Canada v Wales July 2021

Canada Fall to Wales 68-12 (40-5 HT) – Match Notes

[ed. notes and reflections taken during the match]

Canada started well with a try at 4:20, how Canadian. Cooper Coats was the hero, taking a quick tap from a penalty, weaving through some defenders and finding an alert Ben LeSage in support who found Kainoa Lloyd on the outside with a perfect pass. Lloyd had some work to do as he got low and used his power to bounce of the defender. Peter Nelson gets a kudo as well for the clearance kick that had put Canada inside Wales 22 to start with. Two of the key players in that try don’t play MLR and haven’t recently played XVs on a regular basis in a league environment. Cooper Coats trains with the national 7s squad and Kainoa Lloyd with the Pacific Pride squad. The last time they showed up in regular competitive XVs was February 2020 when both were playing for James Bay in the BC Premier league, Coats playing #10 and Lloyd #13.

The lead didn’t last long and it was some terrible defence from Canada as the Wales #10 split between Josh Larsen and Andrew Quattrin to make a line break. It was first phase ball and was way too easy for international rugby. If Canada play defence like this it will be a long day. Wales didn’t score but Canada were caught napping at the subsequent penalty as the #9 tapped and dove over. Again not the defensive intensity you would want from an international match, players were ambling back, looking for some leadership. It was 7-5 Wales at 8 minutes.

Cooper Coats again impresses under the high ball but Kainoa Lloyd gets called for obstruction on the chasing winger. It was a weak call, if you’ve been watching other internationals this weekend, that would have been allowed in other matches. The call comes from the assistant referee.

Canada don’t challenge the lineout, even though it’s outside their 22. Wales make it close to the Canada goal line but they go into touch. Canada’s first lineout goes well, the clearance kick isn’t well chased though, the defensive line speed from Canada seems slow, giving Wales lots of space to attack. From an ensuing ruck Wales again make a line break, it’s looking too easy and not boding well, it’s a simple inside ball and the openside is a step too slow in getting over. Some good passing by Wales as they’re finding Canada a little slow reacting. The #9 tries to get a little too fancy on a pass and Ben LeSage is on it for the intercept. He doesn’t have the pace to go the distance however and is run down by the Wales #12. LeSage gets a little grubber on the ground before he’s tackled and Cole Davis and Cooper Coats give chase but Wales are back in numbers. LeSage needed some support players to react a little faster on that turnover but well done to LeSage on the play. 11 minutes gone now.

Some imprecision enters the Canada game, they can’t afford that, in this match or in the fall qualifiers. Rumball drops an easy pass from the scrum half, turning over possession. Off the ensuing scrum, Canada is called for taking it down, looks like Ilnicki on the tighthead side is pointed out by the referee. Penalties are 3 to 2 against Canada, 14 minutes into the match.

Wales lineout, a maul, Josh Larsen does a decent job of going through the middle and forcing them to go to the backs. They knock it on in the tackle and Canada clears from the ruck with a box kick from Braude, the chase again is painfully slow and there’s acres of space for Wales to attack. Wales score out wide. A snapshot from that box kick, which ended up landing near the middle of the pitch, plus the defensive alignment of Canada, it had try written all over it. LeSage made a desperate effort to prevent the key pass but was a fraction late on the tackle. Braude was under pressure with little cover at the ruck, made a poor kick, poor defensive line speed from Canada, a try all day long against a good team. 12-5 for Wales with 17 minutes gone.

A penalty against Wales for not releasing, the Canada lineout works well. The ball gets out to Lloyd, he makes yards, he’s done all that’s been asked of him so far, including scoring the first try. Canada get the timing wrong on a pass from Larsen to Vikilani, it gets knocked on, more imprecision. Wales clear, no one home for Canada, Davis makes it back but he’s under pressure. He gets a pass out to Coats but the clearance kick is partially blocked and Wales are on attack inside Canada 22. Huge gaps in the Canadian defence are opening up, it just seems a matter of time until Wales will exploit that. Ben LeSage puts in a huge hit but Wales keep the phases going, not much pressure from Canada on defence, and finally it’s simple hands out wide and Canada runs out of defenders. 19-5 with a quarter of the match gone.

Thoughts on the first 20, outside of LeSage, Coats and Lloyd there’s not a lot going on for Canada. The loose forwards haven’t been a force, the forwards as a whole haven’t been mentioned very often. The lineout is working well. Braude made that one error on the box kick but has shown some acceleration on defence. The defensive line speed is disappointing and gaps are showing up as players aren’t getting into position in time.

