CAPTION: Action from the Canada versus USA match earlier on. Photo: GOOGLE.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 – Submitted by Robert Murray – Rugby Canada Contributor
There were some nail-biting moments but Canada erased a one-point deficit at the half to defeat Fiji by a final score of 20-18 at Twin Elm Rugby Park in Nepean, ON.
The match began with both teams trading chances. Canada set in for a physical battle using a group effort to advance the ball rather than employing an individual method. This commitment paid off early on when Aaron Carpenter plunged into the try zone to open the game’s scoring. Called upon to kick again, Connor Braid delivered the ball through the uprights for the conversion.
“We’re playing against a very good team,” noted Carpenter after the game. Fiji came to play in the later stages of the first half. After closing the gap thanks to a try by Nemani Nadolo, Fiji continued to pour on the pressure.
Fiji consistently attacked the ball while on defence, suffocating the Canadian attack and preventing any Canadians from advancing the ball very far. Setareki Koroilagilagi capitalized on two costly penalties by Canada to give Fiji the lead by a score of 11-10 heading into the halftime break.
Coming into the second half, Canada stepped up their physicality in order to regain the advantage on the scoreboard. “We brought all the physicality that we could bring today,” noted Carpenter, adding that he challenged his team to step their game up against a team they all knew were very physical.
The second half opened with Canada running the ball extremely well. Pinned around midfield, Canada kicked the ball deep into Fiji’s territory. After a lapse in judgment from Fiji, Harry Jones sprinted down the field and pounced on the loose ball in the try zone to deliver Canada a lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the game.
Canada’s final scoring play of the game involved a great effort by Phil Mack. The scrumhalf drove the ball downfield before dishing it off to Ciaran Hearn who was eventually able to pass it to Ray Barkwill. The big hooker, who came on as a substitute in the second half, ploughed through a couple of Fijian defenders to score the try.
A late try by Fiji’s captain Akapusi Qera and subsequent conversion made things close heading in the final ten minutes of the game but Canada was able to hold off the Fijian attack one last time for the victory.
On a more somber note, Rugby Canada held a ceremony for the family of Ottawa-area rugby player Rowan Stringer. Players for Canada wore a black armband and observed a moment of silence for the rugby players who died as a result of head injuries suffered while playing rugby last month.
With the victory, Canada climbs to the top of the table in the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup. They currently sit atop the standings with eight points while Fiji sit in second with five points. Tonga sits in third place with five points while the Americans sit in fourth with a single point. Japan sits at 0-2 and has yet to earn a point in the tournament.
Canada will now have a short turnaround as they get set to take on Tonga Saturday in Kingston. The match will take place at Richardson Stadium on the campus of Queen’s University.
Asked about the short turnaround, Carpenter noted that his team’s primary focus would be on recovery and that they would be expecting a physical battle against Tonga Saturday afternoon.
Tries: Carpenter, Jones, Barkwill
Tries: Nadolo, Qera
PGs: Koroilagilagi 2
Canada’s Roster for Fiji – Name, (Club/CRC Team) Hometown
1 – Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
2 – Ryan Hamilton, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC 3 – Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
4 – Jon Phelan, (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
5 – Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish RFC) Vancouver, BC
6 – Tyler Ardron, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
7 – Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
8 – Aaron Carpenter, Captain, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
9 – Phil Mack, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10 – Liam Underwood, (Queens University/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
11 – Taylor Paris, (SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne) Barrie, ON
12 – Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
13 – Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14 – Matt Evans, (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
15 – Connor Braid, (Doncaster Knights RFC/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
16 – Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
17 – Hubert Buydens, (Saskatoon Wild Oats/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
18 – Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
19 – Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish) Fredericton, NB
20 – John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
21 – Sean White, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22 – Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears), Richmond, BC
23 – Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets, Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Rugby Canada Summer Team Staff:
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Assistant Coaches: Geraint John, Neil Barnes, Clive Griffiths
Strength and Conditioning: Andy Evans
Medical Support: Isabel Grondin, Carrie Smith, Nicole Ainsworth, Rebecca Spiers, Danielle Mah, Michael Cook, Carla Brash,
Doctor: Dr. Paul Watson, Dr. Andrew Everett, Dr. Shelby Karpman, Dr. Peet Du Toit
Performance Analyst: Calum Ramsay
Manager: Gareth Rees
Assistant Manager: Mark Winokur
Media Coordinator: Bryan Kelly
Flying Fijians Roster for Canada
1 – Jerry Yanuyanutawa
2 – Tuapati Talemaitoga
3 – Setefano Somoca
4 – Apisalome Ratuniyarawa
5 – Wame Lewaravu/ Rupeni Nasiga
6 – Apisai Naikatini
7 – Malakai Ravulo
8 – Akapusi Qera
9 – Nemia Kenatale
10 – Setareki Koroilagilagi
11 – Aisea Natoga
12 – Leone Tabuarua
13 – Nemani Nadolo
14 – Adriu Delai
15 – Simeli Koniferedi
16 – Viliame Veikoso
17 – Manasa Saulo
18 – Campese Ma’afu
19 – Iliesa Ratuva
20 – Sam Matavesi
21 – Aporosa Kenatale
22 – Jiuta Lutumailagi
23 – Iliesa Salusalu