Jeff Hassler: Ospreys wing boosts Canada bid for 2019 Rugby World Cup

Jeff Hassler last played for Canada at the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Romania
Jeff Hassler last played for Canada at the 2015 Rugby World Cup against Romania

Wing Jeff Hassler will miss Ospreys' next two games on international duty with Canada, as they bid to claim a place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The Welsh region play Gloucester away on 26 January and Bath at home on 2 February in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Canada, coached by former Wales captain Kingsley Jones, face Uruguay in a two-leg play-off on 27 January in Vancouver and then Montevideo on 3 February.

The winner will face Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia in Pool D in Japan.

Hassler, 26, won the last of his 17 caps against Romania at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He has suffered knee and shoulder injuries over the past two seasons that have kept him sidelined for long periods.

But Hassler joins up with a Canada squad that includes former Osprey Tyler Ardron and ex-Scarlet DTH van der Merwe.

"I think everyone understands the importance of these fixtures for us and for Canada. I've been really supported by all the club coaches," Jones told the Globe and Mail.

The loser between Canada and Uruguay will have a last chance to reach the World Cup at a round-robin repechage tournament, with one place on offer.

That will involve four teams who failed to qualify from the world regional groups.

Hassler was part of the Ospreys side that lost 24-7 in Clermont Auvergne at the weekend, missing out on a European Champions Cup quarter-final place.

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