by Robert Murray
November 23, 2013, LISBON, PORTUGAL (ISN) – Canada closed out their November European Tour in a big way with a 52–8 rout of Portugal in Lisbon on Saturday.
Canada was led by fullback James Pritchard who played the role of hero on Saturday, making 7 of the 9 kicks he attempted throughout the game while scoring two tries to lead both teams with 27 points on the day.
From the opening kickoff, Canada dictated the pace of play. After 10 minutes of battling, the persistence paid off as Ciaran Hearn broke through Portugal’s line, easily scoring Canada’s first try of the game just over 10 minutes into the game.
Almost exactly 10 minutes later, Canada’s leading international points record holder, Pritchard got in on the fun as he chipped the ball downfield before picking up his own ball, carrying it unopposed into the try zone.
After Pritchard added six more points for Canada via two penalty kicks, Portugal responded in kind with their first points of the game coming from fullback Pedro Leal.
With the half in its closing moments, Canada struck again with Pritchard claiming his second try of the game. After dishing the ball to Taylor Paris out of the ruck, the speedy winger did all the leg-work, carrying the ball downfield before dishing it off to Pritchard at the last possible moment.
Despite missing the following conversion, Canada headed into the halftime break with a 25-3 lead.
Much like the first half, Canada came strong out of the gates, refusing to let Portugal back into the game.
Following an early second half penalty kick from Pritchard, Paris was feeling generous again.
After breaking through the line, he dished the ball off to an open Nick Blevins who carried it the rest of the way to the try zone.
The substitution of Connor Braid early in the second half paid off as Kieran Crowley had hoped it would.
Braid made an immediate impact as he got in on the giving spirit, dishing the ball to Hearn who scored his second try of the game off the feed from Trainor.
Braid then got in on the action himself as the Victoria, B.C. native ran right through the Portgual defence en route to Canada’s sixth try of the game.
Braid then used his foot, showing it was better to give than to receive as he chipped the ball to a wide-open Paris on the wing. The Barrie, Ont. native took care of the rest, tacking on Canada’s seventh try of the game.
A late try from Portugal’s outside-centre Pedro Bettencourt would give Portugese fans something to cheer about but it was not enough as Canada claimed the 52-8 victory just moments later.
Alberta’s Kyle Gilmour and Ontario’s Djustive Sears-Duru both received their first international men’s caps for Canada against Portugal, as they came on as replacements for John Moonlight and Hubert Buydens respectively.
The win wraps up Canada’s November European tour with strong showings against three tough European sides. Canada finishes 2013 with a 6-5 record with victories over USA (x3), Tonga, Fiji and Portugal and losses against Ireland, Japan, the NZ Maori All Blacks, Georgia and Romania.
Tries: Hearn 2, Pritchard 2, Blevins, Braid, Paris
Conversions: Pritchard 4
Penalty: Pritchard 3
Canada’s Starting Roster for Portugal Test:
1- Hubert Buydens, (Saskatoon Wild Oats/Manawatu Turbos) Saskatoon, SK – Captain
2- Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3- Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
4- Jon Phelan, (Lille Métropole Rugby/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
5- Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish) Vancouver, BC
6- John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
7- Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
8- Adam Kleeberger, (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) White Rock, BC
9- Phil Mack, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10- Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
11- Taylor Paris, (Agen) Barrie, ON
12- Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13- Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14- Conor Trainor, (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
15- James Pritchard, (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
16- Benoit Piffero, (Burnaby Lake RFC/Blagnac Sporting Club) Montreal, QC
17- Djustice Sears-Duru, (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18- Jake Ilnicki, (Williams Lake Rustlers/Auckland Colts) Williams Lake, BC
19- Brett Beukeboom, (Plymouth Albion RFC) Lindsay, ON
20- Kyle Gilmour, (St. Albert Rugby Club/Prairie Wolf Pack) Edmonton, AB
21- Jamie Mackenzie, (UVIC Vikes/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
22- Pat Parfrey, (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
23- Connor Braid, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Players Unavailable due to Injury or other commitments
Tyler Ardron, (Ospreys/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
Aaron Carpenter, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
Jamie Cudmore, (ASM Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
Sean Duke, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Matt Evans, (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Jeff Hassler, (Ospreys/Prairie Wolf Pack) Okotoks, AB
Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Phil Mackenzie, (Sale Sharks) Oakville, ON
Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish RFC) Fredericton, NB
Liam Underwood, (Queens University/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
DTH Van Der Merwe, (Glasgow Warriors) Regina, SK
Doug Wooldridge, (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Kieran Crowley – Head Coach
Gareth Rees – National Program Manager
Neil Barnes – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Andy Evans – Strength and Conditioning
Michael Cook – Therapist
Carla Brash – Therapist
Dr. Joseph Lemoine – Team Doctor