Canada U19 vs Ireland - Match #1

March 25 2018

Mike James - Barbarians

Canada U19 vs Ireland U18 Match - Full Match Video and Commentary

This video is useful for analyzing where Canadian rugby development needs to improve. The result was 56-17 for Ireland which is about the scoreline you would expect at the senior level. So take profesionalism out of the equation as these are 18 year olds and what differences do you see?

The video is below and we'll refer to specific times in the commentary.

Canada started out well, great run by #9 Brandon Schellenberger set up the try and good finishing by the backs, #14 Evan Norris getting the pass and #15 Kyle Tremblay finishing it off. An all BC try just minutes into the match (6:45).

The next few minutes were back and forth with knock ons and penalties. Canada #10 Myles Donoghue was going to have a difficult afternoon was the early indication. There was also the sense the referee was going to give the 50/50 decisions to the home team when it came to breakdown infractions, forward passes, maul infractions. At 13:30 blindside Siaki Vikalani was called counter rucking from the side. The lineout went into the Canada 22. Canada was called for taking down the maul, something the ref again was lenient when applying the same rule to Ireland in the match. They didn't need the advantage however as #13 and #15 teamed up to score. That would be another recurring theme. Both are members of the Ireland IQ program which tracks, identifies and supports Irish qualified talent abroad. Both these players, Oran McNulty #15 (Bath Academy) and Hayden Hyde #13 (Harlequins Academy) are standouts. Canada had nothing in the backline to compare and they were a menace to Canada all day.

At 16:24 #5 Quentin James, just like his dad Mike James used to do, breaks through the line and has #9 Brandon Schellenberger on his shoulder, Brandon gets the pass and almost scores, not quite the pace of who else but #15 Oran McNulty who manages to get him on his back and prevent the try. I expect to hear the name Oran McNulty in the Ireland senior team some day. Brandon has been outstanding so far for Canada, setting up the first try and almost scoring the second. Canada get the scrum and this is where one of the differences is apparent, it shows up throughout the afternoon, decision making. Canada do well in the scrum but on second phase lose the ball for holding on. The #8, Nicholas Carson, who had a good game decides to pick and go, unaware that all his support is elsewhere, situational awareness, it shows up throughout the match. Going right when you have the man advantage to the left, it happens over and over again. How do you teach that, through drills or through teaching game management?

At 21:00 it's Quentin James again with a line break, best player for Canada. All the top players in this match seem to be either at a professional French or English Academy, coincidence, or not. The breakdown support is good, Peyton Eagar at #7 does well at the breakdown on both sides of the ball. However on the line breaks there's no continuity, it's a break and then a ruck, no support to keep the ball alive. At 21:20 a very iffy call or lack of a call by the ref at the breakdown, they steal the ball, not great breakdown work by #6 Siaki Vikalani but we go right where we're outnumbered 6 to 3 instead of going left where we have the man advantage. Just a little tweak on decision making and breakdown technique and problem solved. Who scores the try, Ireland #13 with #15 on his shoulder.

At 23:37 Quentin James again on a break, he's carrying the ball in one hand, not sure if he's given up trying to find support or just forgets. Again goes into the tackler, tries a one handed offload and into touch. So many line breaks, very few results from them.

25:11 Peyton Eagar makes a good attempt at the steal, player on the ground keeps hold of the ball, ref ignores this and calls play on. Bit of a double standard at the breakdown throughout the game. Ball gets out to Ireland #11, the difference in footwork from the backs is very apparent, stepping and evasive running, Canada backs run forward, straight. If you hear the high school coach back home yell, "run straight" give him a slap from me. No evasive running skills taught at young levels, watching the Irish backs they weave, duck and jink their way down the field leaving tacklers with feet stuck in cement. Fortunately they knock the ball on 5 metres out, Canada scrum.

27:48 another line break from Quentin James, this man is the Canada offensive platform. Again one hand, dad will have to have a chat with him, he tries to switch hands when contact comes, knock on. Where is the support, although he's not really looking, given up perhaps?

31:34 another breakdown call against Canada, this time Quentin James from the side. James looks very mystified at the call? Ensuing play #15 Oran McNulty, Bath Academy, beats defenders, deft little grubber picked up by #11 for score. The man is magic with the ball.

35:20 a nice run by #13 for Canada, Dalton Campbell from Calgary, sees him power over the line.

39:17 nice line break by #12, Connor Byron from UBC, again no linkage play, goes to ground, couple of phases and penalty for holding on. There's no real play maker on the Canada side to organize the attack, the team runs out of ideas quickly and then usually a penalty at the breakdown.

41:30 it's #13 to #15 for Ireland again, Oran McNulty just ghosts through the Canada defence, he's a level above for sure.


