By: Doug Crosse
Well everyone and most of all Kingsley Jones can breathe a sigh of relief.
Think back three months ago to what a mess things seemed to be.
The sevens players were on strike and not training with the 15s players. Rugby supporters were baying for the heads of board members or anyone who has worn a Rugby Canada blazer.
Three weekends, three games, and all is right with the world. Well, not really, but they are a lot better than before.
In some fans’ minds, missing a World Cup was almost not a bad thing. Miss a cycle, right the ship, and get ready for France 2023. But in reality, the financial hit from losing World Rugby funding coupled with not going to the big show would be too much of a hammer blow for this country.
The good news is the World Cup is so close there is not much to be done but buckle down and make plans to get ready for next year. Pretty simple. Just New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, and Namibia.
It seemed when Canada qualified through the front door it got a horrible draw. Do it through repechage and you have wistful dreams of where America is sitting. Or Uruguay.
The USA face England, France, Argentina, and Tonga. This is a team who just went on a 9-1 tear in 2018, including nine in a row with historic wins over both Scotland and Samoa. Do you think Tonga and Argentina fancy the way the US is playing these days?
Uruguay, a team that has always qualified through repechage, is also liking its lot in life. How about Australia, Wales, Georgia, and Fiji. There is one, maybe two wins in there on a lucky day against Georgia or Fiji.
Before predicting how teams will do eleven months from now, let’s just consider what a huge task is in front of the Canadian team in just over 330 days.
Fans can start booking their flights and hotels to Japan and getting busy on Duolingo so they can say “which way to the pub” in Japanese with some aplomb.
So, job well done, but so much more to go over the coming months. Hopefully, rugby supporters can pull on the same end of the rope as the time gets closer.
That means attending the dinners that are to come in clubs across the country, buying supporters gear online, and not slagging the team every chance people get in social media.