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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canadian men's rugby team heads to Europe on November rugby tour

TORONTO - Canada will play Namibia, Romania and Samoa on its November rugby tour.

The matches are part of the International Rugby Board's Tier 2 schedule.

Canada is ranked 17th in the world while Samoa is No. 9, Romania No. 16 and Namibia No. 22.

The Canadian men will open their tour on Nov. 8 against Namibia at a European location yet to be announced. Kieran Crowley's team will then meet Samoa in Vannes, Frances, on Nov. 14 and Romania in Bucharest on Nov. 22.

All three of Canada's November opponents have qualified for the 2015 World Cup, with Romania in Pool D with Canada, France, Ireland and Italy.

"In 2014, Tier 2 countries will play 13 Test matches against Tier 1 opposition," Mark Egan, IRB head of competition and performance Mark Egan said in a release Thursday. "We were very pleased to see Fiji, Samoa and Japan secure victories against Tier 1 opponents Italy in June and both Canada and U.S.A. put in very competitive performances against Scotland.

"There is increasing evidence that the competitiveness gap is narrowing and rugby fans can look forward to some exciting fixtures in the November Test window."

The touring Scots beat Canada 19-17 and the U.S. 24-6.

Namibia qualified for the World Cup in July. Needing to win their final match against Madagascar by 53 points, the Namibians triumphed 89-10 to claim the Africa Cup and a place alongside Argentina, Georgia, New Zealand and Tonga in Pool C.

Samoa is in Pool B with Japan, Scotland, South Africa and the U.S.

The November schedule includes some Tier 2 versus Tier 1 matchups.

No. 11 Fiji plays No. 6 Wales and No. 7 France while Samoa takes on No. 4 England and No. 14 Italy. No. 13 Tonga takes on No. 8 Scotland and No. 15 Georgia faces No. 5 Ireland.

Canada lost 38-35 to the U.S. and 34-25 to Japan in its other June matches.

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