Canada Lose to Zimbabwe in U20 Tournament 32-24 (HT 20-7)
A disappointing performance by Canada as a well drilled Zimbabwe U20 squad ran out to a 20-7 halftime lead and then weathered a Canadian comeback to close the game with two late tries and claim the win.
Zimbabwe had a well organized defence and Canada kept throwing one off runners into the defence without support players reacting in time. The result was turnovers and penalties which put Zimbabwe on the front foot for most of the first half. Canada had a good power game in the forwards that helped them make a brief comeback in the second half before Zimbabwe closed it out with two tries.
As rugby pundit Bryan Ray noted on Twitter, "Not a bad effort from the Canadian forwards. Inaccuracy at the breakdown cost them in the first half especially. A couple (IMO) incorrect decisions to kick at posts. Backline looked very pedestrian compared to Zimbabwe."
Zimbabwe scored its 5 tries through the backs, Canada scored its 3 tries through the forwards. That basically sums up the strength of the teams. Canada will have to raise their backline play if they want to compete with Chile and Uruguay.
Uruguay won the opening match against Chile, 27-3. Canada will play Chile on Thursday. Both videos are on the Rugby Canada YouTube channel.
from Rugby Canada
Canada’s Men’s U20s began their U20s Canada Conference campaign with a 32-24 defeat to Zimbabwe in a highly-competitive match on Saturday at the University of Guelph.
Tries from Relmu Wilson-Valdes, Mehdi Porchet and Ethan Fryer, as well as a series of successful conversions from Jamin Hodgkins, gave the Canadian fans in attendance plenty to cheer about as the hosts came back from a 20-0 deficit to lead in the second half, but weren’t enough to ultimately secure the victory.
“I’m super disappointed,” said Head Coach Adam Roberts. “In an international, you can’t spot a team 20 points. The boys fought hard, those 30 minutes in the second half but it’s game management and these guys have got to learn these lessons. It’s tough in these conditions to come together but the game management piece is something we’ve really got to look at and look through all the moments of the game and get that fight back and dig deep for this next one.”
The day’s action began with a 27-3 win for Uruguay over Chile before Roberts’ Canadian team took to the field for their tournament opener.
It was Zimbabwe who enjoyed the upper hand in the opening exchanges, and they capitalized via a sixth-minute penalty conversion by their captain and full back Takudzwa Musingwini.
That was followed by a try from scrum-half Panashe Zuze, who gathered the ball in his stride and burst through a gap, to ensure the visitors’ lead was 10-0 at the midpoint of the first half.
In the 27th minute, a turnover in midfield saw Zimbabwe regain possession, put it through hands and out to winger Tawonga Ablant, who showcased his immense speed to bypass multiple defenders as he tiptoed down the sideline and in for the try.
Moments later, that score was replicated almost step for step by Emmanuel Farawu on the opposite wing as Zimbabwe extended their lead to 20-0. Canada enjoyed a spell on top just prior to half time and their efforts were rewarded when Wilson-Valdes went over from a pick-and-go with just two minutes on the clock.
That score clearly gave Canada confidence as they came out the better team after half time. In the 50th minute, prop Porchet collected the ball just a few metres out and powered over the line to cut Zimbabwe’s advantage to just six points.
A few minutes later, the hosts would take their first lead of the match as a well-worked move was finished by flanker Fryer to make the score 21-20 after Hodgkins hit the resulting conversion. The fly half then improved Canada’s margin by three points as he split the posts with a penalty conversion to make it 24-20.
Zimbabwe, who had been on the backfoot since the restart, burst back into life on the hour mark as Ablant scored his second try of the match to restore a one-point advantage for the visitors. Down to 14 players after a yellow card, Zimbabwe struggled to cope with increasing pressure from the Canadians, whose forwards were dominating the set pieces.
However, with less than ten minutes to go, it was their speed on the outside that secured the visitors’ game-clinching try as Ablant went over for a third time to claim his hat-trick and make it 32-24, which is how the match would end.
Next up, Canada’s Men’s U20s will take on Chile on Thursday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. Pacific, before closing out the tournament with a match against Uruguay on Tuesday, August 23, also at 6:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. Pacific.
Canada Name Team to Face Zimbabwe in U20 Match on Saturday
The Canada U20 team to face Zimbabwe on Saturday at 3:30pm PT has been named. The competition is allowing 28 player rosters instead of the standard 23.
