Canada Defeat Brazil 45-5 at Westhills Stadium: Forwards Get the Job Done
It's a win that Canada needed to bring back some self-belief. It brings Canada's record in 2017-18 to 3 wins, 1 draw and 11 losses.
It was the forwards who won the match tonight, they won the battle at the contact area often making extra yards and had the Brazil defence going backwards in the first half. All four first half tries by Canada were setup by the forwards, two off lineouts, one from a scrum and the other from two props making a line break.
Fittingly the first try was from a lineout and maul a few minutes into the match, Luke Campbell, who was named man of the match touched the ball down.
The 2nd try was off a scrum 5 metres from the Brazil line, Phil Mack made one pass to a charging Cole Davis coming in from the wing and he crossed over. Third try was a prop classic, Jake Ilnicki making the line break, offloading to Djustice Sears-Duru who made a few yards and ended with a superman dive into the goal area. The half ended with another lineout and maul, Mack took the ball from the back of the maul, found a streaking DTH with the pass and it was 26-0. The forwards can take a bow on all of these, two of them finished with one pass to the winger driving hard from a few metres out.
There was a key moment after Canada went ahead 14-0 where it was either going to be Canada running away with the match or Brazil battling back to make it close. The ensuing kickoff after the second try was dropped by Canada at their 22. It almost seemed deja vu, get a lead, then mistakes kill the game. Brazil would have the 22 metre scrum and a chance to get back into the match. Canada got a bit of luck at that point as Brazil lost their discipline when bodies piled over the loose ball and instead of a Brazil 22 metre scrum, Canada got a penalty and cleared the ball.
After going up by 14 in 10 minutes, Canada went off the boil, DTH picked up a knock and went off for a head injury assessment. The next score would be crucial. A key period was around the 25 minute mark when Brazil had the ball inside Canada's 22 for an extended period of time, they knocked the ball on, on two separate occasions to kill their drives, this weekend it was the opposition who would make the errors. The Canadian forwards were making a nuisance of themselves at the breakdown, particularly Barkwill, and he could be credited with creating the turnover that perhaps sealed the match. At 28 minutes with Brazil coming back into the match, the ball was turned over at a messy ruck and fed out to the backline. Doug Fraser had his best run of the night and kept bouncing off defenders to advance the ball. Seven phases later Ilnicki broke the line, offloaded to Djustice and it was effectively game over. Instead of battling back to get within a score, Brazil had gone down 3 tries with 30 minutes gone and you could sense this would now be a rout.
DTH put another one in before half, 26-0.
Five minutes into the second half, Canada went back to duplicating their first try with another lineout and maul, this time Barkwill getting the glory, 31-0. It was all going right for Canada at this point. At 55 minutes Brazil got a red card for a head butt that sent Dobravsky backwards at the ruck. The only question that remained was how many points could Canada put on the board?
At 60 minutes Phil Mack made a solo break from a ruck and fed Doug Fraser in support, 38-0. 76 minutes Andrew Ferguson made a clever pass that missed a couple of forwards to find Guiseppe du Toit who made the last two metres to score. Again the forwards had done the hard work to get the ball near the goal line. Brazil answered with one at the whistle, final 45-5.
Before fans go giddy with excitement over the win, Argentina coming up next, what worked well, what didn't. The forwards get top marks, the scrum was dominant, the front row did well, the loose forwards battled all day. Adding Dobravsky into the roster worked well, he's a smart player who reads the game well. Josh Larsen upped his physicality and was a presence.
The backs weren't dazzling, Fraser earns kudos for his hard running while bouncing off tacklers, the wingers each scored a try off set plays, Blevins was quiet however after playing well against USA. Shane O'Leary had a bit of a shocker, Canada could have scored 60+ if the backline had been on track, hopefully he'll rebound in the next match. The #10 spot is still waiting for someone to firmly put their stamp on it, the coach would be wise to continue exploring options at this key position. Mack shifted from periods of brilliance to periods of mediocrity, still the maestro but the pace from phase play can still be upped a notch or two. Canada still having problems fielding kicks, still dropping balls and watching balls hit the dirt with no one claiming them.
Still you don't look a gift horse in the mouth, so the saying goes. It's a good win, forwards came through, still waiting for the complete effort with a crisp backline attack, perhaps against Argentina.
Canada Announce Squad for Brazil Match on Saturday: Three Changes to Starting XV
There are three changes to the team that lost to the USA last weekend. Matt Heaton is gone as openside, Lucas Rumball moves from blindside to fill the gap. Dustin Dobravsky comes in and takes the blindside spot. That's the only change in the forwards.
In the backs, Doug Fraser comes in at outside centre and Guiseppe du Toit moves to the bench. Cole Davis gets the start on the wing and Brock Staller moves to the bench.
