Canada outlasts U.S. in rugby tuneup
On the strength of a strong second half performance, Canada's men's rugby team picked up a 28-22 win over the United States on Saturday in an exhibition tuneup for the World Cup.
Canada was trailing 15-10 at halftime but tries from Phil Mackenzie of Oakville, Ont., and Aaron Carpenter of Brantford, Ont., helped it rally for victory.
The game, dubbed "The Battle at BMO Field," was played at the home of Toronto FC of Major League Soccer and was the first game in a home-and-home series involving the two countries.
The World Cup begins next month in New Zealand. Canada opens against Tonga on Sept. 14.
It managed in a good start against the Americans on Saturday.
Just five minutes in, flanker Jebb Sinclair of Fredericton nearly ran into the left corner but was ruled to have been pushed out of bounds before he was able to touch the ball down.
Through some ensuing confusion, the Americans tried to quickly get the ball back in play but Canada took over possession and given a second chance, Sinclair made the most of it for Canada's first try with James Pritchard adding the convert.
After that, the Canadians had difficulty maintaining possession and barely threatened the U.S. side of the field. Carrying the bulk of the play, the Americans scored a penalty kick and then got a try from Takudzwa Ngwenya that was converted. The Americans were unable to convert on a subsequent try from Todd Clever.
Before the half was out, Canada was able to close the deficit to 15-10 when Pritchard converted a penalty kick.
Canada re-took the lead just three minutes into the second half.
After the Americans were pinned into their own half, a pass back slipped through the hands of one of their players standing behind the goal-line and Mackenzie pounced on the loose ball for the try. Pritchard added the conversion, giving Canada a two point lead.
Pritchard added three more points to Canada's advantage with a successful penalty kick 15 minutes into the second half before Carpenter added Canada's second try of the half less than five minutes later. Pritchard failed to convert.
Clever made things close in the final few minutes with his second try of the afternoon for the U.S., but Pritchard added his third penalty kick of the afternoon not long after to provide some insurance for Canada.