UBC boasts 9 of the 28 players as part of their current program Caden Wilson, Relmu Wilson - Valdez, Talon McMullin, Takoda McMullin, Joe Mcnulty, James Biss, Sol Jacques, Payton Tenneycke, Alastair Marshall. A number of those players were also members of the championship BC U19 team, Jacques, Wilson, McNulty, Wilson-Valdes, Marshall. Also on that BC U19 team were Taine Clague of UVic and Alistair Bruce of the Pacific Pride.
The U20s Canada Conference gets underway this weekend and Head Coach Adam Roberts has named his match day roster to take on Zimbabwe in Canada’s Men’s U20s opening fixture at the University of Guelph.
Canada’s match against Zimbabwe will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. Pacific on Saturday and follows the tournament’s curtain raiser between Chile and Uruguay which commences at 4:00 p.m. Eastern / 1:00 p.m. Pacific. This is a non-ticketed event and fans who wish to attend the matches are encouraged to do so.
Starting for Canada at centre is multi-sport athlete Talon McMullin, alongside his brother, Takoda, who will line up on the wing. Pacific Pride squad members Tyler Matchem, Alastair Bruce, Ethan Fryer and Mathew Klimchuk will start among the forwards, while fellow Pride teammate Sam Reimer, also of the Toronto Arrows, is in at scrum half.
Captaining the side, Liam Bowman, who came through the Oakville Crusaders program, will play at centre on his return having featured prominently for Canada’s Men’s U18s before playing in France for the past two years.
“The entire team, from players to coaches and the support staff, are buzzing for this weekend’s match against Zimbabwe and to the U20s Canada Conference as a whole,” said Roberts. “There is nothing quite like the anticipation and energy that comes with starting a test campaign and harnessing that energy to collectively put together performances on the field.”
Following their match against Zimbabwe, Canada’s Men’s U20s will take on Chile on Thursday, August 18 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. Pacific, before closing out the tournament with a match against Uruguay on Tuesday, August 23, also at 6:30 p.m. Eastern / 3:30 p.m. Pacific.
WHERE TO WATCH
The U20s Canada Conference 2022 will be streamed LIVE on Rugby Canada’s YouTube channel. Click here to access the page where the livestream will be located.
CANADA’S MEN’S U20 MATCH DAY ROSTER VS ZIMBABWE
1. Mehdi Porchet (Geneva, Switzerland) - Stade Montois RFC 2. David Scollon (Mississauga, ON) – University of Guelph 3. Tyler Matchem (Halifax, NS) - Pacific Pride 4. Logan Weidner (North Vancouver, BC) Brive RFC 5. Alastair Bruce (Cape Town, South Africa) - Pacific Pride 6. Mathew Klimchuk (Regina, SK) - Pacific Pride 7. Ethan Fryer (Seattle, USA) - Pacific Pride / New England Free Jacks 8. Relmu Wilson-Valdes (Nelson, BC) - UBC 9. Sam Reimer (Ajax, ON) - Pacific Pride / Toronto Arrows 10. Jamin Hodgkins (Bermuda) - Cardiff Met University 11. Kobe Faust (Uxbridge, ON) – University of Guelph / Toronto Arrows 12. Talon McMullin (White Rock, BC) - Bayside RFC 13. Liam Bowman (Oakville, ON) - US Montauban 14. Takoda McMullin (White Rock, BC) - UBC 15. Ted Champion (Hong Kong) - University of Arizona
16. Michael Di Lella Jr. (Orono, ON) – University of Guelph 17. Payton Teneycke (Brandon, MB) - UBC 18. Ethan Jurgeneit (Barrie, ON) - Trinity Western University 19. Caden Wilson (Vancouver, BC) - UBC 20. Taine Clague (Victoria, BC) - University of Victoria 21. Adam Doyle (Kingston, ON) - Queens University 22. James Biss (London, England) - Durham University 23. Jack East (Wanaka, New Zealand) - Pacific Pride 24. Lukas Scheck (Regina, SK) – Canada’s Senior Men’s Sevens 25. Joe McNulty (North Vancouver, BC) - Capilano RFC 26. Sol Jacques (Penticton, BC) - UBC 27. Alastair Marshall (Hudson Bay, SK) - UBC 28. Jacob Ince (Oakville, ON) – University of Guelph