MARSEILLE (Reuters) – Winger DTH van der Merwe scored a hat-trick of tries as favourites Canada opened their Rugby World Cup repechage campaign with an emphatic 65-19 victory over Kenya at the Pierre-Delort Stadium on Sunday.
Germany also got their tournament off to a positive start with a 26-9 win against Hong Kong in an evenly-matched encounter that the European side only ran away with in the final 15 minutes.
Canada, who have qualified for every previous World Cup, making the quarterfinals in 1991, scored 10 tries in a dominant performance that underlined their status as favourites to reach next year’s finals in Japan.
Fullback Theo Sauder and lock Brett Beukeboom both bagged a brace of tries to go with the treble for Glasgow Warriors wing Van der Merwe as Canada led 27-12 at halftime.
Tries from replacement prop Matthias Schosser and South African-born hooker Kurt Haupt sealed victory for Germany after the teams had been level at 6-6 at halftime in a forward-based battle that had little in the way of backline spark.
The next round of fixtures will be played on Saturday when Canada take on Germany in a potential competition decider and Hong Kong tackle Kenya.
The top team after the round-robin group play will qualify for Pool B at the World Cup along with defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia.
(Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Ian Chadband)