Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rugby World Cup 2011 - Canada vs Tonga Preview


Canada are one of the last teams to play its first match of Rugby World Cup 2011. The North American side had the first weekend off due to the nature of the tournament which has five teams in every pool. Canada´s opposition, Tonga, played in the tournaments first match, vs New Zealand at Auckland´s Eden Park last Friday. Tonga were expected to be well beaten and they did lose by 31 points and conceeded six tries while only scoring one of their own. A combination of New Zealand playing below par and Tonga above par have been commonly used to explain the result of the match. Tonga, like Canada, do not have a large list of players involved at the elite level of professional rugby. Both countries have professional players playing for big teams but the majority play in lower divisions or as still amateur players.

The teams are of a similar ability despite Canada being the better side in previous battles. There have been five matches between Canada and Tonga with Canada winning three and Tonga two. Of the matches, two occured at Rugby World Cup´s with Canada winning 37-4 in 1987 and 24-7 in 2003. The most recent match was the 2003 match. Since that time Canada have more or less remained at the same level as the Canucks are regularly win their matches agaisnt Tier 2 and Tier 3 opposition but are unable to defeat Tier one sides. Tonga in 2003 were an inferior side to that of 2011 as the team is conceeding fewer tries and is winning more matches.

Prediction

The match is being talked about as been a must-see and with good reason given the standings of both in the IRB World Rankings ans the history of the sides. Tonga are considered favorites by most but Canada have a better all-round XV with more quality across the park. Tonga´s pack will be impressive and the backs are big players but strength seems to be not only Tonga´s greatest asset but its only one. The Canadian backrow should be faster and better organized while the secondrow features two former backrowers, both play for big name European clubs. Canada should win more ball and they have the backs to use it. Canada to win by 8 points.

Canada

1 Hubert Buydens
2 Pat Riordan (Captain)
3 Jason Marshall
4 Jebb Sinclair
5 Jamie Cudmore
6 Adam Kleeberger
7 Chauncey O'Toole
8 Aaron Carpenter
9 Ed Fairhurst
10 Ander Monro
11 Phil Mackenzie
12 Ryan Smith
13 DTH Van Der Merwe
14 Ciaran Hearn
15 James Pritchard

Reserves

16 Ryan Hamilton
17 Scott Franklin
18 Tyler Hotson
19 Nanyak Dala
20 Conor Trainor
21 Sean White
22 Matt Evans
Tonga

1 Alisona Taumalolo
2 Ephraim Taukafa
3 Kisi Pulu
4 Sione Timani
5 Tukulua Lokotui
6 Finau Maka (Captain)
7 Sione Vaiomounga
8 Samiu Vahafolau
9 Thomas Palu
10 Taniela Moa
11 William Helu
12 Alipate Fatafehi
13 Siale Piutau
14 Fetu'u Vainikolo
15 Kurt Morath

Reserves

16 Aloisio Ma'asi
17 Soane Tonga'uiha
18 Halani Aulika
19 Viliami Ma'afu
20 Sione Kalamafoni
21 Viliame Iongi
22 Alaska Taufa

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