Sep 26 – Italy v Canada – Elland Road
Thu Oct 1 – France v Canada – Stadium MK
Tue Oct 6 – Canada v Europe 2 – Leicester City Stadium
Sign up to the Front Row
and receive ticket updates as well as the opportunity to register your interest in volunteering at Rugby World Cup 2015. Visit www.rugbyworldcup.com for more details.