It was a five-try night for Canada as they convincingly beat Uruguay today 33-17 in the first match of the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship (ARC). Played under cool, sunny skies, 1,123 fans enjoyed the spectacle played at Westhills Stadium in Langford.
Canada exerted some good pressure from the start with the first try scored by Phil Mackenzie in just six minutes, coming from a line-out after a kick to the corner from penalty. A breakaway from Canada’s own end on the left wing led to the second try by Nick Blevins. The conversion by Gordon McRorie made it 12-0 to Canada in just 20 minutes.
Ball handling was questionable by both sides in the first half but this didn’t stop Canada securing a third try, made from an interception on the 10-metre line by McRorie to allow wing Dan Moor to touchdown. The conversion by McRorie made it 19-0.
Uruguay were not to be put down by this pressure and attacked, and after a series of repeated offences by Canada in the scrum, the visitors were awarded a penalty try to finish off the half with a 19-7 score.
The second half saw Uruguay come out fighting, but both sides had their hackles up with many scuffles off the ball. Canada had two missed penalties, but dominated the scrum with the Castaway Wanderer’s hooker Ray Barkwill having a good game. In the 63rd minute a break out on the left wing by Mozac Samson led to Canada’s fourth try by Alistair Clark, who had come on just a few minutes before for flanker Lucas Rumball.
Uruguay immediately fought back with a try by Alejandro Nieto. With a failed conversion the score was 26-12. In the 70th minute Canada struck back with another breakaway on the left wing for Moor to score his second try. A conversion by the consistent McRorie made it 33-12. However, Uruguay, fighting back, scored a consolation try to make the final score 33-17.
With two tries under his belt Moor was made Man of the Match. “We worked hard all week to prepare for the match and we knew they would be a tough side,” he said afterwards. “Tonight was a good first step and we will build on this going into the remaining matches.” He praised his team mates saying they were team tries, and also gave the coaching staff accolades for a good job in their preparation.
Head Coach Francois Ratier admitted they had to “work on their game management”. But, “the players were courageous and tenacious and didn’t want to give up many points.” Looking forward to next week’s game against the U.S. he knows he has some work to do. “We will use the best players, but we know it will be physical.”
Canada play the USA next weekend away, returning on February 20 to play Brazil in Langford.