Starlight Stadium in Langford will host the opening game in Canada’s men’s 15s home-and-home series against Chile on Oct 2. Here Canada back Ben LaSage (in red) attempts to tackle U.S. centre Bryce Campbell during a Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification pathway match earlier this month. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski)

Starlight Stadium in Langford will host the opening game in Canada’s men’s 15s home-and-home series against Chile on Oct 2. Here Canada back Ben LaSage (in red) attempts to tackle U.S. centre Bryce Campbell during a Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification pathway match earlier this month. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, David Zalubowski)

Langford qualifier against Chile looms large in Canada’s Rugby World Cup hopes

Starlight Stadium hosts game 1 in home-and-home series on Oct. 2

The Canadian rugby men’s 15s team will be on home turf in Langford next week, hoping to take another step towards competing in the 2023 World Cup in France.

Canada faces Chile at Starlight Stadium on Oct. 2 in the first game in a home-and-home series to see which country moves on to play for the final Americas spot at the 2023 World Cup.

Head coach Kingsley Jones said the Canadian players and coaches are looking forward to being back in their home stadium.

“It is important that we give ourselves a home-field advantage when hosting these qualifiers and we are excited about this opportunity to take the pitch in front of our fans,” he said.

The stakes will be high for Canada after it’s managed to qualify for every men’s Rugby World Cup since the tournament’s inception in 1987. Canada will visit Chile on Oct. 9 for the series’ second game and the team with the highest two-match score will move on to the next round of qualification.

The United States and Uruguay also play on Oct. 2 and 9, with the winner of that series booking the first of two World Cup invites allocated to the Americas. The loser plays the winner of Canada-Chile to see who gets the second Americas spot in France.

READ: Canada 2nd in rugby sevens pool with 2-1 record, meets Great Britain in quarterfinal

Should Canada beat Chile but fall in a playoff against the U.S.-Uruguay loser, they’ll get a spot in a four-team global qualification tournament to be held in November 2022. That would be Canada’s last opportunity to maintain their longstanding World Cup presence.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the rugby crowds at the stadium were getting bigger every year before the pandemic hit, so the community is excited about the October match.

“The rugby will be just great to have back in our stadium,” he told Black Press Media. “It’s not only good for our fans, but it’s good for the team to actually have someone cheer them on.

“We hope we beat Chile and with the support of the fans there, I’m sure we’ll have good shot at it.”

Tickets for the Oct. 2 match (5 p.m. kickoff) can be purchased online through Ticketmaster.

The event venue will adhere to all provincial health and safety protocols, including the requirement to present a vaccine passport and a picture ID at the gate to enter.

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