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Sports Canada drops in world rugby rankings after loss to United States

Team Canada's Mike Sheppard tackles team USA's Paul Lasike during the first half of a match at B.C. Place in Vancouver, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Canada has dropped one spot to No. 22 in the world rugby rankings in the wake of its 20-15 weekend loss to the United States.

Canada, the final country to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, enters the tournament later this month as the second-lowest-ranked squad in the 20-team field. Namibia is No. 23.

Saturday’s match at BC Place Stadium, the Canadian men’s final warm-up before leaving for the World Cup in Japan, moved the U.S. up one place to No. 13 in the rankings.

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Portugal, which is not going to the World Cup, took over Canada’s spot at No. 21.

Ireland, coming off a 19-10 win over Wales, moved up two spots to dislodge New Zealand at the top of the rankings despite the All Blacks’ 92-7 thumping of No. 15 Tonga. The Irish will hold the top ranking going into the World Cup, which kicks off on Sept. 20 when Japan plays Russia in Tokyo.

It’s the third time in five weeks that the top position in the rankings has changed hands.

England is unchanged at No. 3, while South Africa climbs past Wales to No. 4 after beating Japan 41-9. The Welsh stand at No. 5, followed by Australia, Scotland, France, Fiji and Japan.

Canada opens Pool B tournament play against No. 14 Italy on Sept. 26 before facing No. 2 New Zealand on Oct. 2, No. 4 South Africa on Oct. 8 and No. 23 Namibia on Oct. 13.

The Canadians have a 2-9-0 record this year, with wins over Chile and the B.C. all-stars and losses to the U.S. (three times), Brazil, Fiji, Tonga, Uruguay, Irish club side Leinster and an Argentina XV.

Canada and Japan are the only Tier 2 teams to have taken part in every World Cup since the tournament began in 1987. Canada’s best finish was in 1991 when it lost 29-13 to New Zealand in the quarter-finals. It has failed to advance out of the group stage since.

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