Gone from the bench are Rob Povey and Gordon McRorie. Andrew Ferguson provides backup at #9, and Guiseppe du Toit is capable of backing up at #10 as is Pat Parfrey. Cole Keith is gone as reserve prop and Ryan Kotlewski takes his spot. Cam Polson gets a chance for his first cap as he provides loose forward cover.
Canada won comfortably in 2016 when Francois Ratier was at the helm and Jamie Cudmore was forwards coach, 52-25. They lost last year when Anscombe took over. The team from 2016 isn't too much different from 2018, the front row is exactly the same, Paul Ciulini and Liam Chisolm were the second row, Lucas Rumball is in both lineups and Clay Panga and Alistair Clark were the other loose forwards in 2016. Whatever happened to Alistair Clark? It was Andrew Ferguson to Grady Bowd in the halfbacks, Grady Bowd seems to have fallen out of favour with selectors these days but deserves another look. Blevins and Staller were the centres with Dan Moor, Duncan Maguire and Pat Parfrey the back three. We count 8 starters from 2016 that are in the 2018 roster.
Canada haven't been playing good rugby lately, they've been prone to poor decision making and inopportune handling errors, they'll play 20 minutes of focused rugby and then lose their focus for the next 20. It all comes down to execution on Saturday. In 2016 Ratier and Cudmore did wonders with the same talent pool, what can the new guy Kingsley Jones bring to the table. An emphatic win would do wonders for morale.
from Rugby Canada
Langford, BC - Canada Head Coach Kingsley Jones has named his starting 23-man roster for Saturday’s Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) third round test match against Brazil at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.
This will only be the third encounter between the two sides, who played each other for the first time in 2016 when Canada won 52-25 at Westhills Stadium before Brazil exacted revenge a year later with a nail-biting 24-23 victory in Pacaembu.
Canada will be looking to claim their first victory of the 2018 ARC this weekend after tough losses to Uruguay in Vancouver and USA in California last weekend. Brazil come into the game having beaten Chile in round one before losing a close encounter to Uruguay in the second round.
Canada are currently ranked 21st on the World Rugby rankings and know a win against the 25th ranked team will be vital to boost the team’s confidence ahead of their trip south for the final two rounds of the competition against Argentina XV and Chile.
Coach Kingsley Jones has handed Doug Fraser his first cap and start at outside centre, meaning it is the third midfield shake-up in as many weeks for Canada. Nick Blevins keeps his place at inside centre with Guiseppe du Toit dropping to the bench. Dustin Dobravsky and Cole Davis will be raring to go as they earn their first starting positions on the national team roster.
Another fresh player looking to make a big impact will be Cameron Polson who could make his debut should he get on the field on Saturday.
After DTH van der Merwe reached the 50-cap milestone last weekend against the USA, two more players will be nearing their half-century of international test matches this weekend. 37-year-old hooker, Ray Barkwill will earn his 49th cap while Alberta native, Nick Blevins is set to earn his 48th.
Head coach Kingsley Jones had the following to say before this weekend’s clash:
“It’s a difficult challenge. We’ve got to respect Brazil but we’re the favourites playing at home and we’ve got to respond well to that. There’s been improvement in the last two test matches but we weren’t good enough to beat USA. We’ve got to stay in the moment, make less unforced errors and work hard on improving every day.”
Kick-off on Saturday is 6:30pm local time (9:30pm ET). You can watch the game LIVE on TSN, or online through TSN “GO” in Canada or www.worldrugby.org outside of the Americas.
Tickets can be purchased by clicking here
Canada’s roster to face Brazil on Saturday:
1. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Ealing Trailfinders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON 2. Ray Barkwill – (Seattle Seawolves/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON 3. Jake Ilnicki – (Newcastle Falcons/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC 4. Josh Larsen – (Northland) Parksville, BC 5. Kyle Baillie – (London Scottish/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI 6. Dustin Dobravsky - (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Hanover, Germany 7. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON 8. Luke Campbell – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC 9. Phil Mack – Captain (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC 10. Shane O’Leary - (Ealing Trailfinders) Cork, Ireland 11. DTH van der Merwe – (Newcastle Falcons) Victoria, BC 12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB 13. Doug Fraser – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Ladysmith, BC 14. Cole Davis - (Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB 15. Patrick Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL 16. Martial Lagain - Sherbrooke Abenakis/Atlantic Rock) Saint-Jean-de-Marsacq, France 17. Anthony Luca - (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC 18. Ryan Kotlewski – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB 19. Conor Keys - (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON 20. Cameron Polson – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) 21. Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON 22. Guiseppe du Toit – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC 23. Brock Staller – (Meralomas RFC/BC Bears) Surrey, BC