Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Churchill Cup 2009 - Canada vs Georgia

DTH van der Merwe scoring for Glasgow

The 2009 Churchill Cup saw history being made as Canada and Georgia faced each other for the first time ever. The tournament was hosted by the USA at the then new home of the USA Eagles, Infinity Park in Glendale, Colorado. The locals responded well with a crowd of over 3,000 attending the match. Neither side was at full strength but Canada was the better prepared side having faced Ireland and Wales over the previous two weekends. The North Americans were significantly better than in their previous international, vs Scotland in November 2008.Georgia´s team was very much a second string lineup as the teams players from the French Top 14 had been rested after completing a long season. Canada´s Jamie Cudmore also missed the match and was playing for Clermont in the Top 14 Final on the same day. His team were defeated 22-13 by Perpignan. Georgia´s Davit Zirakashvili joined Cudmore as a secondhalf replacement after coming on for Martín Scelzo.

Canada´s big 42-10 victory came off the back of a number of strong performances with the 10-12 combination of man of the match Ander Monro and DTH van der Merwe laying the platform for the North Americans. Monro was able to lay claim to Canada´s 10 shirt and would indeed go on to be the teams flyhalf at Rugby World Cup 2011. He made numerous linebreaks and put others through gaps with some neat passing. One way or another he contributed to four of Canada´s five tries. Replacement fullback, Matt Evans had a great match as he came off the bench to score two late tries. The superiority of Canada´s backs would not have been so prominant without the scrumhalf distribution of Ed Fairhurst. The Canadian cult hero gave Monro quality ball throughout the match and also organized the forwards superbly.

Canada´s first try was scored by backrower, Aaron Carpenter who collected a dropped up-and-under from the opposition and ran clear for surely the easiest try in his test career. With James Pritchard converting to make up for his early missed penalty, Canada went ahead 7-0 after eleven minutes. Merab Kvirikashvili made it 7-3 with a penalty after seventeen minutes but the Europeans would not be able to further decrease the lead in the match. Canada responded almost straight from the restart with what was probably the country´s best try of the decade. Pritchard ran the ball back from a Georgian clearing kick and after a few passes Monro broke the line and was able to give Fairhurst an offload in the tackle. Winger Sean Duke then fed it to van der Merwe who passed over his head to Nanyak Dala who touched down. Pritchard´s conversion reounded off the posts which made the scores 12-3 in the twentieth minute. Eight minutes latter DTH van der Merwe went over for Canada´s third try as he linked with Dala to get past some tried tackles down the blindside. This time Pritchard was on target as he landed a sideline conversion to put Canada ahead 19-3. Georgia found its feet in the final ten minutes of the half, however, with David Dadunashvili scoring a try almost straight after he entered the field. With Kvirikashvili´s conversion the scores were 19-10 and they stayed this way until halftime.

James Pritchard scored the first points after the interval with a penalty goal in the fourty-third minute to make it 22-10. He added three more points nine minutes later after Canada were awarded a penalty following a fight. Georgia were then down to fourteen men as Dadunashvili was yellowcarded for foul play against Canadian backrower, Adam Kleeberger. The Lelos were able to withstand the pressure and not conceede points. With the introduction of Matt Evans in the sixty-sixth minute, the game changed as he was able to zig-zag his way through the defence and indeed go over for his first test try. With Pritchard´s conversion and a subsequent penalty, th North Americans had wrapped up the game as they held a twenty-five point lead. Evans, however was out to impress and he succeeded as he went over for his second try in the seventy-fifth minute. Pritchard made it 42-10 with the conversion.

Canada would face the Argentina Jaguares (Argentina A) latter on in the tournament. For further information click here.

1 Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
2 Pat Riordan Captain (University of Victoria)
3 Andrew Tiedemann (University of Victoria)
4 Tyler Hotson (UBC Old Boy Ravens)
5 Mike Burak (Unattached)
6 Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers)
7 Adam Kleeberger (University of Victoria)
8 Aaron Carpenter (Coventry, England)
9 Ed Fairhurst (Cornish Pirates, England)
10 Ander Monro (Colorno, Italy)
11 Sean Duke (University of Victoria)
12 DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
13 Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers)
14 Dean Van Camp (Velox Valhallians)
15 James Pritchard (Bedford Blues, England)

Reserves: 16 Mike Pletch (Velox Valhallians), 17 Doug Wooldridge (Cowichan RFC), 18 Stuart Ault (Rotherham Titans, England), 19 John Moonlight (University of Victoria), 20 Matt Evans (Hartpury College)
21 Bryn Keys (Moseley RFC), 22 Phil Mack (James Bay AA)

1 Zero Petriashvili (Lokomotivi)
2 Iuri Natriashvili (Constanca Farulcroman, Romania)
3 Giorgi Jgenti (Oyonnax, France)
4 Levan Datunashvili (Stade Aurillac, France)
5 Rati Urushadze (Enisei-STM, France)
6 Grigol Labadze Captain (Toulon, France)
7 Irakli Gundishvili (Unattached)
8 Dimitri Basilaia (Morlaàs)
9 Giorgi Rokhvadze (AIA)
10 Lasha Malaguradze (Beziers, France)
11 Lekso Machkhaneli (Agen, France)
12 Revaz Gigauri (Massy, France)
13. Davit Kacharava (Enisei-STM, France)
14 Aleksander Todua (Lelo)
15 Merab Kvirikashvili (Massy, France)

Reserves: 16 David Dadunashvili, 17 Vasil Kakovin, 18 Kakhaver Uchava,  19 Zviad Maisuradze, 20. George Elizbarashvili, 21 Lekso Gugava, 22. Teimuraz Sokhadze


  1. Churchill Cup has had some seriously understrength side in it in the past

    I hope the mid year internationals, Georgia and Canada have this year both sides will be full stength otherwise they might as well not bother to be honest

    I don't want to see another England Saxons v USA thrashing, even a weak Tonga side thrashed that USA Churchill Cup side

  2. The Churchill Cup is no more. Canada and the USA are to host Italy and Georgia this June instead.