Rugby Canada wants world governing body to review rankings in light of ARC drop

Rugby Canada wants a fair shake on rankings

TORONTO — Rugby Canada plans to talk to the sport’s world governing body about a fairer shake when it comes to the world rankings.

Canada fell five spots to No. 23 in the latest World Rugby rankings after going 1-4-0 at the Americas Rugby Championship with a largely developmental squad.

Rugby Canada wants to be treated the same way as Argentina, whose matches at the six-team tournament are not deemed to be of test-status because it sends a second-string side that plays as Argentina ‘A.’

“We would like to be held to the same standard,” said Rugby Canada chairman Tim Powers, who does not want Canada to be penalized in the rankings when the results do not go its way after sending a young side to gain experience.

Canadian coach Mark Anscombe estimated that his ARC squad was without 12 or 13 top players, whom he elected to leave at their European clubs.

“If I’d brought back all the players, their clubs would have kicked up a stink,” he said. “And that could very much jeopardize their contract for renewal next time they’re around the table. Because the English, French, Welsh teams all want their players. They get overseas players to help them through that period when their own national players are away with the national team.”

Anscombe’s approach, like Canadian coaches before him, is to summon such elite players for the most pressing games, like World Cup qualifiers, and high-profile tests.

The Canadian men started the ARC ranked 18th in the world, losing ground throughout.

A drop in the world rankings can have consequences, leading to lesser fixtures and perhaps less funding.

“We’re prepared right now to sacrifice the world rankings to build towards June (tests) and towards the World Cup. And that’s not without risk,” Powers conceded. “It’s something we’ll continue to look at.”

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press