Wallabies' World Cup pool complete

Rugby World Cup
by AFP

It will be back to the future for the Wallabies in 2019, as Uruguay became the final member of their Rugby World Cup pool.

Uruguay edged out Canada 32-31 in Montevideo on Sunday morning (Australian time), to win their qualifying series 70-60 on aggregate and make the cut for Japan.

Their win means the Wallabies will face 2015 pool opponents Fiji, Wales and Uruguay in 2019, along with Georgia.

The Uruguayans, who had beaten Canada 38-29 in last week's first leg to build a nine-point cushion, fought back from 15-0 down in the first half to book their fourth appearance in rugby's biggest tournament.

Two opportunistic second-half tries from Uruguay centre Andres Vilaseca sealed a deserved win for the South Americans and sent Canada into a repechage later this year.

Uruguay will now enter Pool D alongside Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji.

Canada, who have never failed to qualify for the World Cup, made a dream start with fullback Brock Staller kicking a penalty for a 3-0 lead before Newcastle wing D.T.H. Van der Merwe rounded off a flowing move for the game's opening try.

Canada then drove over from a lineout for another converted score, Taylor Paris dotting down, to put the visitors ahead on aggregate and on course for a ticket to Japan.

But Uruguay came roaring back and caught Canada napping with a quick tap penalty which allowed lock forward Ignacio Dotti to barrel through flimsy Canadian tackling for a try.

Uruguay bested Canada. Photo: Twitter/Uruguay RugbyFrance-based fly-half Felipe Berchesi added the conversion before drilling a penalty to put Uruguay right back in it at 15-10.

Staller added a penalty just before half-time to give Canada an 18-10 lead at the break but Uruguay reduced the deficit to five points when centre Juan Manuel Cat wriggled over from close range for a score early in the second half.

Staller hit back with a penalty to make it 21-15 to Canada before Berchesi responded immediately after the visitors were pinged for a high tackle.

As the game entered its decisive phase, Canada wilted visibly, and when a sloppy pass went to ground near halfway, Vilaseca pounced and raced over from 40 metres to put Uruguay 23-21 ahead.

Berchesi added the conversion to make it 25-21.

Replacement Djustice Sears-Duru drove over to put Canada 26-25 ahead with 10 minutes left, but another Canadian blunder allowed Vilaseca to scamper clear to score once again to effectively seal qualification. Van der Merwe scored a late consolation try for Canada.


Uruguay 32

Tries: Vilaseca 2, Dotti, Cat

Cons: Berchesi 3

Pens: Berchesi 2 

Canada 31

Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Paris, Sears-Duru

Cons: Staller

Pens: Staller 3


2019 Rugby World Cup Pool D