Canada Lose Second Test by Score of 36-12: On Aggregate 64-15
Canada completed their two match series with Tonga, losing by an aggregate score of 64-15 over both matches. There’s frustration building among fans with Rugby Canada unwilling to make any changes to the coaching staff. Popular rugby journalists, like Squidge and Bryan Ray, are starting to comment on the Rugby Canada inaction.
from Rugby Canada
Canadas Mens Rugby Teams tour in Fiji and Tonga came to a close on Tuesday afternoon at Teufaiva Stadium in Nukualofa, with Canada losing 36-12 to Tonga in their second of two test matches.
Tonga scored four tries in the first half, taking a 26-0 lead over Canada at half-time. The Ikale Tahi scored again to open the second half, but after spending several phases inside Tongas 22m line, a kick from Robbie Povey into the corner was corralled by Isaac Olson in the 65th minute for Canadas first try of the match.
Tonga responded with another try of their own. Olson scored once more however, sidestepping an incoming Tongan player and diving over the line in the 78th minute, his try converted by Peter Nelson. The final whistle blew shortly after, with Tonga taking the win 36-12.
Tonga paid us a lot of respect by starting with such a strong team, particularly in terms of their front row. Unless youre technically bang on in a game of this level with a team of that physical size, youre going to struggle. We struggled with the collisions, we struggled with our maul, said Head Coach Kingsley Jones. We talked at half-time about trying to win the second half. Small wins for us all the time. In that half we won 12-10, and were very pleased with that. Weve got to keep building. Its unfortunate that we havent got a game next week, because we feel we get better and better.
University of Victoria player Gabe Casey entered the match in the second half at center to earn his first cap for Canadas Mens Rugby Team.
This match capped off three weeks in the South Pacific, which started with a 12-day training camp in Nadi, Fiji. Shortly following a training scrimmage with the Fijian Drua academy (Fijis Super Rugby team), Canadas Mens Rugby Team flew to Tonga for two test matches, which are amongst the first to be hosted in the country since 2017 and the first test matches Canadas Mens Rugby Team has played since November 2022. Tonga won the first game on August 10 by a score of 28-3.
*Canada Name Squad for Second Test Against Tonga on Monday 7pm PT*
Canada have kept their tight five intact from game #1 and made one change in the loose forwards with Sion Griffiths starting at openside and Mason Flesch going to the bench. Lucas Rumball moves from openside to blindside flanker.
In the backs Jason Higgins gets the start at scrum half and Ross Braude moves to the bench. Ben Lesage was injured in game #1 and is replaced by Mitch Richardson. Gabe Casey is on the bench for his first potential cap.
from Rugby Canada
Canadas roster for the second and final match at Teufaiva Stadium between Canadas Mens Rugby Team and Tonga has been named by Head Coach Kingsley Jones.
Concluding Canadas tour in Fiji and Tonga, the match will kick off at 3:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday August 15 (7:00 p.m. PT / 10:00 p.m. ET on Monday August 14) in the Tongan capital of Nukualofa.
Mitch Richardson enters the starting 15 in place of Ben LeSage, who is out with injury. This will be the first start for Canadas Mens Rugby Team for Richardson as well as for Siôn Parry, who both entered the game in the second half on Thursday versus Tonga to earn their first caps. San Diego Legion scrum-half Jason Higgins also moves into the first 15.
Gabe Casey, a University of Victoria player and 2022 Toronto Arrows draft pick who gained experience with Canada A last fall in the Americas Rugby Trophy, could earn his first cap off the bench.
This will be another physical challenge, but I am looking forward to seeing how much we can improve upon last match, which was our first match as a team in almost 10 months, said Jones. We were pleased with a lot of the aspects of the last game. We did a lot of things well, its not often you get statistics of 58% possession and 58% territory. Our challenge is to improve our accuracy and finish those hard earned opportunities this Tuesday.
The second test match between Canadas Mens Rugby Team and Tonga streams Monday August 14 at 6:45 p.m. PT / 9:45 p.m. ET live on TSN+, the new stand-alone digital streaming service from Canadas Sports Leader.
TSN+ is home to an extensive slate of live sports coverage from around the world, including Rugby Canada matches. For more information on TSN+, including subscription options, visit TSN.ca/TSN+.
