Canada’s men’s rugby team falls to USA in 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier
Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team fell 52-16 to USA on Saturday afternoon at Torero Stadium in the second and deciding leg of the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying series, securing the Americas 1 seed in Pool C alongside England, Argentina, France and Oceanic 2 for the Americans.
Canada’s next chance at qualification will be held in early 2018, with a home-and-away series against Uruguay to take place in January and February next year; details will be announced in the coming months. The winner – based on aggregate points through the two matches – will join Australia, Wales, Georgia and Oceania 1 in Pool D in 2019.
“This is not the result we have been working towards, but we are confident we will qualify in the second round,” said Jim Dixon, Rugby Canada’s General Manager of Rugby Operations and Performance.
“We will now be conducting a comprehensive review of the June Tour, as part of our standard protocol, including all aspects of our technical, tactical and logistical protocols as well as player and staff performances,” added Dixon.
To prepare for their annual November tour, a Canada “A” development side will compete in the Americas Pacific Challenge in October to give domestic-based players international competition.
“We started centralization in Langford, B.C. 10 months ago and have seen benefits, however the players need higher quality competition on a regular basis so that they come into the international competition windows fully prepared for test match rugby,” added Dixon. “The margins of competition are growing every year and we have to keep evolving and improving domestically and finding more opportunities for our players to go overseas full time.”
Canada has also secured four international games, including three test matches, for this November in Canada and in Europe (details TBA).
Canada is now 38-18-2 all-time against USA and the Eagles have won six of the last seven matchups; Canada has not beaten the Americans since August 2013 when it won both legs of their Rugby World Cup 2015 qualifier.
Today’s defeat marks the first RWC qualification match Canada has lost since July 2009 when they were bested 12-6 by USA before rebounding to win 41-18 to make the 2011 tournament. Canada is 15-5-1 all-time in RWC qualification matches.
Since the tournament’s inception in 1987, Canada has never missed a Rugby World Cup. Canada achieved its best result in 1991 when they reached the quarterfinals before being eliminated by New Zealand. USA, who has played in seven of the previous eight tournaments, has never advanced out of the pool stages.
Coach Anscombe’s Post-match comments:
“The game today happened in stages: we started off poorly and they scored a try off the opening kick off, we contested a lineout and bobbled the ball for them to score a try, we missed a tackle and they scored another try. That’s how they got 19 points off the start.
“Same as last week we clawed our way back to 19-16 at the 50-minute mark but then there were a few reversed penalties at crucial moments and their big men came off the bench and we couldn’t contain them. Too big, too strong, too powerful and we couldn’t contain them in the final 20.
“We did have that (Scrum) advantage but it didn’t lead to anything. We had 19 set pieces today and only used them three times so unless we start playing a little bit smarter you won’t win games on the back of a strong scrum. We’ve got to look at our overall game: our decision-making, our accuracy and how we perform under pressure. We didn’t handle those things very well today.
“One of the major differences you saw out there today was the size of the big men they have coming onto the field; we don’t have those types of players. In today’s game you have to have big men that can carry the ball and get you go-forward and we’re not producing them in Canada. You look at international rugby around the world and the size of the men that are playing the game. Big men that are powerful and can get over the advantage line; they had a good bench and they used them well.
“We need to get go-forward ball with players who can get you over the advantage line. We ended the game with 34% possession. With only 34% possession it’s hard to get good go-forward ball and create chances because you’re playing with scraps.”
The hosts took control from the opening kick off after the Canadians bobbled the ball in the air, giving USA early possession for the opening minutes.
AJ MacGinty’s boot kept Canada at bay and, after Tyler Ardron was penalized for a high tackle on USA winger Mike Te’o, the USA got on the board through a try from number 8 Cam Dolan. MacGinty’s conversions was unsuccessful, score 5-0 at the 10-minute mark.
