Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wales vs Canada 1993

The recently crowned Grand Slam Champions of Europe, Wales were one team that was defeated at the hands of Canada in the 1990´s. Canadian rugby was on a high in the latter stages of the days of amateurism and backed up its appearance at the Quarter Finals stage of Rugby World Cup 1991 with some impressive results in the following years. In Rugby World Cup 1991 Canada had impressed in defeating Fiji and Romania and gave France a good match before losing. It was, nevertheless, enough to advance and Canada faced New Zealand in the Quarter Finals, giving the All Blacks a good run for their money. Rugby purists the world over are well aware of Canada´s appearance at the Quarter Finals stage and it is used as a marker to show that Canada is a proud rugby country that has achieved on the greatest stage of them all. 

Al Charron, RWC 2003 Captain
Canada´s biggest accomplishments, possibly of all time, were not in 1991, however. Rather, the year 1993 is one which to this day has been Canada´s finest hour. Canada hosted England while the Lions were touring New Zealand and as such, the RFU requested that the match not be termed an international and had England play under the name of England XV. It was, in effect, a strategy utilized to make it a win-win situation for England. Should England lose they could blame it on the Lions and claim it was just a training match. A win, in contrast, would be a way of saying England´s depth is strong and formidable. The cover that this provided worked out in England´s favor as Canada´s 15-12 win at Burnaby Lake has gone down in history as being a non-international. Latter that year, Canada were not denied a famous win on a techinicality, however as Wales defeated Wales 26-24 in Cardiff thanks to a late try to Al Charron to claim what, to this day, remains Canada´s greatest triumph. The match took place at the venue that has since been upgraded and renamed as the Millenium Stadium. Not only did Canada win in Wales but the home side was unable to score a try with Neil Jenkins´ boot being responsible for all of the Welsh points. 

Gareth Rees, RWC 1995 / 1999 Captain
The following year, Canada continued to impress with the North Americans completing an 18-16 home victory in Nepean over France with IRB Hall of Famer, Gareth Rees kicking the Canadians to victory. During this period, Canada was also significantly better than its North American counterpart, the USA with Canada regularly winning the matches and doing so by comfortable margins. Canada was also too strong for Japan and completed a good 22-10 win over Fiji in Nadi in 1995. Being drawn with both Australia and South Africa at Rugby World Cup 1995 meant Canada´s chances of advancing to the Quarter Finals were extremely difficult and this proved to be the reality despite Canada giving both teams strong matches. From there things became tougher and tougher for Canada as the advent of professional rugby lifted the level of all teams who exposed their players to professionalism. Canada missed the boat and it has proven to have held back the development of the country´s national team. Fiji, with players involved in Super Rugby and elsewhere completed a 38-22 win over Canada during Rugby World Cup 1999. Canada then went on to  crush Namibia 72-11. Had Canada won vs Fiji it would have advanced in the tournament. 

1 comment:

  1. Canada is flying the flag for the non professional sides. That's why they always have a following from fans in HK