Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada

A pulsating finish saw Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team held up on the try line as they were narrowly beaten 26-22 by Japan in a historic first-ever Men’s Fifteens test match at BC Place in downtown Vancouver.

Trailing by four points, Djustice Sears-Duru, who was named man of the match, was held up on the try line after minutes of sustained Canadian pressure.

“We showed a bit of heart to come back in those last 10 minutes,” said Head Coach Mark Anscombe. “We scored four tries and had a lot of good aspects but our decision making, which comes from our conditioning, was questionable.”

Trailing 26-17 in the 79th minute, Canada got a try from Aaron Carpenter as the 72-test cap veteran touched down off of a driving maul. With time left on the clock, Canada took the restart inside its own 22 before marching all the way down to the Japanese try line before being denied by a matter of inches.

“We are so frustrated,” Canada Captain Jamie Cudmore said. “To play as well as we did and still come out losers at the end is heartbreaking for us. We’ve got to work a lot harder and be more precise so that things like this don’t happen again.”

Despite first half tries from Taylor Paris and Ray Barkwill, the hosts trailed 13-12 at the break but got on the scoreboard first in the second half as Cudmore crashed over for his third test try to give Canada a 17-13 lead.

Japan cut the deficit to 17-16 when Yu Tamura slotted a penalty after Aaron Carpenter had been sent to the sin bin, however, in the 54th minute Japan were reduced to 14-men as debutant Yoshiya Hosoda was sent off for shoulder charging an un-contesting McRorie in a breakdown with the visitors only meters from the Canadian try line.

As Canada willed forward to try and take the lead they surrendered a crucial score in the 70th minute as fullback Kotaro Matsushima crossed over after nifty work from replacement scrum-half Kaito Shigeno. Canada battled back with Carpenter crossing for his 16th test try before Sears-Duru was agonizingly held up with a crowd of more than 10,000 willing him on.

“We scored four tries but only kicked one goal,” Anscombe said. “At the international level you have to kick your goals and we didn’t. If we’d kicked just one of them we’d be taking a shot at goal to win the game. It’s tough but that’s what it’s all about.”

Canada stormed out of the gates as Paris, making his first appearance for Canada in 11 months, crashed over sevens minutes in after Canada’s forwards did the heavy lifting with a string of phases.

A Tamura penalty cut Canada’s lead to 5-3 but the hosts were in again when Barkwill dived over after sustained Canadian pressure inside the Japanese 5 meter line. McRorie added the conversion for a 12-5 lead after 21 minutes.

After some great defence from Canada, including Dan Moor shoving winger Yasutaka Sasakura into touch inside the 22 meter line and Matt Evans intercepting a Tamura cross-field kick, Japan finally got their opening try as hooker Takeshi Kizu powered over after a driving maul from a lineout.

The visitors took a 13-12 lead into the interval as Tamura stuck a close range penalty.

“We created opportunities,” Anscombe said. “There was a lot of good play. Our defence for periods was excellent and that created opportunities for us. We made some good yards. The way we finished, we kept composure and didn’t lose the ball. Those are great traits to have.”

Canada returns to action next Saturday when they face Russia in Calgary. Tickets are still available at http://events.rugbycanada.ca

“Doing the simple things right worked very well for us today,” Cudmore said. “We stayed in our systems and worked hard together and almost came out on top.

“We’re going to bring that in next week and hopefully knock off the Russians.”

Canada’s Roster vs. Japan (Name, club, hometown):

1. Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
2. Ray Barkwill – (Sacramento/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Jake Ilnicki – (San Diego/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
4. Jamie Cudmore, captain – (Oyonnax) Squamish, BC
5. Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
6. Kyle Baillie – (Ohio/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
7. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
8. Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
11. Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
12. Nick Blevins – (San Francisco/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15. Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
16. Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
17. Tom Dolezel – (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
18. Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
19. Paul Ciulini – (Aurora Barbarians/Ontario Blues) Vaughan, ON
20. Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
21. Alistair Clark – (Bay Street Pigs/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
22. Jamie Mackenzie – (UBCOB Ravens/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
23. Mozac Samson – (Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB

Unavailable for selection:

Tyler Ardron – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Kyle Gilmour – (St. Albert RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, AB
Phil Mackenzie – (San Diego/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Callum Morrison – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Benoit Piffero – (Avenir Castaneén Rugby XV/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
Andrew Tiedemann – (Bourgoin/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
DTH van der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC
Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON

Unavailable due to Rugby Sevens Olympic Repechage:

Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON

Canada’s Senior Men’s Coaching Staff:

Head Coach – Mark Anscombe
Assistant Coach – Graeme Moffat
Assistant Coach, Forwards – Michael Shelley
Technical Consultant (Auckland Blues) – Paul Feeney
Head Strength & Conditioning – Michael Deasy
Analyst – Aaron Takel
Physiotherapist – Mallory White
Athletic Therapist – Jessica Smith
Tour Manager – Jim Kazakoff
Operations & Logistics Manager – Alana Gattinger

Japan’s Roster vs. Canada

1. Keita Inagaki
2. Takeshi Kizu
3. Kensuke Hatakeyama
4. Kazuhiko Usami
5. Naohiro Kotaki
6. Yoshiya Hosoda
7. Taiyo Ando
8. Kyosuke Horie
9. Fumiaka Tanaka
10. Yu Tamara
11. Yasutaka Sasakura
12. Harumichi Tatekawa – captain
13. Tim Bennetts
14. Mifi Poseti Paea
15. Kotaro Matsushima
16. Futoshi Mori
17. Mastaka Mikami
18. Shinnosuke Kakinag
19. Kotaro Yatabe
20. Shoukeik Kin
21. Kaito Shigeno
22. Kosei Ono
23. Rikiya Matsuda

Scoring Details:

Canada

Tries: Taylor Paris, Ray Barkwill, Jamie Cudmore, Aaron Carpenter
Conversions: Gordon McRorie

Japan:

Tries: Takeshi Kizu, Kotaro Matsushima
Conversions: Yu Tamura (2)
Penalties: Yu Tamura (4)

Canada’s RISEAsOne Summer Series Schedule:

June 11
Canada 22-26 Japan — BC Place, Vancouver

June 18
Canada vs. Russia, Calgary Rugby Park, 5pm ET/2pm PT

June 26
Canada vs. Italy, BMO Field, 12pm ET/9am PT

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