Friday, November 22, 2013

Retro Friday - Rod Snow scores against Namibia in 1999

Photo Sportfest: Rod Snow v Japan at Rugby World Cup 2007
One of Canadian rugby´s most famous products is the now 43 year old Rod Snow who is a veteran of fourteen Rugby World Cup matches, having played in 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. The 62 time capped prop is the fourth most capped Canadian player of all time.

In Rugby World Cup 1999 Canada entered its match against Namibia needing to score as many points as possible to give itself a chance of finishing as the best third placed team of the five pools. The unique tournament format was such that the five pool winners advanced to the Quarter Finals while the runners-up would play in Quarter Final Qualification matches. With there being five runner-up a sixth was needed and that team would be the team that finished the pool matches with the most competition points.

Canada had played well in losing to France and had then lost against Fiji. With Namibia remaining there was a genuine feeling that Canada stodd a realistic chance of being the best third placed-side. But with Wales losing against Samoa Canada´s dreams were ended. Samoa had lost against Argentina and with Wales defeating Argentina and all three defeating Japan the three finished with two wins and one loss in the pool phase.

Argentina thus advanced to face Ireland in Lens and Samoa faced Scotland in Edinburgh. Wales as the group winner, on points difference, faced Australia in Cardiff in a Quarter Final. Had Wales not lost against Samoa then Samoa would not have faced Scotland. Instead Argentina would have by virtue of being second in the group while Canada would have faced Ireland. The format used in Rugby World Cup 1999 did not last as subsequent World Cups have all seen four pools of five teams with the top two advancing to the final eight whilst the remaining twelve exit the tournament.

In searching to advance beyond the pool stage Canada played its best match of the tournament to hammer the second best African nation by 72-11. It was a performance in which the North Americans scored nine tries and Snow claimed two of them. Of the two one was particularly notable due to the front-rower fooling the African´s defence with a dummy pass.

Despite Wales being the official host nation for Rugby World Cup 1999 Canada did not play a match in Wales and instead played in the French cities of Béziers, Bordeaux and Toulouse. As such Snow was unable to play a World Cup match in the nation he lived in as after having played for Western Province in South Africa in 1995 Snow went on to play for 190 matches for Newport in Wales during a ten year period.

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