Spain replace French Barbarians as July opponent for Canadian men’s rugby team

The 21st-ranked Canadians will face 27th-ranked Belgium on July 2 at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax.

Spain are coming off a 33-28 win over No.20 Portugal and a 49-15 loss to No.12 Georgia in March.

In April, the Spaniards lost their place at next year’s Rugby World Cup in France for fielding an ineligible player. Spain would be making their second World Cup appearance – and their first since 1999.

Now, like Canada, who failed to qualify for the first time in tournament history, he will be a spectator.

This is the second consecutive World Cup qualifying campaign in which Spain have been embroiled in controversy. In 2018, Spain, Romania and Belgium were sanctioned for fielding ineligible players and Russia qualified for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Canadian men haven’t played since November, when they beat Belgium 24-0 in Brussels and lost 20-17 to Portugal in Lisbon. Coach Kingsley Jones’ side are 3-5-0 since the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

In other news Thursday, Canadians Julianne Zussman and Chris Assmus have been included among the 18 match officials for the Women’s World Cup later this year in New Zealand.

Zussman, a former Canada international who appeared at three World Cups, made her refereeing debut in November 2021.

Zussman, who also worked at the Tokyo Olympics and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in 2019-20 and 2021-22, will serve as an assistant referee in New Zealand.

Assmus is a current Major League Rugby match official. He refereed his first test match in 2013 between Uruguay and Spain, and is currently a part-time referee development manager at BC Rugby.

Assmus has been appointed as a televised match referee for the World Cup.

World Rugby has appointed an all-female referee team for the tournament with all 18 officials – nine referees, five assistant referees and four televised match officials – selected from 11 unions.

After its postponement from 2021, the 12-team Women’s World Cup will start on October 8 at Eden Park in Auckland.

The third-seeded Canadians were drawn in Pool B with Italy in fifth, the US, in seventh and Japan in 12th.

Rugby World Cup Officials


Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Maggie Cogger-Orr (New Zealand), Sara Cox (England), Hollie Davidson (Scotland), Aurélie Groizeleau (France), Lauren Jenner (New Zealand), Clara Munarini (Italy ), Amber McLachlan (Australia), Joy Neville (Ireland).

Assistant referees

Doriane Domenjo (France), Tyler Miller (Australia), Nikki O’Donnell (England), Kat Roche (United States), Julianne Zussman (Canada).

Match officials on television

Chris Assmus (Canada), Lee Jeffrey (New Zealand), Ian Tempest (England), Ben Whitehouse (Wales).

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 26, 2022

The Canadian Press

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