CANADAS MENS RUGBY TEAM MATCH DAY ROSTER vs TONGA
1. Liam Murray (Langley, BC) Dallas Jackals
?2. Andrew Quattrin (Holland Landing, ON) Aurora Barbarians / New England Free Jacks
3. Conor Young (Yamba, Australia) Greater Sydney Rams / New England Free Jacks
4. Izzak Kelly (White Rock, BC) Bayside RFC / University of British Columbia / Spotswood United RFC
5. Conor Keys (Stittsville, ON) Barrhaven Scottish / Ottawa Ospreys / New England Free Jacks
6. Lucas Rumball (Scarborough, ON) Balmy Beach RFC / Toronto Arrows
7. Siôn Parry (Cardiff, Wales) Rhiwbina RFC / Pontypridd RFC
8. Siaki Vikilani (Vancouver, BC) Burnaby Lake RFC / The American Raptors
9. Jason Higgins (Cork, Ireland) San Diego Legion
10. Robbie Povey (Northampton, UK) Long Bukby RFC / Houston SaberCats
11. Isaac Olson (Vernon, BC) New England Free Jacks
12. Spencer Jones (Cambridge, New Zealand) New England Free Jacks
13. Mitch Richardson (Stoney Creek, ON) McMaster University / Toronto Arrows
14. Kainoa Lloyd (Mississauga, ON) Queens University / Houston SaberCats
15. Peter Nelson (Dungannon, UK) Dungannon RFC / Toronto Arrows
16. Foster Dewitt (Courtney, BC) Westshore RFC / New England Free Jacks
17. Djustice Sears-Duru (Oakville, ON) Oakville Crusaders / San Diego Legion
18. Cole Keith (Apohaqui, NB) Belleisle Rovers / New England Free Jacks
19. Piers Von Dadelszen (Vancouver, BC) Oxford University
20. Mason Flesch (Cobourg, ON) Pacific Pride / Toronto Arrows
21. Travis Larsen (Parksville, BC) James Bay AA / Meralomas / Toronto Arrows
22. Ross Braude (Pretoria, South Africa) Toronto Arrows
23. Gabe Casey (Ottawa, ON) University of Victoria
*Canada Name 32 Player Squad to Travel to Tonga in August: Matches August 10th and 15th*
Canada have selected their 32 player list for the two Tonga matches in August. Nine players from the long list aren’t named, those include front row players Cali Martinez, Cole Keith, Jacob Bossi, Lindsey Stevens, Tyler Rowland; second row player Reegan O’Gorman; backs Liam Bowman, Talon and Takoda McMullin. Some are due to injury as mentioned in the Rugby Canada report. We know of at least three MLR players, one selected, two not, who will be in NZ as part of an NPC training squad.
It’s going to be a tall order to play Tonga which according to their coach, and former #8 Toutai Kefu, is “… probably the strongest team we have put together”. That’s due to World Rugbys new eligibility ruling, so former All-Blacks and Wallabies can now play for their home country, in this case Tonga. Former Wallabies Adam Coleman, Pita Ahki, Israel Folau and Lopeti Timani are on the Tonga World Cup squad list as are former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa, Augustine Pulu and George Moala. Tonga will play in the PNC in July against Fiji, Samoa and Japan before taking on Canada at home in August. After a gruelling PNC it’s likely Tonga will give their star players a rest against Canada in preparation for the World Cup, still the competition will be a step up for many Canadian players who are mostly coming out of MLR.
It’s good to see the players who went to NZ to play a season of Premier rugby get rewarded, Izzak Kelly, Callum Botchar, Gabe Casey made the travelling roster and Jacob Bossi and Noah Bain the reserves. Siaki Vikilani played with the American Raptors then went to NZ to play a couple of games in the BOP Premier. Cody Nhanala out in Western Australia keeps getting overlooked however. Veteran players like Michael Smith are likely focusing on their careers now, for the future Dr. Smith his medical studies likely taking precedent.
It will certainly be a test by fire for some of the players who are looking to become a core part of Canada’s next World Cup cycle.
CANADAS MENS RUGBY TEAM TONGA TOUR SQUAD
Andrew Quattrin (Holland Landing, ON) Aurora Barbarians / New England Free Jacks
Callum Botchar (Vancouver, BC) Pacific Pride / New Plymouth Old Boys
Conor Keys (Stittsville, ON) Barrhaven Scottish / Ottawa Ospreys / New England Free Jacks
Conor Young (Yamba, Australia) Greater Sydney Rams / New England Free Jacks
Djustice Sears-Duru (Oakville, ON) Oakville Crusaders / San Diego Legion
Foster Dewitt (Courtney, BC) Westshore RFC / New England Free Jacks
Izzak Kelly (White Rock, BC) Bayside RFC / University of British Columbia / Spotswood United RFC
Kyle Steeves (Winnipeg, MB) Manitoba Wombats / Dallas Jackals
Liam Murray (Langley, BC) Dallas Jackals
Lucas Rumball (Scarborough, ON) Balmy Beach RFC / Toronto Arrows
Mason Flesch (Cobourg, ON) Pacific Pride / Toronto Arrows
Matthew Klimchuk (Regina, SK) Regina Rogues / Pacific Pride
