Americas Rugby Championship: Canada hope to continue winning ways against U.S.A. on Tuesday

If the Americas Rugby Championship is going to benefit one country more than the other three, it’s Canada.



GAME DAY: Tuesday (Oct. 16), Canada vs. U.S.A., 7:30 p.m. at Westhills Stadium. Argentina vs. Uruguay at 5:30 p.m.

If the Americas Rugby Championship is going to benefit one country more than the other three, it’s Canada.

The hosts defeated Uruguay, 28-10 on Friday, Day 1 of the three-game ARC tournament. Tournament favourites Argentina outclassed the Americans 39-3 under the pouring rain of the first game of the Friday double-header at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

For Canada, which remained 13th in the International Rugby Board rankings on Monday, the tournament schedule presents a steady climb in terms of opposition. Uruguay is ranked 21st, while Tuesday’s (Oct. 16) opponent, U.S.A., is ranked 17th, and Argentina, who Canada will face on Saturday, is ranked eighth.

“I’m happy with Friday’s result. A win is good but there is lots to work on,” said Kieran Crowley, head coach of Canada’s senior men’s program.

“We couldn’t build any momentum. In the first half we kicked away too much ball and we didn’t build a lot of pressure,” said the former New Zealand All Black. “Then in the second half we played 20 minutes down a man (due to separate 10 minute sin bins to centre Nick Blevins and No. 8 Tyler Ardron).”

Down 3-0 early, Ardron, the captain, gave Canada a boost with an interception and 50-yard run back for a try. Forward Patrick Parfrey scored another try minutes later and by the 10-minute mark Connor Braid had hit a penalty conversion to make it 12-3.

The Canadians never looked back, despite a punch-up and the subsequent sin bins.

“We were pretty fired up playing at home,” Braid said.

“It’s pretty cool having all the friends and family here,” said the 22-year-old, a James Bay Athletic Association member and a 2008 Oak Bay High graduate.

“I was a little nervous before the game. You don’t want to let anybody down, but we played a pretty decent game and good start to the tournament.”

The Canadian roster is built with just a few veterans from past international squads, with injured scrum half Sean White, 24, another James Bay player and Oak Bay grad, one of two RWC 2011 veterans, along with prop Hubert Buydens of the Castaway Wanderers.

White is day-to-day with a fractured bone in his thumb, something he should be able to play with against U.S.A. on Tuesday (results of which were past press time) and Argentina on Saturday. But it’s also the type of injury that could be made worse, said Crowley.

“The thumb is something he suffered during training. We don’t want to compromise White for the upcoming November test tour, so we’ll see what the doctors say.”

Kyle Armstrong, an Ontario player and former member of Oak Bay’s Castaway Wanderers, played just fine at scrum half but three internationals in eight days is a lot of high-impact rugby.

Quite a few changes will be made for Tuesday, with a lot of young players ready to debut.

Crowley’s use of the team is to build towards the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Weather wise, the Westhills Stadium turf held up well under Friday’s downpours, a test for one of the few artificial playing surfaces approved by IRB. The rain didn’t stop Braid from hitting three penalties and two try conversions. He estimated his longest kick, from near centre, at about 45 yards. After the match Braid stood at the sidelines signing autographs. His soaking wet arms covered not in dirt, but with smudges of the black rubber beads that lay below the green turf.

“We play in rain five months of the year, so that’s no different, but obviously the ball won’t kick as far. The nice thing is it’s not muddy.”

B.C. Rugby Union men’s results from Saturday (Oct. 13): Meraloma RC defeated the Castaway Wanderers 20-13; UBC Old Boy Ravens defeated James Bay 22-18; Bayside defeated UVic Vikes 24-22. Women’s results: UBC defeated UVic Vikes 10-5.

sports@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

Credit card frauds target local businesses: VicPD

Crime Reduction Unit investigating several frauds costing several businesses over $50,000

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Fatherhood draws Victoria man to publish Tsimshian colouring book for children

Leon McFadden is working on 11 more books to finish the horoscope series

Victoria shoppers fund Jubilee hospital cardiac monitoring

More than $40k raised over the holidays at Canadian Tire locations

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read