Images by Erich Eichhorn (ISN)

Canada took the field for their first game of the 2014 Americas Rugby Championship, looking to match the winning performance that was put in by the Argentina Jaguars only an hour before.The game was a physical and hotly contested clash between two sides that had seen limited time together before this week.

Canada collided with Uruguay in their first match of the IRB Americas Rugby Championships at Westhills stadium Saturday – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

After an Uruguayan penalty opened the scoring, Canada’s Gordon McRorie  – who was starting at fly-half on this occasion – responded to draw Canada level at the 10 minute mark.

What was unquestionably the most impressive moment of the match for Canada came only a few minutes later.  An unforced error from the Uruguayan back-three resulted in a Canadian scrum deep in the Los Teros half.


Canada’s Nick Blevins runs the sideline upfield through two Uruguayan tacklers – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The All-Ontario front-row of Doug Wooldridge, Ray Barkwill and Tom Dolezel stepped forward and – in a series of ever more impressive scrums – battered the Uruguayan pack into submission.


Canada’s Nanyak Dala is held up trying to run through the midfield late in game vs Uruguay – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

On the verge of conceding a penalty try, with Uruguay on the backfoot, #8 Seb Pearson took the ball at the back of the scrum and raced for the Uruguayan tryline.  Close support from Captain Kyle Gilmour saw the ball recycled to Barkwill, who went over under the posts for Canada’s first try of the tournament.


Ray Barkwill crosses the try line for the first score for the Canadian side on route to a 20-6 game one win – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Despite the enormous scrum pressure in the first-half, it would prove difficult for Canada to exploit that advantage, as play began to drift back and forth, with neither team cleanly executing their attacking chances.

Still another Gordon McRorie penalty saw Canada take a 13 – 3 lead into half-time, much to the approval of the fans at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.


Gordon McRorie sizes up one of his 2 penalty kicks to go along with his 2 conversions in the game – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Canada would come out in the second-half determined to keep the ball in-hand; however, it was Uruguay once again who would open the scoring.  An early penalty would draw Los Teros within a single converted try, and that is how it would remain, until a series of Uruguayan infringements opened the door for Canada’s final try late in the match.


Guillermo Lijteinste pulls the ball out of the scrum to his awaiting back row for Uruguay – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

Having been handed a red and then a yellow card in the second-half Uruguay were forced to defend short-handed. It was then that Kyle Gimour, off of some impressive work by Nanyak Dala, finally collected Canada’s second score. McRorie, now at scrum-half, converted the try to see Canada to the 20 – 6 lead that would end up being the final score.

Canada now moves to 1 – 0 at the 2014 Americas Rugby Championship, and will play the USA on Wednesday night, in what will surely be one of the tournament’s pivotal games.

Match Scoring:

Final Score: Canada 20 – Uruguay 6

Canada Tries: Barkwill, Gilmour

Canada Penalties: McRorie (2)

Canada Conversions: McRorie (2) 

Uruguay Penalties: Arocena (2) 

Red Card: Nicolas Freitas

Canada’s Starting Team vs Uruguay:
1 – Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
2 – Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3 – Doug Wooldridge, (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
4 – Aaron Flagg, (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
5 – Kyle Baillie, (Edmonton Druids/Atlantic Rock) Charlottetown, PEI
6 – Evan Olmstead, (Parametta Two Blues/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
7 – Kyle Gilmour, Captain (St. Albert /Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
8 – Seb Pearson, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
9 – Jamie Mackenzie, (UVIC Vikes/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
10 – Gordon McRorie, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
11 – Dan Moor, (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
12 – Derek Daypuck, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
13 – Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
14 – Sean Ferguson, (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
15 – Pat Kay, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
16 – Ryan Hamilton, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
17 – Pete Houlihan, (Edmonton Druids/Prairie Wolf Pack) Edmonton, AB
18 – James Smith, (Shoalhaven RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
19 – Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Regina, SK
20 – Admir Cejvanovic (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
21 – Patrick Parfrey, (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. Johns, NL
22 – Guiseppe Du Toit, (UVIC Vikes) Maple Ridge, BC
23 – Clay Panga, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB

Canada Staff:
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Assistant Coach: Chris Silverthorn
Assistant Coach: Mike Shelley
Assistant Coach: Graeme Moffatt
Manager: Mark Winokur
Analyst: Josh Date
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Andy Evans
Therapist: Chris May
Athletic Therapist: Jessica Smith
Media Manager: Bryan Kelly

Uruguary Starting Team vs Canada
1. Rodolfo De Mula
2. German Kessler
3. Francisco Jimenez
4. Ignacio Dotti
5. Mattias Beer
6. Fernando Bascou
7. Agustin Alonso
8. Manuel Castro
9. Guillermo Lijteinste
10. Matias Arocena
11. Francisco Bulanti
12. Rodrigo Bocking
13. Nicolas Freitas
14. Feferico Favaro
15. Rodrigo Silva
16. Lucas Scarnati
17. Mateo Sanguinetti
18. Juan Echeverria
19. Gabriel Puig
20. Manuel Blengio
21. Pedro Dolsan
22. Tomas Etcheverry
23. Gonzalo Soto