Piers Von Dadelszen (Vancouver, BC) Oxford University
Siaki Vikilani (Vancouver, BC) Burnaby Lake RFC / The American Raptors
Siôn Parry (Cardiff, Wales) Rhiwbina RFC / Pontypridd RFC
Travis Larsen (Parksville, BC) James Bay AA / Meralomas / Toronto Arrows
Tyler Wong (North Vancouver, BC) Pacific Pride / Toronto Arrows
Zephyr Melnyk (Gabriola Island, BC) Nanaimo Hornets / Pacific Pride
Ben LeSage (Calgary, AB) Calgary Canucks / New England Free Jacks
Ciaran Breen (Victoria, BC) Cowichan RFC / Toronto Arrows
DShawn Bowen (Toronto, ON) Pacific Pride / Toronto Arrows
Gabe Casey (Ottawa, ON) University of Victoria
Gradyn Bowd (Red Deer, AB) Castaway Wanderers / Old Glory DC
Isaac Olson (Vernon, BC) New England Free Jacks
Jack Shaw (Oakville, ON) Oakville Crusaders / Rugby Atlanta
Jason Higgins (Cork, Ireland) San Diego Legion
Kainoa Lloyd (Mississauga, ON) Queens University / Houston SaberCats
Mitch Richardson (Stoney Creek, ON) McMaster University / Toronto Arrows
Peter Nelson (Dungannon, UK) Dungannon RFC / Toronto Arrows
Robbie Povey (Northampton, UK) Long Bukby RFC / Houston SaberCats
Ross Braude (Pretoria, South Africa) Toronto Arrows
Spencer Jones (Cambridge, New Zealand) New England Free Jacks
Kingsley Jones, Head Coach
Robert Howley, Senior Assistant Coach
John McFarland, Defence Coach
David Butcher, Scrum and Forward Coach
Michael Deasy, Strength and Conditioning Coach
Dr. Billy Longland, Team Doctor
Kristy Mueller, Lead Therapist
Alistair Wilson, Therapist
Michael Jordan, Team Manager
Tonga World Cup Squad
Forwards: Siegfried Fisiihoi, Feao Fotuaika, David Lolohea, Paula Ngauamo, Siua Maile, Samiuela Moli, Sosefo Sakalia, Ben Tameifuna, Tau Koloamatangi, Sosefo Apikotoa, Adam Coleman, Samiuela Lousi, Halaleva Fifita, Sitiveni Mafi, Vaea Fifita, Tanginoa Halaifonua, Solomone Funaki, Sione Vailanu, Lopeti Timani, Sione Havili Talitui
Backs: Sonatane Takulua, Augustine Pulu, Manu Paea, William Havili, Otumaka Mausia, Patrick Pellegrini, Pita Ahki, Malakai Fekitoa, Afusipa Taumoepeau, George Moala, Fine Inisi, Israel Folau, Solomone Kata, Charles Piutau, Kyren Taumoefolau
from Rugby Canada
Head Coach Kingsley Jones has named the 32-player squad for Canadas Mens Rugby Teams upcoming tour in Tonga.
Led by co-captains Lucas Rumball and Ben LeSage, the squad includes five players who will embark on their first career Canadian senior national team tour. These players include Tyler Wong and Ciaran Breen, who both progressed through Rugby Canadas age grade and Pacific Pride programs before being signed to the Toronto Arrows for the 2023 season. Zephyr Melnyk, who had a standout performance at the Coast to Coast Cup in June with the BC Bears, is another Pacific Pride player who could earn his first cap for Canada.
Debuting for Canadas U20 Mens Team in 2020 and now travelling with the senior team is Jack Shaw, who also made his MLR debut this season with Rugby ATL. Siôn Parry, who qualifies to play for Canada through his Ontario-born mother, comes to Canadas Mens Rugby Team from Wales, where he has impressed defensively with Pontypridd RFC in the Indigo Group Welsh Premiership.
Returning to the squad after missing last season due to injury are Mason Flesch and Spencer Jones. Flesch had a triumphant return to MLR play this season, starting 14 games and playing over 900 minutes for the Toronto Arrows.
Jones is one of four players named to the Tonga tour who played in the Eastern Conference MLR final on July 1, helping the New England Free Jacks to their first ever Eastern Conference final victory along with LeSage, Andrew Quattrin, and Conor Keys.
The Tonga tour is an opportunity for us to play two tough test matches and get a look at some new faces with a group of players who are very committed to the sport and to furthering their rugby careers, said Kingsley Jones. Building up to the selection of this roster, weve been pleased to see the number of Canadians embedded in professional daily training environments such as the MLR and playing domestic rugby in New Zealand and Australia such as Izzak Kelly and Callum Botchar, and are looking forward to regrouping as a program following what has been a great season for many of our players.
Tyler Rowland, Reegan OGorman and Takoda McMullin, who were named to Canadas Tonga tour long list, are unavailable due to injury.
Following a training camp in Fiji, which will include a training scrimmage with the Fijian Drua academy, Canada will play Tonga at Teufaiva Stadium in Tonga on August 10 and 15. More information, including kick-off times and how to follow, will be announced in the coming weeks.