With Photos from Erich Eichhorn (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Victoria (ISN) – The National U20 Men’s team fell to Romania 23 – 6 Saturday evening in what was their final game of a two match international test series in front of a packed stadium at Bear Mountain in Langford, B.C.
The Canadians went into the match Saturday looking to even the series after taking a 30 – 22 loss on Wednesday against the Romanians at Shawnigan Lake School.
The first half began with both teams fighting hard. The improved Canadian defense from game one was evident, keeping the match even in the first half until 10:05 when an impressive penalty kick by Patrick Kay put the Canadians in the lead 3-0.
Canada’s Lucien Nel picks the ball out of the scrum as teammate Cam Stones looks on from the bottom of the pile – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
Romania with their size and strength controlled the scrum, while the Canadian team demonstrated their speed and agility when at 20:32 John West broke through with a great individual effort, carrying the ball up field. Romania answered with a penalty kick of their own by Ionut Mazare at 35:07, tying the score 3-3.
Canada came back quickly though, with Patrick Kay kicking his second penalty of the match at 37:50 giving Canada a 6-3 lead.
The U20 lads defense would hold a noticeably more mature Romanian team at bay most of the first half – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
The Romanians responded before the half was over with Marian Gorcioaia’s successful try giving Romania an 8-6 lead with 38:40 on the clock in the first half.
The second half started with both teams fighting hard for possession. The strength of the Romanian players pushed the Canadian players back into their end until 12:16 when Captain Michael Feualifau delivered a hard hit stealing the ball, and charging down field.
#9 Cociria Laurentiu of Romania would attempt to run the ball over his teammates and into the arms of Noah Barker and Jon West of Canada – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
At 18:12, Ionut Mazare kicked his second successful penalty increasing Romania’s lead 11-6. The Canadians showed improved positioning, however the size and aggressive play of Romania resulted in a successful try by Romanian player Tachel Justian, increasing their lead 16-6 with 23:40 minutes gone in the second half.
Canadian substitute, Graydyn Bowd used his fresh legs to break through the strong Romanian forwards resulting in a valuable gain at 26:37.
Scrumhalf Lucien Nel of Canada looks for a teammate down the line – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
At the end of the second half the Canadian team showed tremendous heart, stopping Romania three times as they tried to muscle into the Canadian try zone. However at 37:50 the large Marian Gorcioaia finally broke through scoring his second try increasing the lead 21-6, followed up with a successful conversion by Ionut Mazare. The final whistle ended the match with a score 23-6 for Romania.
Canada’s #6 Fuku Vikilani of the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club, gives the stiff arm to Romanian player as he sprints past to advance the ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )
After the game Head Coach, Mike Shelley stated, “It’s an international competition, with us being so far away from other rugby playing countries, we don’t get this experience very often. We need more matches at the international level because it’s so much more competitive than anything else these players face.”
The next U20 International test match series takes starts May 26th as Canada hosts the United States. Both of these test match series will lead Canada into the Junior World Rugby Trophy, which will take place in Salt Lake City, UT starting June 14th.
Romanian lineout win as Cam Stones looks to steal the ball – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca )