Canada were beaten 25-9 by Romania Saturday in Edmonton at Ellerslie Rugby Park in their final game before their 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying series.
Canada got three penalties from Gordon McRorie but also had two tries disallowed in a fierce contest that saw a red card and two yellows.
“I thought it was a very poor performance,” head coach Mark Anscombe said. “We didn’t do anything we set out to do and that’s disappointing.
“We played poorly against 14 men today but credit to them. They showed spirit and played with more energy than we did.
Saturday’s game also featured an historic moment as Aaron Carpenter became Canada’s all-time try scoring leader with 77, passing Al Charron’s previous record.
“I respect all so much and to finally beat his record is huge for me,” Carpenter said. “But I am glad it’s over and can now focus on playing more games.”
It was a promising start for Canada as they thought they had scored in the corner through co-captain DTH van der Merwe but after a TMO review, it was deemed van der Merwe was just out of play.
Canada made the pressure count though as McRorie kicked his side ahead 3-0 in the 12th minute but Romania stormed back to grab the first try of the game through Viorel Lucaci after Johannes Van Heerden had burst through the game line.
However, the 23rd minute saw a red card for Romania’s Otar Turashvili after punching Canada’s Tyler Ardron. On the same play, Ardron saw yellow. From the ensuing penalty, McRorie cut the Romania lead to 7-6, a lead the visitors would take into the break.
It was an exceptional start to the second half for Romania as they scored less than a minute in through Fonovai Tangimana before McRorie hit back with another penalty to make it 14-9.
Florin Vlaicu’s penalty made it 17-9 before controversy struck again. Van der Merwe seemed to win a high ball from a cross-field kick and a few phases later Ardron had scored for Canada. But after another TMO review, the try was ruled off and van der Merwe was sent to the sin bin for contesting a high ball and making contact above the shoulders.
“We were told a fair contest in the air, they won't be sending people off,” Anscombe said. “That was a fair contest and as soon as you saw him miss the ball he pulled out. How that is a yellow card is beyond me and that was the turning point.”
Tangimana would grab his second try of the day in the 62nd minute before a late Vlaicu penalty sealed the deal.
“If we want to give ourselves a chance to beat the USA, we’ve got to stick to our plan and execute better,” Anscombe said. “We have to be a lot more accurate in what we do and we’re pretty poor at the moment.
Canada returns to action next Saturday against the USA in the first leg of its 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont. Tickets are available by clicking here.
Canada Team to Face Romania (Name, club, hometown):
1. Anthony Luca – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
2. Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
4. Brett Beukeboom, co-captain – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
5. Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
6. Tyler Ardron – (Chiefs/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
7. Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
8. Aaron Carpenter – (Doncaster Knights/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
9. Gordon McRorie – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
11. Sean Duke – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Conor Trainor – (USON Nevers/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14. DTH van Der Merwe, co-captain – (Newcastle Falcons) Victoria, BC
15 Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
16. Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
17. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18. Ryan Ackerman – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Saskatoon, SK
19. Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
20. Kyle Baillie – (London Scottish/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
21. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22. Shane O’Leary – (Unattached) Cork, Ireland
23. Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Canada Coaching Staff:
Mark Anscombe – Head Coach
Graeme Moffat – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Kelly Brown – Assistant Coach
Mark Winokur – Manager
Mallory White – Athletic Therapist
Alistair Wilson – Athletic Therapist
Dr. Steve Martin – Team Doctor
Aaron Takel – Performance Analyst
Michael Deasy – Strength & Conditioning Coach
Penalties: Gordon McRorie (3)
Tries: Fonovai Tangimana (2), Viorel Lucaci
Conversions: Florin Vlaicu (2)
Penalties: Florin Vlaicu (2)
Canada’s June Series Schedule:
Canada 0-13 Georgia —Calgary Rugby Park
Canada 9-22 Romania — Ellerslie Rugby Park
Canada vs. USA — June 24 — Tim Horton’s Field — 3pm ET/12pm PT
Canada vs. USA — July 1 — San Diego — 6pm ET/3pm PT