Coats opens the second quarter with an error, drops a high ball with little pressure on him. LeSage is in front and dives to save it, penalty to Wales. They go lineout to maul but Canada defend well, Wales make an errant pass and LeSage is again putting pressure on with his tackles. Josh Larsen gets over one of them and wins a penalty for Canada.

Canada’s lineout again hits its mark but the maul fizzles and Wales get the turnover. Canada’s scrum gets destroyed and Wales win the penalty. From the lineout they put together about 16 phases of play, finishing off with some pick and goes and over the line. It’s just basic error free rugby with some power at the end to grind out a try. 26-5 at 28 minutes.

Canada are under pressure again after a good kick and chase from Wales, Coats takes the high ball but tries to run it instead of passing to the middle of the pitch where Peter Nelson is waiting. He gets turned over in the ruck, this time his ambition didn’t go according to plan. Wales again kick to the corner and go for the lineout. Canada’s defence is stiffening up but Ilnicki finds himself on the wrong side of the ruck and is pinged for not rolling away. Wales don’t even bother to go for points or the scrum, they just tap and go. A bit disrespectful to Canada’s defence but they’re playing what’s in front of them. Second phase and they’re in, very poor from the Canadian forwards, very little grit there in the short game. 33-5 with 7 minutes left in the half.

Canada are trying to put phases together but having a difficult time cleaning out at the breakdown. Quattrin runs into contact with O’Gorman and Sear-Duru on his shoulder but they are unable to clear out the lone prop making the tackle. It didn’t look like any release by the tackler but the penalty goes against Canada. Canada are losing the one on one physical battles in the forwards. Wales go for the lineout but botch it and Canada get possession. The announcer reflects that Canada has had one visit to the Wales 22 so far. Braude chips from the base of the ruck but the ball rolls into goal and Wales have a 22 dropout.

Wales kick deep, Cole Davis receives but Wales push Canada off the ruck and gain possession. They chip it ahead, Nelson gathers but at the breakdown Ilnicki and Ngawati aren’t able to move the Wales second row, Will Rowlands, off the ball and another penalty for holding on. Wales go lineout and maul, another penalty but they don’t need it as Will Rowlands shows up again running a hard line and slices through Canada’s defence for the try. 40-5 with 2 minutes remaining.

Off the kickoff Cole Davis makes his presence felt with a great take on the run, unfortunately he has no support and gets turned over at the breakdown. The defender clearly is illegally supporting his weight with his hands on the ground but the referee ignores it and awards Wales another penalty. Canada haven’t been getting any favours from the ref at the breakdown calls but their clearout technique and physicality has been poor as well. When your second row and prop can’t clear out their #13, it’s going to be a long afternoon.

Canada get a penalty in their favour when a Wales chip kick puts one of their players offside. Wales steal the lineout and with time expired make another charge instead of kicking it out. The ball spills out of the ruck and two Canadian players watch it in slow motion without reacting. Rumball does turn the ball over but the half ends when Quattrin does a self-falcon on an attempted pass reception. 40-5 at HT.

Thoughts at the half, disappointed with the Canadian physicality, especially from the forwards. Some very poor clearout work at the breakdown. The backs haven’t really had their hands on the ball in the second 20. LeSage, Lloyd doing well when they do get a touch. Davis with one spectacular play and Cooper Coats with that great play to setup Canada’s lone try. Wales are scoring at a pace of one point per minute, on track for a 80 point game. Braude’s kicking from the ruck hasn’t been great, it led to one try for Wales. The defensive line speed also is wanting. See what the second 40 brings and what the reserve players can contribute.

Second half starts and Cole Keith replaces Djustice Sears-Duru at loosehead, Tyler Rowland replaces Jake Ilnicki at tighthead and Michael Smith replaces Reegan O’Gorman at flanker going to openside with Lucas Rumball going to blindside. Cooper Coats makes the first error dropping a high ball, Wales go on attack and Lucas Rumball, showing a bit more energy to start the second half, goes up fast on defence and then turns the ball over. A good start from the captain.