Dolan continued to show his class as he touched down for his second try at the 15-minute mark, after a turnover of possession by the Canadians. MacGinty added the extra two for the hosts to take a 12-0 lead only 15 minutes gone.
Canada got on the board off the boot of Gordon McRorie after the Americans were dinged for offside at the breakdown, however, on the ensuing phase Dolan broke the line once again to set up a score for Nate Brakeley. With MacGinty’s conversion the score advanced to 19-3 for USA.
Nearing the end of the first half Canada’s forwards began to dominate around the set pieces and breakdown, giving McRorie a chance to add six more points off the boot to take a 19-9 margin into the break. Furthermore, USA hooker James Hiltebrand was handed a yellow card on the final play of the first half, giving Canada a one-player advantage for the first 10 minutes of the second frame.
Despite a huge crunching tackle on fullback Ciaran Hearn from one of the American forwards, Canada dominated the early minutes of the second half and scored their first try. Powerful winger Dan Moor sliced through the American backline and eventually offloaded to Admir Cejvanovic who scored in the corner. McRorie added a difficult extra two points from the touch line to bring the score to it’s closest margin of the day at 19-16.
However, the rest of the match belonged to the USA as they would go on to score 33 unanswered points.
Replacement hooker Joe Taufete’e bagged a brace of tries off two rolling mauls and Dino Waldren, Nate Augspurger and David Tameilau each touched down for scores. MacGinty, who would end the afternoon with 10 points, added three conversions in the second half, along with one from Will Magie.
Canada number 8 Tyler Ardron was pinged for a yellow card late in the match.
As the final whistle sounded the Americans staked their claim as the top rugby nation in North America, having beaten Canada in six of their last seven meetings.
Canada Team to Face USA (Name, club, hometown):
- Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
- Jake Ilnicki – (Northampton/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
- Brett Beukeboom, co-captain – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
- Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
- Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
- Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
- Tyler Ardron – (Chiefs/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
- Gordon McRorie – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
- Shane O’Leary – (Unattached) Cork, Ireland
- Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
- Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
- Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15 Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
- Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
- Anthony Luca – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
- Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Kyle Baillie – (London Scottish/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
- Aaron Carpenter – (Doncaster Knights/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
- Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON
- Guiseppe Du Toit - (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC
- Sean Duke - (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable due to injury:
Taylor Paris – (Castres/Ontario Blues) Barrie, ON
DTH van der Merwe, co-captain – (Newcastle Falcons) Victoria, BC
Canada Coaching Staff:
Mark Anscombe – Head Coach
Graeme Moffat – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Kelly Brown – Assistant Coach
Mark Winokur – Manager
Alana Gattinger - Logistics Manager
Mallory White – Athletic Therapist
Alistair Wilson – Athletic Therapist
Dr. Peet Du Toit – Team Doctor
Aaron Takel – Performance Analyst
Calum Ramsay - Performance Analyst
Michael Deasy – Strength & Conditioning Coach
Canada’s June Series Schedule:
Canada 0-13 Georgia —Calgary Rugby Park
Canada 9-22 Romania — Ellerslie Rugby Park
Canada 28-28 USA — June 24 — Tim Horton’s Field
Canada 16-52 USA — July 1 — Torero Stadium
Men's Eagles | v. Canada
1. Tony Purpura
2. James Hilterbrand
3. Chris Baumann
4. Nate Brakeley
5. Nick Civetta
6. Todd Clever (C)
7. Tony Lamborn
8. Cam Dolan
9. Nate Augspurger
10. AJ MacGinty
11. Ryan Matyas
12. Marcel Brache
13. Bryce Campbell
14. Mike Te'o
15. Madison Hughes
Try: Admir Cejvanovic
Conversion: Gordon McRorie
Penalties: Gordon McRorie (x3)
Tries: Dolan (2), Brakeley, Taufete'e (2), Waldren, Augspurger, Tameilau
Conversions: MacGinty (5), Magie