Friday, November 26, 2010

Portugal vs Canada - preview



A true test match will take place in Lisbon on saturday as Portugal host Canada in what is to be only the third ever test between the two countries. The match is to kickoff at 3pm local time and is a great opportunity for both teams with Canada building for New Zealand 2011 and Portugal looking to return to the top of the ENC ladder in Europe after debuting at Rugby World Cup 2007 and proving to be a crowd favorite as they played well against Italy and Romania. Officially it will be Portugal ranked 21st vs Canada ranked 14th in the world.  Should Canada fail to will they cuold drop as low as 18th while Portugal would move into the worlds top 20.  

History

Canada won the two previous matches between the two countries. In the lead up to France 2007, Canada defeated Portugal 42-12 and then returned in November 2008 and secured a 21-13 win. The two matches suggest Canada are the better side and indeed they should be considered superior but Portugal are certainly not a weak side. Canada were defeated by Georgia last weekend but interestingly Portugal drew 20-20 with Georgia in Tblissi in February 2009. That is the only occassion that Georgia have not won at home in over five years. Portugal also defeated Romania 22-21 in Bucharest in 2009 and this year has recorded matches over Germany, Spain and most recently Namibia.

Form
Despite failing to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2011 Portugal have proven they continue to be a strong team with a strong performance in losing 22-17 to the USA Eagles two weeks ago before defeating the second highest ranked country from Africa, Namibia 24-12 last weekend. Canada are coming off a loss to Georgia and two comfortable wins vs Belgium and Spain. In other matches this year the North Americans have played very well claiming victories over Uruguay and France A. Canada have been scoring tries throughout the tour while Portugal have tended to score a lot of points via penalties. That said, Portugal did score a well worked pushover try vs the USA and played positive rugby to score tries without conceeding any vs Namibia.

Key Matchup

Vasco Uva vs Adam Kleeberger in the backrow will put two great players head to head in what is to, in general, be a great contest between two strong backrows.

Prediction

Canada have not selected its strongest XV. The Glasgow duo of DTH van der Merwe and Kevin Tkachuk, for instance, have been released to play in the Magners League - quite surprizing given the test vs Portugal falls during the IRB test window. The changed side sees more homegrown players in the team in what will be a chance for the Canadians to prepare players for Rugby World Cup 2011 in which Canada will face Tonga and France four days apart and will naturally be forced to rotate players. Portugal have retained a similar side to that which faced the USA and Namibia and will be very competitive. Canada, though, should have the edge. Canada to win by 6 points.

Portugal

1 FERNANDO FERNANDES
2 JOÃO CORREIA (c)
3 CRISTIAN SPACHUK
4 RUI D'OREY
5 GONÇALO UVA
6 VASCO UVA
7 JULIEN BARDY
8 TIAGO GIRÃO
9 JOSÉ PINTO
10 JOE GARDENER
11 ANTÓNIO AGUILAR
12 PEDRO SILVA
13 FREDERICO OLIVEIRA
14 GONÇALO FORO
15 PEDRO LEAL

RESERVES: 16  BERNARDO DUARTE, 17 JOÃO JUNIOR, 18 EDUARDO ACOSTA, 19 LAURENT BALANGUÉ, 20 PEDRO CABRAL, 21 FRANCISCO MIRA, 22 BERNARDO SILVEIRA

Canada

15 James Pritchard (Bedford Blues, England)
14 Ciaran Hearn (The Rock)
13 Phillip Mackenzie (Esher RFC, England)
12 Nick Blevins (Prairie Wolf Pack)
11 Justin Mensah-Coker (Unattached)
10 Ander Monro (Ontario Blues)
9 Sean White (BC Bears)
8 Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion, England)
7 Adam Kleeberger (Auckland, New Zealand)
6 Sean Michael Stephen (Plymouth Albion, England)
5 Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion, England)
4 Jebb Sinclair (The Rock)
3 Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack)
2 Pat Riordan (BC Bears - Captain)
1 Tom Dolezel (Prairie Wolf Pack)

Reserves: 16 Jason Marshall (BC Bears), 17 Dan Pletch (Ontario Blues), 18 Jon Phelan (The Rock), 19 Chauncey O’Toole (The Rock), 20 Connor Braid (BC Bears), 21 Jamie Mackenzie (Ontario Blues) 22 Taylor Paris (Ontario Blues)


1 comment:

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