Canada’s lineout works well again but the maul is going nowhere. It goes wide, Ngawati pounds at the line and Davis and LeSage do a good job at the clean out but the subsequent pass is dropped by Michael Smith. Wales clear and Lloyd does a good job getting back and securing the ball. Ngawati tries a Sonny Bill Williams offload but it’s forward and doesn’t connect with Ben Lesage, scrum to Wales. Wales get called for pushing too early and Canada tap and go, Peter Nelson fires a bullet to LeSage who can’t hold on and Wales counter attack. Wales show good hands and put another try in under the posts, the Canadian defence are putting them under very little pressure and Wales are taking advantage of that time and space. 47-5 with 6 minutes gone in the second half.

Off the kickoff a two man tackle by Rowland and Smith knocks the ball loose and Vikilani is the recipient of the loose ball. He runs into contact and Eric Howard (who replaced Quattrin) and Michael Smith are able to clean out the tighthead lurking over the ball. This brief sequence shows how Canada should be playing, tackles that have impact and strong clean outs at the ruck.

Canada even get a breakdown call in their favour when the ref finally calls a “no clear release” penalty against Wales. It’s in front of the posts for an easy 3 but the game is well beyond that and Canada go for the corner. Canada win the lineout and give the ball to Ngawati who makes a strong run to the Wales 5 metres. Canada get another penalty and have a free play, this is where the halfbacks need to take some leadership and try to cash in that free play. Canada continue to pick and go and eventually get called for sealing the ball, an opportunity missed. Canada decide to tap and go, not completely confident in their scrum. Rumball knocks the ball on in contact and Wales escape a threatening situation. 50 minutes and the score is still 47-5 but Canada have had a good 5 minute period that should have been converted to 7 points.

Wales bring on a new front row but Canada’s scrum holds firm and Wales clear to touch. Canada try a pre-planned throw over the lineout to a charging Ngawati but he can’t hold on, Wales counter attack to the Canada 5 metre line and Cole Davis is the hero winning a penalty at the breakdown. Carson replaces Vikilani.

Wales steal the lineout but knock the ball on the last touch before the goal line and Canada get the scrum. Canada win a penalty at the scrum which merits kudos to the front row of Rowlands, Howard and Keith. Wales steal the lineout again however and are on attack. They manufacture another try although one of the passes looked forward, it’s not reviewed by the TMO. 54-5 with about 20 minutes left.

Thoughts on the 3rd quarter. Wales scoring has been reduced a bit from their point a minute pace. Michael Smith coming in as openside has injected some energy into the team, the replacement front row are doing better although the lineout has suffered a bit. Canada should have scored their own try which would have been a 14-7 3rd quarter, an improvement.

Off the kickoff, the return clearing kick is mishandled by Coats, Howard dives on it but Wales are over it and win the penalty. Percillier replaces Braude and Albornoz replaces Rumball on an HIA. Wales lineout and maul and win a penalty. Lloyd has a nice steal at the ruck but it’s for nought with the previous penalty call. Wales maul it again and Albornoz is making a nuisance of himself, but legally. Wales try to go wide but Cole Davis just tips the pass, another attacking lineout to Wales. This time they drive it over, 61-5 with 18 minutes left.

Canada win the kickoff, it looks like Michael Smith taking it in the air, followed by a jinking run by Coats and Canada are on attack at the Wales 22. Ngawati gets held up in the tackle and Wales get the scrum. The scrum is solid and after several phases LeSage and Smith team up on a tackle, #13 Wales attempts a neck roll clear out on LeSage and gets a warning and a penalty. Percillier and Albornoz are bringing a bit of attitude to the team which is much needed. LeSage and Ngawati are starting to cramp up but there’s only Povey left on the bench.

Canada win the lineout, go to the maul but it goes nowhere. Percillier is looking sharp with his passing, LeSage puts a nice grubber through and Lloyd gets a hand on it in goal but the TMO adjudges it’s not downward pressure. The referee brings it back for a penalty on a high tackle. Canada go to the lineout, work a pre-planned back play which sees Ngawati come in and the ball find its way to LeSage who gets to within 2 metres of the line. Canada forwards drive over the line but the replay shows it’s knocked on. Referee was playing advantage from a previous knock on so Canada get the scrum. Lucas Rumball returns after passing his HIA and Conor Keys comes off, Albornoz moves to second row, Carson moves to blindside and Rumball goes to #8.

