Thursday, June 6, 2013

Canada beat Fiji to earn favorites tag in Pacific Nations Cup

Canada 20-18 Fiji in Ottawa
In seeking for a better international setup Canada and the United States of America entered the Pacific Nations Cup this year. Joining Fiji, Japan and Tonga the participation of the North Americans is a win-win situation for all nations. The level of the five test nations is very similar with all being official Tier Two nations and them being the best hope for genuine upsets at IRB Rugby World Cup´s. The other nation who could be categorized as such is Samoa who is not playing in the 2013 edition of the tournament. Instead Samoa is playing in South Africa and will face Scotland this coming Saturday. A loss will see Samoa drop in the rankings while there is a strong possibility that it will fall outside of the top ten. 

Scoring three tries to two Canada´s 20-18 victory makes it two from two after Canada´s first round victory over the USA. Fiji, in contrast, have one win and one loss after having completed a home win over Japan this past weekend. Japan´s loss places the Rugby World Cup 2019 host nation in last place after it also lost against Tonga in round one. Japan will, nonetheless, have home advantage against both Canada and the USA and should be expected to win both matches. In order to do so Japan will need to control play much better after both Fiji and Tonga were able to build sizeable leads and run out winners over the Asians. 

Canada[s home win over Fiji means the North Americans have gained further rankings points while Fiji have lost some. But the official IRB Rankings will not be updated until Monday, by which time Canada will have played another match.  Canada  certainly have it tough with a game against Tonga this coming Saturday in Kingston, Ontario. The three day turn around is less than what is toleration by the IRB in Rugby World Cup tournaments. Canada, nonetheless, selected its team to face Fiji with this in mind as key players including Hubert Buydens and Jebb Sinclair were on the bench while The USA will also play on Saturday, against Ireland in a match that is not part of the tournament. 

Canada 
1 Andrew Tiedemann
2 Ryan Hamilton
3 Jason Marshall
4 Jon Phelan
5 Tyler Hotson
6 Tyler Ardron

7 Nanyak Dala
8 Aaron Carpenter
9 Phil Mack
10 Liam Underwood
11 Taylor Paris
12 Harry Jones
13 Ciaran Hearn
14 Matt Evans
15 Connor Braid

Bench: 16 Ray Barkwillm, 17 Hubert Buydens, 18 Tom Dolezel, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 John Moonlight, 21 Sean White, 22 Nathan Hirayama, 23 Nick Blevins

Fiji 
1 Jerry Yanuyanutawa
2 Tuapati Talemaitoga
3 Setefano Somoca
4 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
5 Wame Lewaravu
6 Apisai Naikatini
7 Malakai Ravulo
8 Akapusi Qera
9 Nemia Kenatale
10 Setareki Koroilagilagi
11 Aisea Natoga
12 Leone Tabuarua
13 Nemani Nadolo
14 Adriu Delai
15 Simeli Koniferedi

Bench: 16 Viliame Veikoso, 17 Manasa Saulo, 18 Campese Ma’afu, 19 Iliesa Ratuva, 20 Sam Matavesi, 21 Aporosa Kenatale, 22 Jiuta Lutumailagi, 23 Iliesa Salusalu


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