Canada beat USA 33-18
June 17, 2006
Edmonton, AB - Canada scored two second half tries and kept the USA under control for much of the second frame in winning 33-11 to take fifth place in the 2006 Barclays Churchill Cup.
It was a solid effort by the US in the first half hour with centre Paul Emerick and flanker Todd Clever giving good account of themselves. Canada got into card trouble on a couple of occasions, but managed to weather most of the storm, only giving up one short-handed try in the second half following the binning of Rod Snow.
James Pritchard had 18 points from a try, three penalties and two conversions for the Canadians, cementing his return into the side after a three year hiatus.
For Snow it marked his return to the national team after a three year absence, but his first while acting as a domestic player in Newfoundland, and not a professional in Wales. He was happy with his performance, but was sheepish about his send-off offence.
"I was disappointed the referee missed the first call, I was irritated, but I deserved the yellow card," Snow confirmed with an ironic grin of a veteran. "Fortunately for me we were able to score while I was off the park."
For James Pritchard this was his third game after also sustaining three years away, and while he had a good with the boot, he feels there is more work to be done.
"I thought (my) kicking came off well, which is always a bonus when you are striking the ball well, but I have got to do more on the field," said the Australian native, who qualifies for Canada through a Saskatchewan born grandfather. "When you go off for ten in the bin you just lose so much momentum and I thought that was what happened. Credit to the team they all pulled together and we got it done."
"We still had a few lapses but having Rod back in the team helped us, having Morgan (Williams) with Ander (Monro) at the halfbacks gave us some composure, and this guy over here (as he pointed to James Pritchard who was being interviewed nearby), his goal-kicking is world class," said head coach Ric Suggitt, who got his first win of 2006 in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta. "So we are starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together and yeah, I think we are happy with that."
Suggitt's counterpart on the day, New Zealander Peter Thorburn, identified fitness as a key issue on the day.
"The fitness levels right across the board are not sufficient to play the game at any sustained pace," said a solemn Thorburn, who has three losses from three starts as the interim coach for the Eagles in 2006. "Until that's fixed we'll be under pressure. It's not as simple as that but that is the basis."
He says players will be given programs to work on, but there is not much time before they play Barbados in the first round of the World Cup qualifiers.
Canada opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a thirty five metre penalty, James Pritchard notching the kick for a 3-0 lead.
The US began to put together a number of good stretches of rugby with Paul Emerick driving close to the line, before Pat Riordan was called for killing the ball in the ruck, giving the US its second penalty opportunity of the half. Fly-half Jason Kelly made sure of this attempt - putting it through from the left of the posts at the 22 metre line, grazing the left post, to tie the game at 3-3.
Pritchard nudged Canada into the lead in the 20th minute with a twenty-five metre penalty effort - 6-3.
Canada organized a big drive in the 25th minute - the forwards barging their way through the US defenders. The ball then was worked left, with a miss out pass getting to Chris Pack who launched a long pass to Justin Mensah-Coker who stretched his long frame across the line for the first try of the game. Pritchard hit the touchline conversion to give Canada a 13-3 lead.
Jason Kelley brought the Eagles three points closer with a thirty metre effort from straight on the posts - 13- 6 Canada after 28 mins.
A good Canadian opportunity was lost in the 34th minute as a quick tap penalty by Morgan Williams saw Sean Michael Stephen get close to the line, but ultimately obstruction by Canada saw the Eagles escape the threat.
James Pritchard was guilty of killing the ball, the third or fourth time Canada had been caught, and he received a ten minute yellow card, taking Canada's goal kicker.
It appeared Canada had a sure try as Mike Pyke took the ball at pace following a good run by Adam Kleeberger. But Jeff Hullinger tracked him in over fifty metres, ankle tackling him at the three metre line to end the threat. 13-6 at the half.
Justin Mensah Coker got his second of the game when a quick tap penalty got Canada, through Stan McKeen, down to the Canadians five. On the recycle ball Williams spun the ball to Kleeberger who made the short pass to Mensah-Coker who scored in the left corner. The conversion was missed but Canada held the lead at 18-6 after 43 minutes.
In the 47th minute Rod Snow was shown the gate for ten minutes after referee Andrew Small said he would not be told what to do. The US got a drive from the ensuing penalty, pushing the shorthanded Canada over the line with Todd Clever scoring to get the US back in the game at 18-11.
It appeared Canada might get a short-handed try a moment later as Mike Pyke went with a chip to the wing - the ball just going off the fingers of Justin Mensah-Coker, the tall winger knocking on in-goal netting the USA a scrum on its own five metre line.
Despite being a man down and Rod Snow on the sideline the Canadians got control of the ball from the scrum and masterfully drove a maul over the line, with Morgan Williams scoring the try. With the Pritchard conversion it was 25 -11 Canada after 52 minutes.
A great Canadian initiative saw Sean Michael Stephen running hard for forty metres with the ball cycling to the right where a US offside gave James Pritchard a sitter of a penalty in front of the posts. 28-11 after 66 minutes.
Mike Pyke had a huge run in the 74th minute, sailing to the ten metre line before off-loading to the supporting James Pritchard who was tripped up at the line, but fell on the ball for his first try in his current campaign with Canada. He missed his own conversion, but the score was large at 33-11.
Alipate Tuilevuka scored in the 83rd minute to nudge the US a bit closer, but the final score was 33-18.
USA center Emerick was succinct in his appraisal of how the young Americans did on the day: "We've got some good athletic talent but they are untested in the test match arena. We've got a lot of new faces, a lot different from the team we had last year that beat Canada up here, so they are untested, but they are coming along," he said.
Try: Justin Mensah Coker (2), Morgan Williams, James Pritchard
Conversion: James Pritchard (2)
Penalties: James Pritchard (3)
Try: Todd Clever, Alipate Tuilevuka
Penalties: Jason Kelly (2)
UNITED STATES vs. Canada, Saturday, June 10, 4:30 p.m. MT UNITED STATES 15. Jeff Hullinger (BYU) 14. Mike Palefau (Haggis) 13. Paul Emerick (Parma) 12. Albert Tuipulotu (Parma) 11. Jeremy Nash (Chicago Lions) 10. Jason Kelly (Denver Barbarians) 9. Tyson Meek (Denver Barbarians) 1. Mike MacDonald (Leeds) 2. Patrick Bell (Life University) 3. John Tarpoff (St. Louis) 4. Carl Hansen (Olympic Club) 5. Mike Mangan (Chicago Griffins) 6. Scott Lawrence (Life University) 7. Todd Clever (Mahurangi) 8. Kort Schubert (Cardiff) (capt.)
16. Owen Lentz (Washington) 17. Chris Osentowski (Belmont Shore) 18. Brian Schoener (OPSB) 19. Mark Aylor (Austin) 20. Mose Timoteo (Hayward)
21. Alipate Tuilevuka (BYU) 22. Brian Barnard (Golden Gate)
18 Brian Schoener for 4 Carl Hansen @ 61 mins
17Chris Ostenkowski for 1Mike MacDonald @ 61 mins
20 Mose Timoteo for 9 Tyson Meek @ 61 mins
19 Mark Aylor for 6 Scott Lawrence @ 71 mins
21 Alipate Tuilevuka for 10 Jason Kelly @ 74 mins