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Canadian Rugby - Congratulations!


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maybe this thread doesnt belong here, but i thought it would be appropriate to offer a huge congratulations to our bretheren on the rugby side of football, who thumped the americans 56-7 in newfoundland (shades of 1984) and have qualified for the 2007 world cup in france.

maybe playing on the rock should become a tradition for our footballers.

i have always wished the the soccer and rugby programmes in this country could get together and face some of their common challenges united...the new 'national stadium' in toronto is a prime example...it will be plastic grass, precluding it from ever being used as a venue for rugby.


August 12, 2006

Ian Kennedy

Canada after the victory over the USA in Newfoundland

St. John's Newfoundland

Canada earned a berth in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France with an all-encompassing, 56-7, win over the USA Eagles in St. John’s Newfoundland on Saturday in front of 5000 passionate fans.

Canada took command of the game from the opening kick-off and never let the foot off the pedal until it had recorded its biggest win ever over the Eagles in this, the 41st meeting between the two.

Canada scored six tries with wing James Pritchard netting a hat-trick and breaking the 29 point single game record he set against Barbados in his last game. This time he scored three tries and kicked three penalties and five conversions for 36 points.

“It was amateurs against professionals,” said Eagle interim coach Peter Thorburn after the game. “Canada was much better than we were today and when things go wrong they tend to compound. They put us under an immense amount of pressure and we didn’t handle it well.”

For Canada and for Newfoundland this was a momentous day: Canada’s most capped prop Rod Snow ran onto the pitch ahead of the Canada team to a tremendous uproar from the crowd, but when he scored his eighth try for Canada mid-way through the first half, if there had been a roof on the Swilers' Sport Complex, it would have lifted off.

When Snow came off the field near the end of the match to be replaced by Garth Cooke, Canada coach Ric Suggitt waved his arms up and down exhorting the crowd to give 'Cod' a huge ovation as he left the field for what could be his last time in a Canadian jersey. He shouldn’t have bothered; the crowd by that time was delirious.

Atop that Dr. Pat Parfrey, the heart-and-soul of Newfoundland rugby and the man behind organizing the game here in St. John’s, celebrated his birthday.

It would be difficult to single out any Canadian players for praise in this victory for all played well and all played as a team. At times Canada owned the pitch and the continuity between the forwards and backs had the Americans picking at straws. The Canadian team fired on all cylinders today in one of the finest displays in many a year. Not only did Canada run the ball with aplomb, but it defended solidly with some memorable tackles by James Cudmore, Mike James and little David Spicer who never took a step backwards. The USA simply had no answers to the Canadian onslaught.

Canada opened the scoring at six minutes, when prop Kevin Tkachuk took a quick tap penalty at the 40-metre mark and fed flanker Jamie Cudmore, who made ground. When he was tackled he fed centre David Spicer, who ran on through a number of feeble tackles and fed fullback Mike Pyke coming through with his big strides eating up the ground. Pyke went over unopposed to bring the ball behind the posts for James Pritchard to convert. 7-0.

At 13 minutes, following constant Canadian pressure, with nearly all of the Canadian team having a hand in the try, but with Sean-Michael Stephen, Kevin Tkachuk, David Spicer, Morgan Williams, Ander Monro and Pat Riardon to the fore. Rod Snow took the ball over the line for his eighth and most memorable try in front of his family and his hometown crowd; the place erupted. Pritchard converted: 14-0.

At 20 minutes referee Christophe Berdos awarded a penalty for a high tackle on Cudmore 20-metres out and in front of the posts. Pritchard made no mistake: 17-0.

Pritchard hit another penalty from 24-metres at 24 minutes: 20-0.

At 28 minutes the onslaught continued when #8 Sean Michael-Stephen scored a super try under the posts after centre Ryan Smith made a break before offloading to Williams who fed Stephen coming in at pace, and he ran in under the posts. Pritchard converted. 27-0

Just before half-time Canada centre Ryan Smith took a yellow card for deliberately knocking a ball on as the Americans mounted a scoring attack on Canada’s line.

With Smith off Canada defended its line well with Monro making a try-saving tackle on Philip Eloff just as he was about to cross the line. Half-time: 27-0 to Canada.

Canada started the second-half with the wind at its back and the crowd singing Molly Malone or 'Cockles and Mussels', somehow appropriate to the moment here in Newfoundland.

