Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team heads to Toronto to face Samoa at BMO Field on Wednesday with 0-2 PNC record after Friday night defeat
BURNABY, BC – Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team fell to 0-2 at the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup after a 28-18 loss to Tonga at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, B.C., Friday evening.
Aaron Carpenter scored two tries for Canada while Sonatang Takalua also had a brace and was named player of the game.
“I thought the first 15 or so minutes we played really,” head coach Kieran Crowley said. “After that our set piece didn’t go well and then we just turned over too many balls. There was improvement in a lot of areas but still a lot of areas to improve.”
Canada got off to a perfect start as Carpenter put the home side up 5-0 inside three minutes after he bulldozed his way over the line from a pick-and-go. Gordon McRorie kicked the conversion and Canada, who had beaten Tonga four straight times heading into the game, were up 7-0.
Despite Ciaran Hearn leaving with an injury only eight minutes in, the lead was soon 10-0 as McRorie slotted home a penalty in the 12th minute.
“I think we can start well and [hopefully] we can [start to] put that whole 80 minutes together,” captain Tyler Ardron said. “The start and finish were strong for us today so if we can fix that middle part we should be good.”
Tonga had a chance to cut the deficit immediately but Kurt Morath’s penalty sailed left of the posts, however, he made up for it in the 19th minute to make it 10-3.
Canada would open up a 15-3 lead minutes later as Liam Underwood broke through the Tongan line before offloading to Carpenter at the last second, who cruised in for the first multi-try effort of his test career.
Tonga would begin to fight back though and cut the lead to 15-10 heading into the break. Underwood was shown a yellow card in the 34th minute and two minutes later Takalua had his first try of the night.
“You can’t afford to have those things and Tonga made us pay for it,” Crowley said. “Admittedly, they were system areas that shouldn’t happen with a player off so we’ve got to look at it.”
It took less than five minutes for Tonga to have their first lead of the game as Otulea Katoa dived over in the corner after a driving maul from a lineout while Morath added the extra two points.
Morath kicked his second penalty of the night in the 52nd minute to push the lead to 20-15 but McRorie replied immediately to make it 20-17. After another Morath penalty pushed the lead to 23-18, Tonga sealed victory when Takalua scored his second try after being set up by lock Steve Lafi, who pierced through the Canadian line.
Canada pressured the Tongan line the final 10 minutes, and despite yellow cards to Telusa Veainu and Alisona Taumololo, Canada couldn’t find a final try.
“We’ve got to look at where we can improve,” Crowley said. “We had those good periods but you’ve got to do it for the whole game. Take your hat off to Tonga, they fought back, got their game going, made a couple of line breaks which led to points and they deserved their win in the end. We’ve got to regroup, look at the footage and learn from it.”
The last time the sides met was in the 2013 Pacific Nations Cup when Canada won 36-27. Canada is 5-3 all-time against Tonga.
Canada lost its opening round fixture against Japan 20-6 and next face a Samoan side that beat the USA in their first match before drawing 30-30 with Fiji on Friday, but Ardron remains upbeat as Canada searches for its first win of 2015.
“We’re really exciting with ball in hand,” Ardron said. “I haven’t seen another team as physical in the tackle area as us all tournament so if we keep that strength and build on a couple of things we’re not top on, we should be good.”
Canada is back in action on Wednesday when they face Samoa at BMO Field. Also Wednesday, Fiji battle Japan while the USA face Tonga. Tickets are available at events.rugbycanada.ca, while all three games will be shown LIVE on TSN 5.
Canada’s Roster vs. Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup – (Club), Hometown, Province
1 – Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2 – Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
3 – Andrew Tiedemann – (Plymouth Albion/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
4 – Jon Phelan – (Doncaster Knights/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QB
5 – Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
6 – Richard Thorpe – (London Welsh) Beckenham, England
7 – John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8 – Tyler Ardron, captain – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
9 – Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10 – Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
11 – DTH Van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Regina, SK
12 – Connor Braid – (Unattached/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
13 – Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14 – Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, ON
15 – Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
16 – Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac/Atlantic Rock) Montreal QB
17 – Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18 – Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19 – Callum Morrison – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
20 – Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
21 – Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22 – Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
23 – Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Tonga’s roster vs. Canada in the Pacific Nations Cup:
2. Elvis Taione
3. Halani Aulika
4. Steve Mafi
5. Joe Tuineau
6. Hale T Pole
7. Nili Latu
8. Viliami Ma’afu
9. Sonatane Takulua
10. Kurt Moarath
11. Fetu’u Vainikolo
12. Viliami Tahitua
13. Sione Piukala
14. Telusa Veainu
15. Vungakoto Lilo
16. Sosefo Sakalia
17. Alisona Taumalolo
18. Sila Puafisi
19. Uili Kolo’ofa’i
20. Viliami Fihaki
21. Sosefo Ma’ake
22. Latiume Fosita
23. Otulea Katoa
Tries: Aaron Carpenter (2)
Conversions: Gordon McRorie (1)
Penalties: Gordon McRorie (2)
Tries: Sonatang Takalua (2), Otulea Katoa (1)
Conversions: Kurt Morath (2)
Penalties: Kurt Morath (3)