Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada
Canada’s Men’s Rugby team dropped the opening match of their November Tour 52-21 to Ireland in front of 52,000 fans at a sold out Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
It was always going to be a challenge for Canada, ranked 18th in the world, facing an Irish team playing in front of a boisterous home crowd. Ranked 5th in the world, Ireland were coming off an historic first-ever victory over world No. 1 New Zealand last weekend in Chicago.
The hosts opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a converted try to take an early 7-0 lead. The teams then traded possession for the next 10 minutes, with Canada creating opportunities through phase play but unable to further the threat with turnovers.
Ireland then forced the Canadians to play on their back foot for the better part of two minutes just outside their own tryline, eventually breaking through Canada’s defensive line for another converted try to go up 14-0.
However, Canada did well to stop any momentum the Irish had carried over from last weekend’s win over the All Blacks, answering back with a try from DTH van der Merwe to cut the lead to 14-7.
It was van der Merwe’s 21st career try for Canada, leaving him three shy of tying Winston Stanley for most all-time.
With Canada now playing with a bit more belief, it wasn’t long before Taylor Paris touched down with a try of his own in the 30th minute. Gordy McRorie added his second conversion of the half and all of a sudden the match was tied 14-14.
While the home crowd was stunned, there was no letdown from Ireland who grabbed a late first half try, as Canada entered the break trailing by seven points.
Entering the second half their was belief in the Canadian side that they were up to the task of pulling off the upset but a penalty try awarded to Ireland just six minutes into the half dampened the spirits slightly.
Matt Evans would hit back for Canada with a powerful effort for a try in the corner and McRorie’s difficult conversion made it a 28-21 lead for Ireland.
Just when it looked like the Canadians were up to the task, it was Ireland showing their class by scoring four tries in the final 20 minutes to give a home side a comfortable victory. Canada is now winless in seven matches all-time against Ireland.
Admir Cejvanovic received his first cap for Canada after entering as a second half substitute. Canadian rugby fans across the country were able to watch Saturday’s game live on CBC Sports as well as online and through the CBC Sports app.
What head coach Mark Anscombe said:
“We could have easily come into the break, which would have been nice, even, but a lack of concentration there a minute or so before half time and they got in another one. Just one missed tackle, we should have had it. Little things like that hurt us all day.”
“They blew out a couple tries in the end just to blow the score out which is a bit disappointing. Overall I thought there’s a lot of good aspects and the boys could be proud of what they did today.”
“I thought our set-piece was pretty good, we got quality ball. Our tackling at times was really good even though we missed crucial tackles at key times.”
Canada’s Roster to face Ireland (Name, club, hometown):
- Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
- Jake Ilnicki – (Manawatu Turbos/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
- Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
- Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
- Kyle Baillie – (Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
- Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
- Aaron Carpenter – Captain(Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
- Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
- Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
- Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish) Conception Bay, NL
- Conor Trainor – (RC Vannes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- DTH van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC
- Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
- Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
- Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
- Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
- Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
- Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Patrick Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
- Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Unavailable for selection:
Tyler Ardron – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Jamie Cudmore – (Oyonnax) Squamish, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Kyle Gilmour – (St. Albert RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, AB
Jamie Mackenzie – (UBCOB Ravens/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Phil Mackenzie – (Unattached/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Cam Pierce – (Section Paloise/Kelowna Crows) Vernon, BC
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
Andrew Tiedemann – (Bourgoin/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jordan Wilson-Ross – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Alliston, ON
Men’s Coaching Staff:
Mark Anscombe – Head Coach
Graeme Moffat – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Scrum Coach
Aaron Takel – Performance Analyst
Michael Deasy – Strength and Conditioning
Mallory White – Physiotherapist
Jessica Smith – Physiotherapist
Dr. Peet Du Toit – Doctor
Mark Winokur – Tour Manager
Alana Gattinger – Operations & Logistics Manager
Canada’s November Tour Schedule:
Canada vs. Ireland — Nov. 12 — Aviva Stadium, Dublin — 2:15pm ET/11:15am PT
Canada vs. Romania — Nov. 19 — Stadionul Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest — 1pm ET/10am PT
Canada vs. Samoa — Nov. 25 —Stade des Alpes, Grenoble — 3pm ET/12pm PT
About Rugby Canada
Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the eight Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven Women’s Rugby World Cups. As a regular on the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game. Canada’s Women’s Rugby Sevens Team also made history in 2016, capturing the first-ever Bronze Medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.