Saturday, June 8, 2013

Canada close in on Pacific Nations Cup title after win over Tonga

James Pritchard kicked 18 points for Canada
It has been a busy week for Canadian rugby. The nature of the Pacific Nations Cup has seen the North Americans play against both Fiji and Tonga while off the field two players have signed professional contracts to play their rugby for the Ospreys in Wales next season. Backrower Tyler Ardron and winger Jeff Hassler both agreed to terms to join the Welsh region. Both players are a part of the Canadian squad playing in the Pacific Nations Cup but neither started against Tonga. 

Canada´s 36-27 win over Tonga on Saturday afternoon was not easy. The conditions were far from ideal but this did not stop both sides scoring some well worked tries. The boot of veteran fullback James Pritchard  was crucial though as Canada´s nine point win came despite the Pacific Islanders outscoring the North Americans by four tries to three. 

Canada will take a break from the Pacific Nations Cup next weekend to take on Ireland in Toronto. The match was scheduled before Canada and the USA were added to the IRB run Pacific Nations Cup.Rugby Canada has been heavily pushing the fixture and is expecting a record crowd at BMO Stadium for the match next weekend. Canada´s final opponent, Japan, is also taking a break from the Pacific Nations Cup as it hostes Wales in a two match test series. The first match played earlier on the day in Saturday saw the Europeans win what was a very evenly fought contest. 

With Canada having defeated Tonga at Rugby World Cup 2015 the result underlines the North American´s superiority and Tonga is set to take a hit in the IRB World Rankings. The result also suggests that Canada could be better off by losing next months North American finals section of qualification for Rugby World Cup 2015. The reward for the winner is a place in Pool D which includes France, Ireland, Italy ad likely Romania as Europe 2. The runner-up, on the other hand, will have the chance of qualifying for Pool B which has a much easier set of matches. Pool B consists of Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and Asia 1 wchih will certainly be Japan. 

Canada: 15. James Pritchard; 14. Matt Evans, 13. Ciaran Hearn, 12. Nick Blevins, 11. Sean Duke; 10. Nathan Hirayama, 9. Sean White; 1. Hubert Buydens, 2. Ray Barkwill, 3. Jason Marshall, 4. Brett Beukeboom, 5. Tyler Hotson, 6. Jebb Sinclair, 7. John Moonlight,8.  Aaron Carpenter (captain).

Replacements: 16. Ryan Hamilton, 17. Doug Wooldridge, 18. Tom Dolezel, 19. Nanyak Dala, 20. Tyler Ardron, 21. Phil Mack, 22. Liam Underwood, 23. Pat Parfrey.

Tonga: 15. Viliami Hakolo; 14. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 13. Siale Piutau, 12. Sione Piukala, 11. Will Helu; 10. Kurt Morath, 9. Taniela Moa; 1. Edmund ‘Aholeei, ‘Ilaisa Ma’asi, 3. Taione Vea, 4. ‘Emosi Kauhenga, 5. Tukulua Lokotui, 6. Hale T Pole, 7. Nili Latu (captain), 8. Viliami Fihaki.

Replacements: 16. Elvis Taione, 17. Kamaliele Sakala, 18. Sila Puafisi, 19. Josh Afu, 20. Paula Kaho, 21. Thomas Palu, 22. Viliame ‘Iongi, 23. David Halaifonua


  1. "With Canada having defeated Tonga at Rugby World Cup 2015 the result underlines the North American´s superiority"

    I wouldn't read too much into this. Tonga had a red card (whilst they were leading), and two further yellow cards. Add to that Canada wasn't quite at full strength.

    I'm not sure we can read too much into who's better than who based on the PNC given that the congested nature of the games and travel demands are effecting it.

    Notably, Canada will play Japan on the Wednesday both after facing Ireland and Wales. That match will be a complete lottery depending on who's more tired, and who rests more players and add to that the travel will be tough for Canada as well.

    1. Be sure to read the following piece on the match and Tonga. There could be serious suspensions for Tonga. Being banned from the World Cup could even be threatened: