Canada v USA - September 2019

September 08 2019


Evan Olmstead
©

Canada Keep it Close Against 14th Ranked Americans: 20-15



The CBC article posted below summarizes the match nicely so we'll just add some observations.

The Canadian defence played well overall, the team came out pumped and put USA on the back foot right away at the contact area. It was certainly one of their better recent efforts - marked on intensity and physicality.

Neither team showed much on attack - USA were missing their #1 flyhalf AJ MacGinty which may have dulled their attack a bit. Which brings up the matter of Canada's flyhalf dilemma, we saw both front runners in the match, Peter Nelson starting and Shane O'Leary finishing up. Neither excited the imagination in running the backline, Nelson's high moments were a quick tap try and a penalty kick from near centre, he has long distance penalty range which is a plus. As a competent fullback he also has better open field tackling technique, O'Leary was just monstered by Iosefo on the winning USA try as he went in high on an attempted tackle.

The scrum half question is open as well, Mack rested for the match, likely to give him time with his new son, may well be the #1 scrum half. McRorie scored an early try being opportunistic on a strong counter ruck by the Canadian forwards but he also had lapses of judgement, getting isolated and turned over, and the box kicking and chasing game is still a work in progress.

Mike Sheppard was chosen man of the match for Canada and it was appropriate to give it to a forward. Hassler showed some flashes of promise with his straight ahead, football style running. The centres Hearn and LeSage were barely mentioned on attack.

Canada are still on track to claim a win against Namibia in their final match. If they can't generate some attack through the centres it's unlikely they'll push Italy hard in their first match - as for NZ and South Africa - NZ just beat Tonga by 92-7 and Tonga defeated Canada by +10.

There's still some wishful thinking that Jones hasn't fully revealed his first string backline and that DTH will be on the field with Paris and Hassler and everything will click against Italy.

A reader sent us the following comments which seemed appropriate.
Just watched the Canada game; probably one of their better efforts in a very long time. It seems though the game has changed way too much from my day when we used to fire the ball over the place; had creativity; set plays; set backs up one way and then at the last second rotate and then go the other, especially short side (rarely see today a short side 8th man pick and go, to #9 then #10 with #15 coming in plus wing). I watched Rowers and JBAA today and they telegraphed split backs all day. No imagination.

It's the same with the big boys. Drive ahead all day with the forwards; boring. The ball tonight barely got past the #10; I don't think I heard Hearns' name mentioned. Nothing goes wide anymore and part of that reason is that the last foot rule isn't enforced and the opposing forwards are off-side at the base of a ruck and the three line is off-side all night long and stifles the game; USA were off-side all night long as was South Africa a couple of weeks ago. I find it painful as the flow and quick speed doesn't develop. Don't have an answer but the flair is seriously lacking.

from CBC Sports by Jim Morris

Canadians continue to struggle against rival Americans as WC looms

Playing better still wasn't good enough for Canada's senior men's rugby team as they saw an early 12-point lead slowly whittled away in a 20-15 loss to the United States on Saturday night in Vancouver in the final match for both teams prior to the Rugby World Cup.

The Canadians dominated the game early but then gave up 10 straight points in the second half as the U.S. extended its unbeaten streak against Canada to six years.

"You don't go into the change room and kick the boys when they are down when they've given everything, but by the same token it's obviously not acceptable to lose," said head coach Kingsley Jones.

Canada had a chance to win the match in the game's dying seconds but failed to push the ball into the U.S. end zone. Canada, ranked 21st in the world, managed two goal-line stands against the No. 13 Americans.

"The team has come a long way," said Jones. "I'm really pleased with a lot of what we did if we look at the positives. We looked good with our strategy."

On the bright side

The Canadians took some solace in that the margin of defeat was much smaller than the 47-19 pasting they took the last time the teams met on July 27 in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Glendale, Colo.

"There's no doubt we are better," said captain Tyler Ardron. "We can see the way we defend. To hold them to as many points as they ended up with tonight was a big step. That's huge for us.

"We're just not quite happy with the points we are scoring. If we can [score] a couple more, we will put a lot of teams away."

Winger Martin Iosefo scored the deciding points for the U.S. when he bowled over Canada's Shane O'Leary for a try in the 71st minute. The conversion attempt by Will Hooley was wide.

American coach Gary Gold said his team was on its heels early.

"Canada came out and really did a good job," said Gold. "In the first half they dominated us.

"We were below our best today. I'm disappointed about that but really encouraged by the courage to come back and show the fight when we were 12-0 down."

Canada's last victory over the U.S. was in August 2013 when it won a two-game qualifying series for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. In the 13 games since Canada has a record of 0-12-1. Dating back to 1977 Canada is 38-23-2 in official matches against the Americans.

World Cup begins Sept. 20

The game, played before a small but loud crowd at BC Place Stadium, was the final tune-up before Canada leaves for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. The tournament begins Sept. 20 but Canada's first game is Sept. 26 against Italy.

Canada fielded a team similar to the one that will open the World Cup while the U.S. side was mostly reserves.

Scoring tries for Canada was scrum half Gordon McRorie and outside half Peter Nelson.

Nelson also had a penalty kick and a conversion.

Scoring tries for the U.S. was No. 8 Cam Dolan and hooker Dylan Fawsitt.

Outside half Will Magie had a penalty kick and a conversion.

The game took a toll on the Canadian roster. Lock Kyle Baillie limped to the dressing room late in the first half with a heavily taped right knee. Flanker Justin Blanchet also left the game but returned to the bench.

Jones didn't know the extent of the injuries.

Ardron said the Canadians will use the next few weeks fine-tuning for the World Cup.

"We want to go put our stamp on this World Cup," he said. "We have a lot of heart. The skills are really starting to develop every week."


Canada and USA Rosters Announced for Saturday's Match at BC Place - Final RWC Warmup Game



Sometimes Canadian rugby fans seem to be in denial, "this isn't the strongest lineup for Canada" we keep reading on social media. Hate to break the news but this is it - the 31 players have been selected this lineup is the best of that group.

The front row may shuffle around as to who starts but the four props named here are the go to players, Cole Keith at 22 and the youngest player on the squad will get his chance at the World Cup. Eric Howard will be the starting prop with Quattrin and Piffero fighting for backup spots.

The second row of Evan Olmstead and Kyle Baillie is the best Canada will put out - Sheppard providing backup. The same can be said of the loose forwards Blanchet, Rumball, Ardron - Matt Heaton providing backup.

The halfback pairing of McRorie and Nelson is looking more like Jones' go to combination going into the World Cup. Shane O'Leary is on the bench, Phil Mack just became a new father so is likely taking a few days to enjoy that feeling before heading off to Japan. Congrats by the way Phil, his son's name is Tate Joseph Mack, Canada may see him in RWC 2039 or 2043.

Jones seems fixated with Hearn at inside centre, it hasn't been productive but Jones is sticking with it - Blevins providing backup. Ben LeSage holds down outside centre. The wings DTH and Hassler are the best Canada have, Taylor Paris isn't in the roster but he'll get some starts at the World Cup. Pat Parfrey has been killing it at fullback, he's the starter now. It would have been nice to see Theo Sauder in with a shot but he wasn't selected in the RWC 31, Andrew Coe will likely get some time at fullback during the World Cup.

Some have mentioned moving DTH to outside centre to have DTH, Paris and Hassler on at the same time, I wouldn't bet against that happening sometime during the RWC. DTH has 57 caps for Canada, he played centre in 20 of them. The last time he started at centre was 2017 but in the 2011 World Cup he started every match at centre including the tie with Japan and win over Tonga.

The big change for USA is the omission of their starting flyhalf AJ MacGinty who picked up a knock in the PNC and is too valuable to risk going into the World Cup. We'll see how the USA backline functions without his presence. They're also giving some players coming back from injury a last chance to impress before they announce their RWC roster on Sunday. Olive Kilifi of the Seattle Saracens and Seattle Seawolves is one of those players.

The game kicks off at 7pm and is on TSN.

Canada

1 Hubert Buydens, Saskatoon, SK- New Orleans Gold
2 Eric Howard, Ottawa, ON- New Orleans Gold
3 Matthew Tierney, Oakville, ON- Castres Olympiques
4 Evan Olmstead, Vancouver, BC- Unattached
5 Kyle Baillie, Summerside, PEI- New Orleans Gold
6 Justin Blanchet, Montreal, QC- Unattached
7 Lucas Rumball, Scarborough, ON- Toronto Arrows
8 Tyler Ardron, Lakefield, ON- Chiefs 'C'
9 Gordon McRorie, Calgary, AB- Calgary Hornets
10 Peter Nelson- Dungannon, UK, Unattached
11 DTH van der Merwe, Regina, SK- Glasgow Warriors
12 Ciaran Hearn, Conception Bay South, NL- Unattached
13 Ben LeSage, Calgary, AB- Calgary Canucks
14 Jeff Hassler (Okotoks, AB) Seattle Seawolves
15 Patrick Parfrey, St. John's, NL- Toronto Arrows
16 Andrew Quattrin, Holland Landing, ON- Toronto Arrows
17 Djustice Sears-Duru, Oakville, ON- Seattle Seawolves
18 Jake Ilnicki, Williams Lake, BC- Seattle Seawolves
19 Mike Sheppard, Brampton, ON- Toronto Arrows
20 Matt Heaton, Godmanchester, QC- Darlington Mowden Park
21 Jamie Mackenzie, Oakville, ON- Toronto Arrows
22 Shane O'Leary, Cambellton, NB- Nottingham Rugby
23 Nick Blevins, Calgary, AB- Calgary Hornets

USA

PLAYER NAME POSITION CLUB XVs CAPS
1. Eric Fry Prop Vannes (FRA) 44
2. Joe Taufete’e Hooker Worcester Warriors (ENG) 22
3. Titi Lamositele Prop Saracens (ENG) 27
4. Ben Landry Lock Ealing Trailfinders (ENG) 21
5. Greg Peterson Lock Newcastle Falcons (ENG) 25
6. Hanco Germishuys Flanker Glendale Raptors 16
7. John Quill Flanker Rugby United New York 35
8. Cam Dolan No. 8 NOLA Gold 46
9. Nate Augspurger Scrumhalf San Diego Legion 23
10. Will Magie Flyhalf Unattached 24
11. Martin Iosefo Wing USA Sevens 5
12. Paul Lasike Center Harlequins (ENG) 15
13. Marcel Brache Center Western Force (AUS) 18
14. Blaine Scully (C) Wing Unattached 49
15. Will Hooley Fullback Bedford Blues (ENG) 11
16. Dylan Fawsitt Reserve Rugby United New York 11
17. Olive Kilifi Reserve Seattle Seawolves 26
18. Paul Mullen Reserve Unattached 13
19. Nate Brakeley Reserve Rugby United New York 20
20. Malon Al-Jiboori Reserve Unattached 4
21. Shaun Davies Reserve Glendale Raptors 24
22. Bryce Campbell Reserve London Irish (ENG) 27
23. Mike Te’o Reserve San Diego Legion 23

MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM XVS STAFF
General Manager | Dave Hodges
Head Coach | Gary Gold
Assistant Coach, Attack | Greg McWilliams
Assistant Coach, Set Piece | Shawn Pittman
Assistant Coach, Defense | Jaque Fourie
Strength & Conditioning Coach | Huw Bevan
Performance Analyst | Jimmy Harrison
Assistant S&C and Analyst | Tom Kindley
Team Doctor | Mark Sakr
Team Doctor | Sam Akhavan
Head Athletic Trainer | Kevin Ng
Athletic Trainer | Kristen Douhan
Massage Therapist | Daliah Hurwitz
Team Manager | Chris Hanson
Assistant Team Manager | Mark Drown

from Rugby Canada

VANCOUVER, BC (September 5, 2019) - Head coach Kingsley Jones has named his 23-man squad that will take the pitch this Saturday against the USA Eagles in Canada's final Rugby World Cup send-off at BC Place.

"Playing the USA, there's no extra motivation needed," said Jones. "It's been a tough bit of work preparing for the Rugby World Cup throughout the last few weeks and we're looking forward to this test. It’s a good opportunity to get a scalp under our belt and take a good performance into the World Cup."

Kickoff is at 10pm ET/ 7pm PT on September 7th with tickets still available at ticketmaster.ca. Fans can watch the match LIVE on TSN1, TSN4, tsn.ca, and the TSN app.

Rugby World Cup:

Canada vs. Italy
September 26
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium
Fukuoka, Japan
Kick-off: 16:45pm local time (2:45am ET/11:45pm PT on Sep. 25)
Broadcast: TBC

Canada vs. New Zealand
October 2
Oita Stadium
Oita, Japan
Kick-off: 19:15pm local time (5:15am ET/2:15am PT)
Broadcast: TBC

Canada vs. South Africa
October 8
Kobe Misaki
Kobe, Japan
Kick-off: 19:15pm local time (5:15am ET/2:15am PT)
Broadcast: TBC

Canada vs. Namibia
October 13
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
Kamaishi, Japan
Kick-off: 16:45pm local time (2:45am ET/11:45pm PT on Oct. 12)
Broadcast: TBC

Note: A broadcast deal is being finalized by World Rugby for the Canadian coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and more information will be released once completed.

from USA Rugby

The No. 14 USA Men’s National Team XVs will face No. 21 and rivals Canada this Saturday, Sept 7, KO 10 PM ET, at Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium. Broadcast LIVE on florugby.com, the contest will serve as the final match for the Eagles before they depart for Rugby World Cup in Japan. Tickets are still available at usarugby.org/tickets.

MATCH-DAY 23
Head Coach Gary Gold’s match-day 23 features a number of players who will get crucial playing time before final selections for Rugby World Cup are made.

Starters Eric Fry and Joe Taufete’e as well as reserves Olive Kilifi and Mike Te’o return from injuries that kept them out of the Pacific Nations Cup. Fry, Taufete’e, Kilifi and Te’o all last suited up against Canada, with Fry making his last appearance in June of 2018 and the rest suiting up for the Americas Rugby Championship finale in Seattle this March.

Captain Blaine Scully will lead the group in his 50th test cap with the United States, an honor shared by only 10 other Eagles in U.S. history. Since he’s been Captain, Scully has made 17 test match appearances with the USA, helping the group to their most successful season in modern history in 2018.

Saturday’s full lineup features 529 cumulative test caps — a total greater than any of the three matches in the Pacific Nations Cup.

LAST TIME ON THE PITCH AGAINST JAPAN
Just a couple months ago, the Eagles faced Japan in a winner-takes-all finale to the Pacific Nations Cup 2019 where the Japanese prevailed 20-34.

The United States fought well past 80-minutes in spite of an impressive combination of line speed and precision in Japan’s attack. But the Eagles were equally impressive themselves, coming back from an early 0-17 deficit to force a number of Japanese mistakes and level the score 13-20 at halftime.

As the USA found momentum, the Japanese committed errors; and the same was true in reverse. The final minute proved to me the most thrilling where the U.S. attack moved patiently, phase after phase to inch the ball closer to the goal line before one final turnover drew full time.

While there were certainly critical errors committed by the United States, the relentless drive through every minute was a testament to the growth in fitness and cohesion across all 23 in the playing group.

THE MATCHUP | UNITED STATES VS CANADA
The Eagles will face Canada for the third time this calendar year, having won their first meeting in March 30-25 and their matchup in June 47-19.

Canada can be expected to play much sharper, however, as Kingsley Jones has named his 31 player roster for Rugby World Cup following a string of high level matches in the Pacific Nations Cup and, most recently, against Leinster.

As a whole, Saturday’s contest will be primarily focused on cementing intricate and months long preparation for Rugby World Cup; allowing the Eagles to ensure systems are set and players receive valuable game time.

USA and Canada have met 62 times in history where the Eagles have won 22 times, the Canadians have won 38 times and two matches have resulted in a draw.

THOUGHTS FROM HEAD COACH GARY GOLD
“This game on Saturday will be very beneficial for us in not only cementing months long preparation but allowing us to make our final selections for Rugby World Cup. I am proud of the guys for how much work they’ve put in over these past several weeks as the heat and altitude in Colorado have provided the challenging setting we need to prepare at the highest level.

Canada are a very well-coached team and have a number of experienced players within the squad who will be a serious threat to us if we don’t execute with precision. We need to approach this game in the same way we will approach our pool in Japan in terms of our focus, our mindset and our ability to respond under pressure.”

RUGBY WORLD CUP TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT DATE
The USA Men’s National Team XVs 31-player squad for Rugby World Cup Japan will be announced on Sunday, Sept 8 by 12 PM Pacific Time. Fans should follow @usarugby on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as well as www.usa.rugby for the official announcement.

Pemberton Holmes
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