Canada Falls To England At Twickenham
Source: The Canadian Press/Andrew Matthews
Conor Keys was penalized on the first ruck of the match after England kicked off to Canada. The ensuing lineout was well executed and Jamie Blamire dotted down the first try of the match just 60 seconds into the game. However, Canada would respond nicely. Canada came right back, but England defended their lineout well. Finally, Canada was awarded a scrum 5m out from the line. Canada was awarded a penalty and Ross Braude took a quick tap to score his first try.
Braude’s try would prove to be the highlight of the match for Canadian fans. England was quickly given another 5m lineout opportunity. Reegan O’Gorman was given a yellow card for pulling down the maul and a penalty try was awarded. Adam Radwan and Joe Cokanasiga combined for three tries while O’Gorman was in the bin and the flood gates would never close again.
England would finish the day with 10 tries. Blamire and Radwan would each have hat tricks. Cokanasiga finished his day with two. Man of the Match Ellis Genge had one and the penalty try rounds out the 10. Marcus Smith was a perfect 9/9 on conversions and provided one of game’s great moments as he was informed that he was called up to the Lions when he left the pitch in the 65th minute.
Kainoa Lloyd scored his second try in as many games, while Peter Nelson was 2/2 with conversions. Ultimately, Canada fell 70-14 at Twickenham.
I think captain Lucas Rumball summed up the game quite well in his post match interview. “I think we can definitely pick some bright spots out of it, but I know I’m pretty disappointed and I know the boys are as well. We talked about raising the bar every week and just building towards the games we have in September and October and I think we let ourselves down a little bit tonight,” said Rumball. It is a pretty spot-on assessment of how that game went.
The bright spots were certainly the Braude try and the way they played with ball in hand. Canada showed plenty of heart in marching back up the pitch to answer England’s opening score. The attack was finding gaps in the defense and England began conceding penalties. This would be a theme that would continue throughout the match as England was penalized 10 times in the opening half and 14 times total.
When Canada got the ball in their hands, they actually moved it quite well. Lloyd’s try was another example of this. The forwards did well to secure the breakdown to open up the space for the backs. Braude went out to Nelson before Ben LeSage found Lloyd on the wing.
Ultimately, LeSage ends the tour with assists on three of Canada’s four tries. This try also came during a yellow card to Lewis Ludlow for a knee to the face of Jake Ilnicki. It was nice to see Canada take advantage of the extra man (though they did concede a try toward the end of the 10 minutes).
Cooper Coats said last week that he would work on the high ball in training. It certainly paid off as the fullback looked significantly more comfortable under the high ball. Coats also did well to insert himself into the attack.
Another positive was the set piece. The scrum was once again 100% (3/3) and Canada actually finished the game with a higher lineout percentage than England (86.7% vs 81.3%). However, although the scrum was 100% on their own put-ins, England certainly drove them back. Braude did well to get the ball out on a few occasions.
The biggest area of the game or reason to be disappointed was the tackling. Canada made 102 tackles, but missed 40 (72%). The missed tackles led to line break after line break and try after try. Due to the poor tackling, England managed to rack up 650m carries compared to Canada’s 162m. The reason that this is disappointing to see is, as Rumball said, they talked about raising the bar week after week. That bar was lowered this week.
The tackling against Wales was brilliant for most of the match. This week saw far, far too many missed tackles. It will certainly need to be cleaned up against the USA in the fall. On an individual level Rumball had a team leading 17 tackles (90%), with Keys (10 tackles at 83%), and Corey Thomas (9 tackles at 90%) right behind him.
The other area where Canada struggled was defending the maul. Blamire’s hattrick was a direct result of England’s pack dominating Canada. Ultimately, all of England’s tries came through a missed tackle or a driving maul off the lineout. England was also able to shut down Canada’s maul on a few occasions which resulted in missed opportunities and points being left off the board.
Ultimately, despite a similar score line, the match against England left plenty to be desired. Canada was not expected to win either of these games, but that week-to-week improvement was not quite there on Saturday.
Kingsley Jones and Canada will now set their sights on the RWC 2023 qualifiers against the USA in the fall.
The USA themselves had a disappointing performance against Ireland to follow up a good showing with England the week before. Both sides will have plenty to improve upon as they aim to qualify for the next Rugby World Cup.
All stats from England Rugby