Canada vs. Uruguay: ARC2018 & RWC2019 Qualifier
Canada hosted Uruguay on January 27 at BC Place in Vancouver in the first fixture of the 2018 Americas Rugby Championship and the first leg of two of the Rugby World Cup Americas 2 qualifier. Uruguay leaves with a 38-29 win over Canada, with the two teams meeting again on February 3 in Montevideo, Uruguay for the second and deciding RWC2019 qualifier.
Canada will need to win and to overcome a nine point Uruguay advantage next week to become the Americas 2 representative. There is a consolation in that the loser will be able to have one final opportunity to play in a World Rugby repechage for the last spot in the RWC2019 in Japan.
Canada vs. Uruguay
Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team head coach Kingsley Jones and Uruguay’s head coach Esteban Meneses has their stongest availalbe teams for the RWC qualifiers. Uruguay played last Saturday against the Houston SaberCats, and emerged with a 32-24 win.They made four changes to their starting Xv, with two of them with the availability of European players.
Victoria, BC’s Phil Mack captained the side, his 45th test match for Canada. Shane O’Leary, Kyle Baillie, along with Matt Tierney, were ruled out of content for Saturday’s test match, but may be available for the second leg in Montevideo.
Uruguay was fast out of the gates as Rodrigo Silva split several defenders for a try and conversion by Felipe Berchesi for a 7-0 lead one minute into the match.
Canada evened the score with a Taylor Paris ofload to Evan Olmstead for a try and a Connor Braid conversion. They then increased the lead with a Braid penalty kick and a DTH van de Merwe try, who received an offload from Ben Le Sage. After Braid’s conversion the score was 17-7.
Uruguay used quick hands from Berchesi to Cat to Vilaseca and finally to Leadro Leivas, who evaded the edge defense of Canada for a try and Berchesi conversion to narrow the score to 17-14.
Uruguay had the chance to tie the match with four minutes remaining before the break, but Berchesi’s penalty kick was wide left.
With no time before the break, Mateo Saguinetti barrelled into contact within a few meters of the line and Santiago Arata finished with a try under the posts for an easy conversion by Berchesi to take a 21-17 halftime lead.
Discipline issues impacted the match in the 47th minute as German Kessler was sent to the bin. A penalty try was awarded giving Canada a 24-21 lead.
Ccaptain Juan Manuel Gaminara made a break, winger Nicolás Freitas, the man of the match, offloaded to lock Ignacio Dotti who ran 25 metres for a try on the left corner. After Berchesi’s conversion, Uruguay reclaimed the lead for good 28-24.
Rodrigo Capo added a second try with Uruguay down a man, and Berchesi slotted the conversion for a 35-24 lead. Canada was stunned.
Berchesi had mixed results on the day with kicking as another penalty kick attempt hit the posts.
With ten minutes remaining, a Phil Mack offload to Nick Blevins cut the lead to 35-28. Five minutes later, Uruguay sealed the win with a Berchesi penalty kick to win 38-29.
Patrick Johnston (@risingaction) of The Province tweeted after the post match press conference that “Kingsley Jones is an honest coach in the post-match press conference. Wasn’t happy with defensive line speed. Wasn’t happy with some of the near-goal line decision making on attack. Believes they’ll get it right despite need for a 10 point overhaul. ‘Uruguay took their chances’.”
Canada will travel to Montevideo, Uruguay to meet in the second and final leg of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Americas 2 qualifier on February 3. Uruguay hold a nine point advantage for the 18th ranked Los Teros XV.
Canada had the early momentum in the match, but credit Uruguay with using their backs to regain the momentum in the second half and claim the win.
For more on the 2018 Americas Rugby Championship schedule and the squads, read the ARC2018 preview.
Canada’s Men’s Roster- first leg of the 2019 Rugby World Cup Qualifier: 1. Hubert Buydens – (New Orleans Gold/Prairie Wolf Pack), 2. Ray Barkwill – (Seattle Seawolves/Ontario Blues) 3. Jake Ilnicki – (Newcastle Falcons/BC Bears) 4. Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) 5. Josh Larsen – (Northland) 6. Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) 7. Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) 8. Tyler Ardron – (Chiefs/Ontario Blues) 9. Phil Mack – Captain (Seattle Seawolves/James Bay AA/BC Bears) 10. Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) 11. DTH van der Merwe – (Newcastle Falcons) 12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) 13. Ben LeSage – (UBC Thunderbirds/Prairie Wolf Pack) 14. Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys/Prairie Wolf Pack) 15. Taylor Paris – (Castres/Ontario Blues) 16. Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Club/Atlantic Rock) 17. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Ealing Trailfinders/Ontario Blues)
18. Cole Keith – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) 19. Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) 20. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) 21. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) 22. Patrick Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) 23. Brock Staller – (Seattle Seawolves/Meralomas RFC/BC Bears)
Uruguay: 1 Mateo Sanguinetti 2 Germán Kessler 3 Mario Sagario 4 Ignacio Dotti 5 Rodrigo Capó 6 Juan Manuel Gaminara (C) 7 Franco Lemmana 8 Alejandro Nieto 9 Santiago Arata 10 Felipe Berchesi 11 Nicolás Freitas 12 Andrés Vilaseca 13 Juan Manuel Cat 14 Leandro Leivas 15 Rodrigo Silva 16 Carlos Pombo 17 Matías Benítez 18 Juan Echeverría 19 Manuel Leindekar 20 Rodolfo Garese 21 Agustín Ormaechea 22 Gastón Mieres 23 Joaquín Prada