Canada never seemed to get out of first gear against a feisty Uruguayan side pumped up from their country’s World Cup qualification earlier that day. With spots on the tournament roster now very much on offer the stakes have risen for the Tier 3 nation. They responded positively from the news, flying into the tackles and proving very combative at the breakdown. When diminutive flanker Agustin Alonso sent Evan Olmstead hurtling backwards with a tremendous front-on hit you knew this was going to be a contest.
The home side came out a bit flat and it took some time to get points on the board. In fact it was Uruguay who struck first with Federico Favaro notching a penalty from a tough angle. Gordon McRorie even things up before Ray Barkwill, who had a strong match, bustled his way over from close range. McRorie added the extras and soon after another penalty to hand Canada an underwhelming 10 point lead at the break.
It was Favaro who again opened the second half, bringing his side to within one score with another well-struck penalty. Canada just couldn’t seem to get anything going with the experiment of playing McRorie at flyhalf not looking a good one. Jamie Mackenzie’s service was laboured and predictable, and Derek Daypuck looked uncomfortable being asked to run hard lines instead of his usual role as a 2nd 5/8. Mercifully Kieran Crowley brought an end to the calamity and replaced Mackenzie with Patrick Parfrey, moving McRorie to scrumhalf.
Disaster struck for Uruguay moments later, when Nicolas Freitas was shown straight red for what referee Lloyd Linton perceived as a dangerous tip tackle. It was a poor appraisal, worthy of no more than a penalty, but in Linton’s defense surely exacerbated by an earlier warning to Freitas for a similar infringement. Hopefully the video will absolve the midfielder of any further sanction and he will be free to play in Wednesday’s match against Argentina.
The man advantage proved negligible as Canada failed to score any points, making vital errors at crucial moments. Poor handling resulted in numerous knock ons, and a lack of support at the breakdown yielded turnovers to the omnipresent Uruguayan back row. They had arrived with a full complement after all, with a late call up for national 7s captain Gabriel Puig proving a prudent decision. His pace helped fill the gaps left by Freitas’ dismissal.
Uruguay were reduced to only 13 men when Favaro was dispatched for some cynical play, and at last Canada found the space they needed to put the game away through captain Kyle Gilmour. It was well deserved for the unquestionable man-of-the-match, but he will have been disappointed with his side’s failure to really put their inexperienced opponents to the sword. The inability to capitalise on more than 20 minutes with a man advantage will have been particularly frustrating.
Individually there were some strong performances. Kyle Baillie displayed some impressive athleticism with two unsupported lineout steals. Seb Pearson had a few strong carries. Nanyak Dala was superb as a sub for the final quarter. The front row went well in the scrums.
With McRorie back at scrumhalf things were better and he will assuredly be posted there for Wednesday’s match against the Americans. It’s a match Canada lost last year and could conceivably drop again if they bring the same lack of urgency. Uruguay will welcome some of the senior squad for their tilt against Argentina, but will be realistically targeting their final match on Sunday to try and sneak a win.
CANADA ‘A’ 20 vs 6 URUGUAY ‘A’
Saturday, October 11, 16:30 PST, Langford
14 mins – F. Favaro con 0-3
17 mins – G. McRorie con 3-3
26 mins – R. Barkwill try 8-3
27 mins – G. McRorie con 10-3
32 mins – G. McRorie pen 13-3
43 mins – F. Favaro pen 13-6
75 mins – K. Gilmour try 18-6
75 mins – G. McRorie con 20-6
58 mins – N. Freitas red (foul play)
73 mins – F. Favaro yellow (professional foul)
P. Kay; S. Ferguson (C. Panga 75), N. Blevins, D. Daypuck, D. Moor; G. McRorie, J. Mackenzie (P. Parfrey 55); T. Dolezel (P. Houlihan 61), R. Barkwill (R. Hamilton 69), D. Wooldridge (J. Smith 69); A. Flagg (N. Dala 61), K. Baillie; E. Olmstead, K. Gilmour (capt.), S. Pearson (A. Cejvanovic 73).
R. Silva (P. Dolsan 70); F. Bulanti (capt.), N. Freitas, R. Bocking (T. Etcheverry 66), F. Favaro; M. Arocena, G. Lijstenstein; R. de Mula (M. Sanguinetti 50), G. Kessler (J. Etcheverría 51-78), F. Jiménez (L. Scarnati 50); M. Beer, I. Dotti (G. Soto 71); A. Alonso, F. Bascou, M. Castro (G. Puig 55).
Referee: L. Linton (SRU)
Assistants: C. Assmus (RC) & D. Smortchevsky (RC)