Canada work a play off a stable scrum which see Ngawati as the dummy runner, Percillier misses him and hits LeSage who then hits Coats who is coming in on the angle, a pretty play. Coats and LeSage have been involved in both of Canada’s tries. 61-12 with 10 minutes left.

On the kickoff, Canada clears, and Wales run it back. Josh Larsen get stuck on the wrong side of the ruck, not rolling away, and Wales tap and go. The AR catches this forward pass and Canada get the scrum. Canada win a penalty from a Wales shoulder charge, no wrap, tackle. It’s 13 penalties apiece at this time.

Canada put together one of their longest periods of possession, winning rucks, and building the phases. Peter Nelson decides to hoist an up and under that is sliced and goes sideways, a terrible waste of a good build up. Coats recovers but is called for a double movement in the tackle, a marginal call.

Wales take the lineout and go wide, a great tackle from Smith prevents a line break. Lloyd makes a steal at the breakdown but the ref decides to enact the not releasing clause, something he’s been inconsistent on during the match. Wales go lineout again but are called for not throwing straight, Canada scrum. The scrum looks solid, it’s Ilnicki, Howard and Keith in the front row, Albornoz and Larsen in the second row. From the breakdown, Percillier sends a box kick down the field, 10 metres on the other side of half. Wales kick an up and under which they recover but then knock it on and Carson is over the ball to win the penalty. Canada kick to touch and have 2 and half minutes to add another try.

Canada go through a couple of phases but Howard is called on coming in from the side of the ruck, an unnecessary penalty. Wales tap and go and kick ahead, Nelson kicks back and Wales have a lineout inside Canada’s 22. After several phases LeSage is over the ball and the Wales player is called for coming in from the side of the ruck. Canada’s ball with less than a minute left. Albornoz gets called for a double movement in the ruck, Wales tap and go and score after several phases. A disappointing end to the match.

Overall Ben LeSage played well, Cooper Coats if he can learn to handle the high ball will be a keeper at fullback with great attacking flair, Lloyd was dangerous when he had space, Davis had a few strong plays but is still finding his way, he has more to show. Percillier upped the tempo when he came in, Peter Nelson was steady in the kicking department but his attacking options weren’t always the best choice. Young players like Ngawati and Vikilani are still learning to read the international game. Michael Smith seemed to fit right in at openside, Lucas Rumball is better suited to blindside. The physicality from the forwards, especially in the first half was disappointing. The scrum was more solid in the second half but the lineout was more consistent in the first half.

Ben LeSage was man of the match and the kudos for impressing on first caps go to Cooper Coats and Michael Smith.

Here’s a 24 minute highlight clip we found on YouTube.

*Canada Name Match Day 23 to Face Wales on Saturday*

The Canada coaching staff have selected the 23 to face Wales. It’s some of the old and some of the new. The tight five are the same players used in the last World Cup. The only change in the forwards compared to the World Cup are forced by the unavailability of Matt Heaton and Tyler Ardron. Lucas Rumball moves to openside and Reegan O’Gorman gets the start at blindside. Tyler Ardron is replaced by Siaki Vikilani.

O’Gorman is an interesting choice at #6 as he usually plays second row, it’s an indication that Jones wants some physicality in the pack and is bringing some size to the loose forwards. Vikilani is a physical player and it’s a great opportunity for the Burnaby product to showcase his talent.

Jones has gone with 6 forward reserves and only 2 backs. Also returning from the World Cup squad are Eric Howard and Cole Keith, Tyler Rowland is getting his first cap.

With the retirement of Phil Mack and Gordon McRorie, Jones has gone with South African Ross Braude as his first choice scrum half with Will Percillier as the backup. Rob Povey is the other reserve back, Percillier can play 9 or 10 and Povey can play 10 or 15.

Peter Nelson gets the nod at #10, as he did at the World Cup. Ben LeSage also returns at outside centre. Quinn Ngawati gets the start at inside centre, a big opportunity for him. Ciaran Hearn was #12 at the World Cup.

On the wing with DTH, Hassler and Paris out of contention, it’s no surprise the only specialist wing, Kainoa Lloyd gets the start. The other wing is Cole Davis. Davis looked promising when he was with the national 7s side before his injury. He hasn’t hit his full potential yet in XVs, this will be a good test for him to see where his confidence levels are. Another 7s player, Cooper Coats, gets the start at fullback, perhaps a surprise selection ahead of Povey and veteran Parfrey.

