HOUSTON — Kevin Vertkas and Michael Smith scored two tries apiece as Canada routed the United States 60-22 on Tuesday in a qualifier for the second-tier under-20 World Rugby Trophy.
James O'Neill, Jackson Matthews and Mostyn Findley also had tries for Canada, while Brennig Prevost had five conversions and a penalty.
The two teams will meet in a rematch Saturday afternoon, part of a doubleheader with a U.S.-Scotland test match.
"Obviously we're happy with the outcome," said Canadian head coach Jeff Williams. "But we can see how lethal the Americans can be when they were effectively down to 14 men for almost the whole second half. When we switched off they scored quite quickly.
"We are happy with the outcome but it's a process. The strength of us will be determined if we can do the same thing on Saturday against them."
Captain Reuben De Haas, Justin Johnson and Campbell Johnstone put down tries for the Americans, with De Haas adding a conversion, as did Patrick Madden.
De Haas also kicked a penalty, while Bronson Teles was shown a red card.
The North American playoff winner will join host Romania, Fiji, Hong Kong, Namibia, Portugal and Uruguay as well as Samoa, relegated from last year's World Rugby U20 Championship, in the second-tier Trophy in Bucharest from Aug. 24 to Sept. 10.
Canada advanced 71-39 on aggregate last year after beating the visiting U.S. 46-12 in the first game and losing 27-25 in the second.
The Canadians went on to finish seventh at the World Rugby Trophy in Uruguay, blanking Hong Kong 38-0 after losses to Chile, Japan and Namibia. Japan beat Portugal 14-3 in the final, earning promotion to the first-tier World Rugby U20 Championship.
The Canadian Press