Canada thrashed by Russia in Summer Series rugby match
Russians earn 1st-ever win over Canadians
Canada typically is not supposed to lose to Russia in men's rugby, but someone forgot to tell the Russians.
Russia picked up its first-ever victory over Canada in men's rugby with an impressive 43-20 win Saturday afternoon at Twin Elm Rugby Park in Ottawa.
"We have no excuses for this game," said Canada's Luke Campbell, who scored one of Canada's two tries. "We did this to ourselves. We need to be better and if we don't get better, we won't win. We need to fix this and soon."
Nick Blevins also scored, while Brock Staller had two penalty kicks.
Anton Rudoi led the way for Russia with three tries, while Aleksei Mikhaltsov had two.
The match was the second of three test games as part of Canada's Summer Series. Canada, ranked 21st in the world as of June 10, is now 0-2-0 after losing its first match 48-10 to Scotland in Edmonton last weekend and wraps up the series against the United States in Halifax on June 23.
No. 19 Russia is 1-1-0 as it lost its opening match to the U.S. 62-13. Canada had a perfect 4-0 record against Russia going back to its first meeting in 2009, but struggled mightily on Saturday.
"It makes the loss even worse," added Campbell. "It stings. It stings a lot and we just need to be better."
Canada's head coach Kingsley Jones admitted his team may have taken the Russians too lightly and while the loss was deflating, it might be for the best in the long run.
"That's the biggest thing: learning from it as we head to November where we might face teams lower than us," said Jones. "We need to learn how to be the fancied team. The lesson from today is there's nothing for granted."
Post-match comments from Canada Head Coach Kingsley Jones after tonight’s loss to <a href="https://twitter.com/RugbyRussia?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RugbyRussia</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/TwinElmRugby?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TwinElmRugby</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RugbyCA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RugbyCA</a> 🍁🏉 <a href="https://t.co/vXEzAvnwIr">pic.twitter.com/vXEzAvnwIr</a>—@RugbyCanada
"This certainly is a big lesson for our team and while [underestimating Russia] wasn't the whole reason, we didn't keep hold of the ball well enough, but I feel at the final whistle I feel there was an element of us being a little overconfident."
The Canadian men are using the June internationals to gear up for a four-team repechage tournament in November that represents its last chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Canadians overwhelmed in 2nd half
The Russians couldn't deny the win over Canada was very rewarding.
"I've never beaten Canada before so this is pretty amazing," said Russian fullback Vasily Artemyev. "We had to come into this game without having any bad thoughts in the back of our heads and I think we did that. We came in with a clear mind and a desire and I think that's what we demonstrated — huge desire and hunger for a victory and it paid off."
Leading 26-10, Russia continued to dominate right from the start of the second half when Mikhaltsov scored his second try of the game.
With a successful conversion, Russia took a commanding 33-10 lead.
"I think that try right after halftime was a real mental challenge for us," said Jones. "There's a 12-point buffer you have to stay in and once you go outside that buffer it becomes difficult psychologically."
Rudoi picked up his third try of the day early in the second half to put the game well out of reach as Russia led 40-13 to the disappointment of the 3,312 on hand.
A penalty kick in the 68th minute rounded out the scoring for Russia.
Canada was able to give fans something to cheer about in the dying minutes as Blevins beat his defender to score his first and the team's second try of the game.
Canada also scored on a penalty kick in the second half. The home side got off to a good start taking a 3-0 lead on a penalty kick early in the game, but from that point on it was all Russia.
The Russians went on to score four tries and jump out to a 19-3 lead before Canada was able to score its first try late in the half as Campbell powered through the defence and punched his way in, while Staller was successful on the conversion to make it a 19-10 game.
The Russians came right back and scored yet again to take a 26-10 lead at the half.