With the half only six minutes old wing James Pritchard scored a very alert try. Monro kicked deep into US territory, so deep in fact the ball stopped on the two metre line. US fullback Francois Viljoen fielded as the Canada wing Justin Mensah-Coker closed. He snagged Viljoen, who tried to offload to Brian Barnard when he went to ground, but the alert Pritchard leapt over the downed player and picked off his flip pass to roar in for the try. He converted: 34-0.

Pritchard scored again at five minutes later after Canada used quick hands to move the ball wide. Pyke came in from fullback and despite the hint of a forward pass, fed Pritchard who scooted in. He converted his own try: 41-0.

Pritchard added a penalty at 57 minutes to tie his 29-point Canadian record he had set against Barbados in Canada’s last match. 44-0.

Unexpectedly the USA stole a Canadian ball in a ruck and using quick hands, put centres Philip Eloff and Albert Tuipoltu off on a dashing run up field. Eventually flanker Todd Clever stretched over the line for Hercus to convert: 41-7.

Derek Daypuck replaced Monro at 67 minutes and at 76 minutes Daypuck leapt into the in-goal at the corner flag after Pritchard had rounded his man and fed the London, Ontario native the ball. Pritchard missed from the touchline: 49-7.

At 79 minutes the US kicked to touch. Morgan Williams took a quick throw in to Luke Tait and then Williams set off up the field. At the half-way line he fed Pritchard, who streaked half the length of the field to dive over for his hat trick. He converted his own try; 56-7 was the final.

“This was a very special day for me,” said Rod Snow. “The Newfoundland crowd was tremendous today. Some people thought we were taking a risk playing this game here in St.John’s. I never felt it would be a risk and today proved that. The crowd can take credit for twenty points today.”

“This has to be up there with one of the best performances we’ve had for the last few years,” said Captain Morgan Williams. “ To have Rod Snow playing here in front of his home crowd and scoring a try was superb. I think we just pressured them and we defended them well too. This was the one that counted and we went out and proved that today.”

“I’m very happy,” said Canada Coach Ric Suggitt. “ I couldn’t be happier for the players. We said two-and-a-half years ago that this was the game we needed to win and now it is a reality. At times we played some excellent rugby but we have to continue to improve because when we go to play Wales and Italy in November, we’ll have to be even better than this. The next level is a huge jump. James Pritchard has come back into the side and has been phenomenal.”

“I don’t think I can put my hand up for any of those tries,” said James Pritchard. “ All the hard work was done by the guys inside me and I only had to finish them off. I just happened to be the right guy in the right place at the right time.

“Morgan was very heads up on the last try to throw the ball in quickly and Luke was there to take the ball. I was lucky to be backing up. I have been practicing kicking here all week in the wind and it was difficult. But today, there was no wind, and I had an easier time of it.”

Canada now looks forward to its sixth Rugby World Cup where it will play in Pool B with Australia, Wales, Fiji and likely Japan. Canada will play Wales in Nantes on September 9, 2007; Fiji in Cardiff on September 16; Japan (likely) in Bordeaux on September 25th; and Australia four days later in Bordeaux on September 29th.

The USA, on the other hand, must now prepare to play Uruguay in Montevideo on September 31st, and again in Stanford, California on October 7th, 2006. The winner of that home-and-away series becomes Americas #3 and will join England, South Africa, Samoa and Repechage #2 in Pool A.

The loser of the Americas #3 enters a repechage competition against the winner of a contest between the winner of Africa #2 and Europe #4. The winner of this Repechage #1 will end up in Pool C with New Zealand, Scotland, Europe 1, and Europe 2.

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One thing the CSA could learn from this event is how to work up the crowd for the home team before the game (as opposed to going out of our way to make the visiting team's - and their fans' - experience as comfortable as possible. Either figure out how to wind up the fans like they do in Newfoundland or schedule some games there where they know how to...


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I was so disappointed that this wasn't on TV.

Newfoundland was already going rugby mad before the game as the Newfoundland Rock beat the Prairie Fire RFC for the second straight year in the final the weekend before. They doused the Flame (remember him CFL fans?) with a bucket of water and threw hard boiled eggs at him all game. Welcome to the Rock.

Did you know Canada is hosting the 2006 Women's Rugby World Cup in Edmonton in Sept?



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quote:Originally posted by mjoni

One thing the CSA could learn from this event is how to work up the crowd for the home team before the game (as opposed to going out of our way to make the visiting team's - and their fans' - experience as comfortable as possible. Either figure out how to wind up the fans like they do in Newfoundland or schedule some games there where they know how to...


on that note...check out the highlights of the game...the atmosphere was stellar before the game.


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