The reserve loose forwards / second row will play a big part in keeping the game competitive when they come on. Jones has gone with Michael Smith who will likely go openside, Donald Carson second row or blindside and Lucas Albornoz who can play second row or any of the loose forward positions, including #8.

RWC 2019 Squad (for comparison)
1 Djustice Sears-Duru (vs NZ)
2 Andrew Quattrin (vs SA), Eric Howard (vs Italy)
3 Jake Ilnicki (vs SA)
4 Conor Keys (vs Italy)
5 Josh Larsen (vs Italy)
6 Lucas Rumball (vs SA)
7 Matt Heaton (vs SA)
8 Ardron
9 McRorie/Mack
10 Peter Nelson (vs SA)
11 DTH
12 Hearn
13 Ben LeSage (vs Italy)
14 Hassler
15 Pat Parfrey (vs Italy)

The Wales side they’ll be facing will be missing the top players who are on the Lions tour to South Africa but it’s still a top level professional team. There are 5 uncapped players on the team, 2 starting and 3 on the bench. It’s basically a Welsh Pro 14 side with 5 Scarlets, 8 Dragons, 2 Ospreys, 6 Cardiff players. The other 2 players coming from the English Premier. With Canada’s side having 18 of their players from MLR, it could be considered a comparison of the playing level of the two leagues, MLR vs PRO 14. The betting shops have Wales as a 35 point favourite, you get 1.5 odds on that, Wales by +40 1.87 odds, Wales by +46 2.50 odds.

The big picture is seeing how these players are going to adapt to international play, who is going to step up and book their spot in the team to face USA in September and be part of the RWC 2023 qualifying. A win over Wales in this match may be a bridge too far, but upsets can happen, you have to go into the match with the belief you can win.

from Rugby Canada

Head coach Kingsley Jones has named his side to face Wales this Saturday, July 3rd at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Kick off at 10am ET / 7am PT.

Lucas Rumball (Toronto Arrows) will captain the side and Ben LeSage (Toronto Arrows) has been named vice-captain. Canada will field a young team against Wales that includes 7 uncapped players. It will be a test match debut for Ross Braude, Quinn Ngawati, Cooper Coats, Tyler Rowland, Michael Smith, Donald Carson, and Siaki Vikilani.

The squad assembled earlier this week in a training bubble in Bristol, England where they will be based for the duration of the tour.

Jones will use the UK Tour against two of the world’s top sides as preparation for upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification matches this Fall. Canada will face England on July 10th at Twickenham.

Both UK Tour matches will be streamed live in Canada exclusively on DAZN. Canadian rugby fans can sign up for a free trial by downloading the DAZN app on any internet-connected device, including living room devices such as smart TVs, streaming sticks and game consoles as well as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs or visit Click here for more information on how to watch Canada’s UK Tour presented by DHL and other 2021 Summer Internationals.



DJUSTICE SEARS-DURU Oakville, ON – Seattle Seawolves
ANDREW QUATTRIN Holland Landing, ON – Toronto Arrows
JAKE ILNICKI Williams Lake, BC – Seattle Seawolves
CONOR KEYS Stittsville, ON – Rugby ATL
JOSH LARSEN Parksville, BC – New England Free Jacks
REEGAN O’GORMAN Vancouver, BC – Austin Gilgronis
LUCAS RUMBALL Scarborough, ON – Toronto Arrows
SIAKI VIKILANI Burnaby, BC – Toronto Arrows


ROSS BRAUDE Pretoria, SA – Toronto Arrows
PETER NELSON Dungannon, UK – Mont de Mason
KAINOA LLOYD Mississauga, ON – RC National Development Academy
QUINN NGAWATI Victoria, BC – Rugby United New York
BEN LESAGE Calgary, AB – Toronto Arrows
COLE DAVIS Calgary, AB – Austin Gilgronis
COOPER COATS Halifax, NS – Canada 7s


COLE KEITH Sussex, NB – Toronto Arrows
TYLER ROWLAND Mississauga, ON – Toronto Arrows
DONALD CARSON Delta, BC – University of BC
MICHAEL SMITH White Rock, BC – San Diego Legion
LUCAS ALBORNOZ Burnaby, BC – Houston SaberCats
WILLIAM PERCILLIER Victoria, BC – Stade Francais
ROBBIE POVEY Calgary, AB – Houston SaberCats

Wales Squad

Posted in National Men's XVs.