Carpenter earns record 77th cap in Canada's loss to Romania

Aaron Carpenter earned his record 77th cap as Canada fell 25-9 to Romania on Saturday in its final test match before a Rugby World Cup qualifying series with the United States.

Brantford, Ont. native breaks Al Charron's record

Aaron Carpenter, seen in this file photo from the 2015 World Cup, became Canada's all-time caps leader during a 29-9 test match loss to Romania on Saturday. (Bertrand Langlois/Getty Images)

A poor showing by Canada spoiled a milestone moment for veteran Aaron Carpenter.

Carpenter earned his record 77th cap as Canada fell 25-9 to Romania on Saturday in its final test match before a Rugby World Cup qualifying series with the United States.

"He's worked hard over the years for his country and he is a good man who has been a good servant to Canadian rugby," said Canadian coach Mark Anscombe. "It's just unfortunate that we put in such a poor performance on such a big game for him."

Canada, ranked 23rd in the world, has lost five consecutive games to 16th-ranked Romania, including the game that knocked them out of the 2015 World Cup.

"I thought it was a very poor performance and we didn't do anything we set out to do," said Anscombe. "That's disappointing.

"I can't think of anything that I liked. If we want to give ourselves a chance against the United States, we have to execute better and be a lot more accurate in what we do. We're pretty poor at the moment."

It was Canada's second test match prior to the series against the U.S., having lost to 12th-ranked Georgia by a 13-0 score last Saturday in Calgary.

The Canadian squad will face the Americans in Hamilton on June 24 in the first leg of their 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifier. The second leg is July 1 in San Diego.

Carpenter, a 34-year-old back-rower from Brantford, Ont., was a starter in the game, allowing him to pass Al Charron's Canadian record of 76 caps.

The Canadian team mainstay, who plays in England for the second-tier Doncaster Knights, made his national team debut against the U.S. in 2005.

"I was just trying to focus on the moment and hopefully come away with a win," he said. "We didn't get the breaks today and I got a knock on the leg and had to leave the game. It was disappointing to leave the boys. I would have liked to have stayed out there the whole time. I respect Al so much. To beat his record is huge for me."

Canada looked to have taken an early lead on Romania in the fourth minute on a try by D.T.H. van der Merwe, but it was overturned as he was ruled to be out of bounds. Gordon McRorie then missed a penalty kick from in tight to keep the game scoreless, but nailed a second attempt from farther out in the 12th minute to put the Canadian squad up 3-0.

Romania surged into the lead in the 17th minute as Johannes Van Heerden broke free for a long run before setting up Viorel Lucaci for the try and the 7-3 lead.

Romania's Otar Turashvili was tossed from the game for a red card and Canada nailed the subsequent penalty kick to make it 7-6 at the half.

Canada allowed an early try by Fonovai Tangimana to start the second half, but soon cut into the lead with another penalty kick to make it 14-9.

The Canadian side had another try called back and it spurred the Romanians, who added two more penalty kicks and another Tangimana try to put the game away.


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