Canada has shown the level of rugby in the Americas as the North American country defeated Tonga 25-20 today in Whangarei. The match was Canada´s first of Rugby World Cup 2011. Getting a win over Tonga shows that the tournament organizers have got the draw wrong as Tonga played New Zealand in the opening match of the tournament. Canada´s win is therefore a reminder of what the region offers the global game and why Rugby World Cup 2023 needs to be hosted in Argentina. The match was one of the closest so far in the tournament and went down to the wire. Canada scored three tries with secondrower Jebb Sinclair, backrower Aaron Carpenter and winger Phil Mackenzie all scoring.
Canada started well will Sinclair´s try coming in the 15th minute to open the scoring. Sinclair finished off good work from backrower Chauncey, O'Toole, flyhalf Ander Monro and the centres as DTH van der Merwe broke through to feed Ryan Smith who sucked in two defenders before offloading to Jebb Sinclair. Fullback, James Pitchard converted from wide-out to put Canada 7-0 ahead. Tonga seemingly were becoming impatient as they tried their best to come back, only to make mistakes and give away penalties. Canada went ahead 10-0 in the 26th minute thanks to a Pritchard penalty. Tonga had their chances to score in the first half. Fullback, Kurt Morath was off-target with two penalty attempts but Tonga were able to score a try late in the half to Siale Piutau to make it 10-7 to Canada at the interval.
After the interval, the Pacific Islanders leveled the scores at 10-10 with a penalty to Morath. Canada were soon on top again, however, as Pritchard kicked his second penalty to put Canada ahead 13-10. Tonga scored next with Piutau scoring his second try as Tonga were taking control of the match and with a Morath penalty in the 64th minute Tonga held a 20-13 lead. Canada, however, proved to be well organized and remained calm. Backrower, Aaron Carpenter went over to score in the 65th minute after replacement Conor Trainor had broken the defensive line. The try made it 20-18 to Tonga. Canada, now on top, scored again in the 73rd minute with a try to Phil MacKenzie which Pritchard converted as Canada completed a five point win.
Canada´s win was very much a complete team effort with great performances across the park. backrower Adam Kleeberger was officially the man of the match and he was well complemented by his forwards with the likes of Jamie Cudmore, Jebb Sinclair and Aaron Carpenter all contributing greatly to the North Americans. Cudmore alone made over 20 tackles. The backs were well organized with Ander Monro playing particularly well. Canada now only have four days before facing Pool A leaders, France, in Napier. France have changed eleven players from the side that completed a bonus point win over Japan last Saturday. Japan face hosts, New Zealand, in Hamilton on Friday. Tonga stay in Whangarei to play Japan next week.
Pool A Standings
New Zealand 5
In the day´s two other matches Scotland defeated Georgia 15-6 in a tryless match while Samoa defeated Namibia 49-12. Scotland play Argentina next, on September 25 and will need to play better having performed below par vs both Romania and Georgia. Georgia take on England on Sunday while Samoa have a crunch match vs Wales also on Sunday. Namibia´s next match is on September 26 vs Wales.
Canada vs Tonga