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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 September, 2003, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Form guide: Canada
Luke Gross struggles to make a way through England's second-string XV
Canada struggled against England's second-string side
In the run-up to the last World Cup Canada lost eight matches in a row.

In 2002 such a run would have been hard to imagine, but come 2003 the Canadians only avoided a repeat courtesy of a solitary win over Uruguay.

Prior to beating Uruguay in August, their last win had come 12 months earlier when they defeated Chile 27-6.

That victory in Montevideo came off the back of defeats to France and Wales at the back end of last season, plus an England XV and arch-rivals USA at the start of this year's exertions.

England's second string scored six tries in a 43-7 rout in their first game of the Churchill Cup.

Although Canada's second outing three days later was much closer, they eventually lost an incident-filled contest 16-11 to the USA.

It was only the third USA win in 20 matches on Canadian soil in a match in which each side scored a try, Quentin Fyffe crossing for the hosts.

Fyffe was the first man on the score sheet when he seared past the American defenders but Canada were unable to build on that early advantage or hold on to their 8-3 half-time lead.

FORM IN 2003
18 June: Canada 11-16 USA
23 Aug: U'guay 11-21 Canada
27 Aug: USA 35-20 Canada

Their efforts were a far cry from the back-to-back wins they enjoyed against their neighbours during World Cup qualification 12 months earlier.

Their qualification campaign included a run of six consecutive wins and but for a surprise setback on the road in Uruguay, that run could have realistically been stretched to a record seven wins on the trot.

They made amends in August's Pan-American Championships with a 21-11 victory over Uruguay in Buenos Aires.

But that match was not without incident. The Canadians moved 11-0 clear at half-time only to see Uruguay cancel out that advantage after the restart.

Replacements Sean Fauth and Ken Tkachuk saved their blushes with two late tries.

But they were unable to build on that win, again going down to the USA before being comprehensively beaten by Argentina in a nine-try rout.

It remains to be seen how Canada's confidence is following their humbling in Argentina following which chief executive Gareth Rees resigned from his post.

A year is a long time in rugby.

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