Preview: Canada v New Zealand
WORLD CUP POOL MATCH: This match under the dome of Oita Stadium in Japan is as near to a foregone conclusion as you can get in Sport.
It may test the Japanese determination to support the underdog, for Canada, who are the last team to qualify for Japan and did so by beating Hong Kong, certainly are the underdog and, brave and determined though they will be, are not going to come close to winning the match.
Since 1980, Canada and New Zealand have met six times, three times at World Cups.
New Zealand won all six matches with World Cup scores of 29-13 in 1991, 68-6 in 2003 and 79-5 in 2011.
It could just be even bigger this time, as Canada has not been having a good year, nothing like their 1991 year when they reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup.
This year Canada has not won a match.
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They lost three times to the United States and also to the Irish province Leinster, Tonga, Fiji, Uruguay and Brazil (sic). Then they lost 48-7 in their opening World Cup match in Japan.
This year, New Zealand has not been as good as they usually are.
After all, they lost to Australia, whom they subsequently beat, and drew with South Africa, whom they have just recently beaten in Japan.
The difference between the results of the two countries is enormous.
They are, to imply, in very different leagues.
But Canada will be much more excited about the prospect of playing the All Blacks than they were about playing Brazil.
In fact, it will become an unforgettable experience for all the Canadian players.
Players to Watch
For New Zealand: All the players, but especially Beauden Barrett, twice World Rugby’s Player of the Year. He, usually a flyhalf, and his brothers Jordie, usually a fullback, and Scott, sometimes a flank, become just the second trio of brothers to start a World Cup match since Elisi, Manu and Fe’ao Vunipola started for Tonga against Scotland in 1995. The New Zealand backs could just be spectacular in this match.
For Canada: There is their captain, the burly, tough No.8, Tyler Ardron, who played with distinction for the Chiefs in Super Rugby. Out on the wing there is DTH van der Merwe, born in Worcester in the Western Cape and schooled there till at the age of 16 he emigrated with his parents to Canada. At 33 years of age and Canada’s most prolific try-scorer, this is his fourth World Cup.
Head to head
One of the few world-class players, Canadian wing DTH van der Merwe, will have his hands full to contain the youngest of New Zealand’s Barrett brothers, Jordie. Captain versus captain. Canada’s New Zealand-based No.8 Tyler Ardron against the All Blacks’ Kieran Read – two players who will know each other well from their encounters in Super Rugby, Ardron for the Chiefs and Read for the Crusaders.
Prediction: New Zealand will win. They will also be concerned about getting their rugby right for all 80 minutes. It would be most un-New Zealand-like for them to slacken off. It could be a huge score but let’s be conservative and suggest a New Zealand victory of over 50 points.
Canada: 15 Patrick Parfrey, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Nelson, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron (captain), 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Lucas Rumball, 5 Conor Keys, 4 Evan Olmstead, 3 Cole Keith, 2 Eric Howard, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Quattrin, 17 Hubert Buydens, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Mike Sheppard, 20 Josh Larsen, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Taylor Paris, 23 Andrew Coe.
New Zealand: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Jordie Barrett, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Atu Moli.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Ben Smith.
Date: Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture
Kick-off: 19.15 (06.15 Canada Eastern time; 23.15 New Zealand time; 10.15 GMT)
Expected weather: The stadium has a retractable dome roof which will lessen the movement of air and not reduce the humidity which is expected to be in the region of 90 percent. Outside of the stadium, rain is expected but the temperature will be little affected, being 22° at its night-time lowest.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Pascal Gaüzère (France), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)