The match got off to an absolutely perfect start for the Springboks. The Springboks completely outclassed Canada and shot out to a 19-0 lead after just 11minutes thanks to tries from Damian de Allende, S’bu Nkosi, and Cobus Reinach. Things would only get worse for Canada.
Kyle Baillie had just returned from injury, but his night didn’t last long. Baillie was forced to leave the game in just the 12th minute. Baillie would be forced to watch as Reinach scored the fastest hattrick in Rugby World Cup history. Warrick Gelant and Frans Steyn would add two tries of their own and the Springboks would take a commanding 47-0 lead into halftime.
Springboks would take a commanding 47-0 lead into halftime. Canada never touched the ball in the opening 30 minutes of this match. The Springboks dominated every facet of the game.
Canada finally got something positive going when Phil Mack drew a penalty to set up a lineout in the Springbok’s 22. Peter Nelson would send a cross-field kick towards DTH van der Merwe, but the Springboks defense was there to break it up.
Canada continued to apply pressure. Unfortunately, their momentum came to a crashing halt. Josh Larsen (who came into the game for Baillie) received a red card for a shoulder charge to the head combined with a side entry. Canada would be forced to play the final 45 minutes with just 14 men.
Upon watching a few replays, the red card was deserved. Larsen is already attempting to clear the ruck from the side and he uses a shoulder charge to do it. Two illegal actions and he made contact with the opponent’s head is deserving of a red card.
Canada looked to be faced with an impossible task heading into the 2nd half. They were already down 47-0 and had to play with 14 men against one of the best teams in the world. It looked as if South Africa would have a record-setting day, but they didn’t.
Down to 14 men, Canada really got stuck in during the 2nd half. They went straight to the attack and put pressure on the Springboks’ defense. Siya Kolisi would eventually steal the ball to end the immediate threat.
However, a heads-up play from Andrew Quattrin would allow Canada to steal the ball back and it resulted in a lineout inside the Springbok 22. Off the lineout, Jeff Hassler would weave his way to the try line. He would be stopped, but Mack would pass to Matt Heaton who scored Canada’s first try of the match.
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Canada’s defense did well to generate turnovers in the 2nd half. The Springbok’s began having difficulties with Canada at the breakdown. Lucas Rumball and Evan Olmstead were at the forefront as Canada began to come away with turnovers. The backs started to get involved a lot more too. With the forwards being effective at the breakdown and Canada's cherishing possession, the backs were able to get their hands on the ball.
After Djustice Sears-Duru earned a steal, Shane O’Leary sent a beautiful cut-out pass out wide to Andrew Coe. The try looked to be on, but Coe’s pass to van der Merwe went to the deck and ended the opportunity.
Van der Merwe played his heart out against his birth country as he set the Canadian record for most Rugby World Cup appearances. Van der Merwe wasn’t just a threat on the wing today, with Larsen’s red card, he found himself in the scrum as a flanker on a few occasions. His first try of the tournament still eludes him as he attempts to become one of the few players to score a try in 4 Rugby World Cups.
Ultimately, there were times when you could forget that Canada only had 14 men on the pitch. Their try was well worked off the set-piece and they were able to generate plenty of other opportunities. The defense deserves a lot of credit to playing a physical game against the Springboks.
Despite being down a man, Canada maintained their shape and began to win the ball at the breakdown, something they were unable to do in the 1st half. Lucas Rumball followed up his great game against the All Blacks with another solid performance here. Rumball led the game with 13 tackles (at 93%). The Canadians can certainly be proud of their defensive efforts in the 2nd half. After giving up 47 points in the opening half, the defense got stuck in with just 14 men and made life difficult for the Springboks.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, the Springboks still got tries from Schalk Brits, Damian Willemse, and Frans Malherbe to give them a 66-7 victory and secure their place in the quarterfinal.
The big question from this game will be the health of the Canadian locks heading into the match with Namibia. Baillie suffered a knee injury in the final tune-up match against the USA. Baillie is a vital player to the team, and it appears clear that he was rushed back. Baillie looked slower than usual and was not moving the same way.
Ultimately, he was removed from the game after just 12 minutes. We don’t know if he will be ready for Namibia, but if he is not, there will be questions to ask surrounding how Canada’s management handled the injury.
To add to the injury woes, Sheppard was forced to leave the game for an HIA and Olmstead appeared hobbled at the end of the match. Larsen left the game after being handed a red card, but he looks to be the only healthy lock heading into the match with Namibia. Toronto Arrows lock Paul Ciulini is a possible injury replacement that could be called up.
Canada’s next and final match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup will be against Namibia on Saturday at 11:15 pm. You can catch the game on TSN and as always, follow @Bressette4 on twitter for all your Canadian Rugby World Cup news.