MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Uruguay qualified for the Rugby World Cup for a fourth time with a 32-31 win over Canada in the second leg of their Americas regional qualifier in Montevideo on Saturday.
The result gave the South Americans a 70-60 aggregate win and means they will take their place in Japan next year in Pool D, alongside Australia, Wales, Georgia and Fiji.
Canada, who have participated in every World Cup since the tournament began in 1987, will now go into November’s four-team repechage playoff for the 20th and final World Cup berth.
Uruguay won the first leg 38-29 in Vancouver last week but Canada looked intent on overcoming the nine-point deficit to secure an aggregate win.
The visitors raced to a 15-0 lead with two early tries but Uruguay touched down before the break to reach the interval 18-10 down.
Uruguay, however, took control of the contest early in the second period, scoring tries in the 41st and 64th minutes to move ahead.
Both sides continued to add points as the game swung back and forth but Uruguay held on, with flyhalf Berchesi Pisano kicking 17 points and centre Vilaseca Hontou grabbing two tries for the winners.
Uruguay appeared at the 1999 and 2003 tournaments, winning one pool match in each, before returning to the finals in 2015, where they lost all four matches in England and Wales.
“We are deeply disappointed to be in this position of not having qualified as Americas 2 for the 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup,” Allen Vansen, chief executive officer of Rugby Canada said after the loss.
“We appreciate that the Canadian rugby community is dismayed at this result. This is not acceptable for Canadian rugby.”
Vansen added that the Canadians still hoped to qualify via the repechage and would work to prepare for the November matches.
Reporting by Andrew Downie