55:30 it's #15 to #13, it's his turn, Hayden Hyde (Harlequins Academy) to score. These two were the stars for Ireland. Wait it's no score, held up by Peyton Eagar (#7) and Brandon Schellenberger (#9), good job gents. No matter a few minutes later they score #13 to #14, two forward passes to set it up but the ref let's those things go if you're wearing green today.

Canada's attack now really looks out of ideas and out of pace, it's several phases and kick the ball down the middle of the field.

1:07 Canada have a great maul going forward but magically goes to ground by itself according to the ref who lets play go on. Canada eventually get a penalty for offside within metres of the Ireland line but there's no life left in the team, no quick tap, players look drained. They go for a lineout and maul heading towards the line that again magically goes to ground, no penalty. A promising attacking position, goes to replacement #21 Jim Newman, who throws a hail mary pass a metre from the line that ends up in Irish hands, and Irish eyes are smiling as they go the length of the field for the score - #15 to #11, no one on Canada has his pace, he's gone. A couple of mauls that went down, ref didn't see anything wrong, might dispute that call.

1:12 Canada get a penalty in front of the posts, elect to go lineout, hmmm, no good scrum plays I guess. Canada bash ahead, this is good stuff, they just need that big player to go low and power over the line. Patience needed, but the Irish defence is strong, this is character building gut check time. Canada decide to go wide and have a few phases and then #23 gets isolated, subbed in, not into the game yet and Ireland just take the ball out of his hands and run the length of the field, it's #13 again. He basically said give me the ball, thank you and took it out of #23's hands, and ran the length of the field, brutal.

That's the type of play that just kills a team and it did, few minutes later Irish players without numbers on their back are scoring. The ref finally calls a forward pass against Ireland, guess he figures the match is a done deal by now.

1:23 Brock Gallagher, #23, scores a solo try after slipping, gets back on his feet when the Irish player doesn't hold him. And that's it 56-17.

It wasn't a bad outing by Canada, Ireland's 13, 15, 11 were top players. Our forwards held their own, some mistakes were punished by end to end tries which made the score look worse. Quentin James probably the top player for Canada. The Irish defence in close was ferocious, would have liked the Canadian forwards to keep at it in those situations and see if they could cross the line before sending it wide where Canada were outmatched.

Same again next week and hopefully the match will be closer.


1. Guerschom Mukendi
2. David Stolz
3. Tyler Rowlands (C)
4. Hunter Grant
5. Quentin James
6. Siaki Vikalani
7. Peyton Eagar
8. Nicholas Carsen
9. Brandon Schellenberger
10. Myles Donoghue
11. John Buck
12. Connor Byron
13. Dalton Campbell
14. Evan Norris
15. Kyle Tremblay
16. Nathan Lake
17. Jackson Scott
18. Reid Davis
19. Tyler Wong
20. Thomas Hagan
21. Jim Newman
22. Campbell Clarke
23. Brock Gallagher


15. Oran McNulty (Bath Academy/Millfield - IQ Rugby)
14. Jack Hunt (Rockwell College)
13. Hayden Hyde (Harlequins Academy/Cranleigh School - IQ Rugby)
12. Tommy Downes (CBC Cork)
11. Tom Bacon (Henley College/Wasps - IQ Rugby)
10. Michael Cooke (Sedbergh School - IQ Rugby)
9. Charlie O'Doherty (Newcastle West/Ard Scoil na Mhuire)
1. Fionn Flanagan (Bruff RFC)
2. Mark Nicholson (Wicklow/Colaiste Chill Mhantain)
3. Paddy McAlpine (Campbell College)
4. Eoin O'Connor (Waterpark/Gaelcholaiste Phortlairge)
5. Cian Prendergast (Newbridge College) (capt)
6. Chris Moore (Beechen Cliff School - IQ Rugby)
7. Evan Murphy (Nenagh Ormond/Nenagh CBS)
8. Joshua Dunne (Nottingham Academy/Denstone College - IQ Rugby)

16. Aaron Hennessy (The Alfa Project, Scariff/Ennis)
17. Mark Donnelly (CBC Cork)
18. Liam Winnett (Buccaneers/Marist College)
19. Darragh Murray (Buccaneers/Coláiste Chíaráin)
20. Kieran Booth (St. Ambrose College/Sale Sharks -IQ Rugby)
21. Shane Murphy (Skerries/St. Joseph's Rush)
22. Saul O'Carroll (Buccaneers/Garbally College)
23. Shane Jennings (Ballinasloe/Garbally College)

Next Match

March 28 – Canada U19 vs Ireland Clubs & Schools - 12:00pm Local Time (8:00am ET/5:00am PT)

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