Canada’s senior men’s team fell 13-0 to Georgia Saturday afternoon in rainy conditions at Calgary Rugby Park.
Merab Kvirkashvili scored all 13 points for Georgia including scoring the game’s only try in the 77th minute.
“We had a young team out there but we left a few players out deliberately but I thought the guys handled themselves really well,” Canada’s head coach Mark Anscombe said. “Against a quality team like Georgia, to get as close as we did with a young team is very encouraging.
“I’m really proud of the way the boys played today.”
Canada’s Aaron Carpenter also tied Al Charron’s test record of 76 caps as he came on as a second-half replacement.
“I’m trying not to think about it and make a big deal out of it,” Carpenter said. “It’s a big thing for me personally though and that’s why I wanted to come back and see it through. For all of the people who have supported me throughout the years, I’m doing it for them, myself, my family. They’ve given me the opportunity to come here and be away from them and I’m happy it’s tied and hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I can get one more and surpass it.”
Canada also got test debuts from starters Shane O’Leary, who was named the Guinness Made of More Man of the Match, and Andrew Coe, while Anthony Luca came on as a second-half replacement.
Georgia took an early 3-0 lead in the just the third minute as Kvirkashvili kicked an early penalty, a score that would hold until halftime. Canada had opportunities in the half — Coe knocking on from only a few meters out and Conor Trainor nearly scoring off of a chip-and-chase.
Kvirkashvili extended Georgia’s lead to 6-0 in the 46th minute with another penalty but missed two more opportunities before the hour mark to add to the lead.
Kvirkashvili would seal the deal in the 77th minute as he dived onto a loose ball after Phil Mack couldn’t collect a high ball before converting to secure a 13-0 win.
“We’ve got some big games coming up,” Anscombe said. “We left some people out to manage the workload of the squad for the first couple of weeks.
“I think the guys that went out today did themselves and the jersey proud.”
Canada is back in action June 17 against Romania in Edmonton before they head to Hamilton to face the USA on June 24 in the first leg of their 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier. The second leg is July 1 in San Diego. Tickets are available by clicking here.
Canada Team to Face Georgia (Name, club, hometown):
1. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
2. Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
3. Jake Ilnicki – (Northampton/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
4. Brett Beukeboom, captain – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
5. Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
6. Kyle Baillie – (London Scottish/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
7. Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
8. Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
9. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10. Shane O’Leary – (Unattached) Cork, Ireland
11. Sean Duke – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
12. Guiseppe Du Toit – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC
13. Conor Trainor – (USON Nevers/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15. Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
16. Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
17. Anthony Luca – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
18. Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
19. Liam Chisholm – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Kenora, ON
20. Aaron Carpenter – (Doncaster Knights/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
21. Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON
22. Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Red Deer, AB
23. Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
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
Canada’s June Series Schedule:
Canada 0-13 Georgia —Calgary Rugby Park
Canada vs. Romania — June 17 — Ellerslie Rugby Park — 5pm ET/2pm PT
Canada vs. USA — June 24 — Tim Horton’s Field — 3pm ET/12pm PT
Canada vs. USA — July 1 — San Diego — 6pm ET/3pm PT
Tries: Merab Kvirkashvili
Conversions: Merab Kvirkashvili
Penalties: Merab Kvirkashvili (2)