Press Release via Rugby Canada
Canadian Men’s Team Hang on to Defeat Namibia in North Wales\
The Canadian Men’s team picked up a 17-13 win over Namibia at Parc Eirias on Friday, setting them up well for their final two November matches in the coming weeks.
There was only one try scored by Canada and it came via flanker Nanyak Dala while scrum-half Gordon McRorie sent over four penalty goals for the team.
Namibia set up a nervy finish though in North Wales when captain Jacques Burger crashed over with five minutes remaining but Canada deservedly held on to win.
Canada, who were forced into a late change when Ospreys finisher Jeff Hassler pulled out with an injury, were looking to bounce back from last Sunday’s narrow loss to the Championship XV. Their opponents meanwhile entered the game very confident following an impressive 58-20 victory over Germany in Windhoek.
Jordon Wilson-Ross was Hassler’s replacement while the experienced James Pritchard came on to the bench for Canada’s second match of November’s tour.
However, Namibia were forced into a change themselves ten minutes into the action as Exeter Chiefs full-back Chrysander Botha was carried off, being replaced by Johann Tromp. This came after scrum-half McRorie had opened the scoring with a penalty goal following an encouraging passage for Canada in Namibia’s red zone.
Botha’s injury meant there was a extended stoppage which led to both sets of players having to keep warm before play resumed at Parc Eirias on Friday.
When it did, McRorie was on-target once again off the tee to double Canada’s advantage as they enjoyed most of the possession and territory in the game.
They almost capitalized on their start on 20 minutes when an outstanding run and offload from flank Dala on the ten-metre saw him find centre Ciaran Hearn, who took Canada to within fifteen metres. Unfortunately the recycled ball was dropped.
Soon after, Namibia enjoyed rare territory and when Canada had hands in a ruck on the right side, fly-half Theuns Kotzé comfortably reduced the arrears to 6-3.
Despite that three-pointer Canada displayed calmness and composure with ball in hand as Sean Duke and Conor Trainor linked up well on more than one occasion to give Canada and McRorie an opportunity to push his side 9-3 in front. He obliged.
However, again the Namibians struck back when Kotzé landed his second penalty of the game before flanker Rohan Kitshoff was shown a yellow card as the teams went into the break on a delicately poised 9-6 scoreline after a bruising first 40 minutes.
The early stages of the second stanza saw Canada kick on as Wilson-Ross’ slick run led to phase play which resulted in McRorie landed his third penalty of the match.
Kotzé could not do what McRorie successful managed soon after and it came back to cost Namibia when Wilson-Ross was again involved before many pick and drives from Canada’s forwards created space on the far touchline for Dala to dive over.
The missed conversion from McRorie preceded Braid being unsuccessful on 66 minutes as Canada were stuck on a 17-6 lead when boss Kieran Crowley sent on Sean White, Brett Buekeboom and Aaron Carpenter for the aforementioned scrum-half, lock Hotson and hooker Barkwill, hoping fresh legs would boost his outfit.
Unfortunately for Canada it was the Namibians who found an extra gear as time ticked on and when captain Burger went over on the short side of their line-out, Kotzé’s conversion meant there was just four points in the tense game late on.
Braid struck the upright late on in a frantic closing spell that saw Namibia press but Canada held on to pick up a hard-earned and morale-boosting win on their tour.
Head Coach Kieran Crowley:
“Namibia put a lot of pressure on us at the breakdown and we had plenty of other opportunities but couldn’t capitalize. I’m happy that we got across the line and won the test match and we have something to build on this week before playing Samoa,” said Crowley.
“I thought we did a number of things well, but our skill set let us down a bit in areas that we worked on this week at practice and those are the things that we need to work on for next week. Samoa bring a strong scrum to their game so it’s going to be a big game from our forwards and we’re going to have to get some shape and not make as many mistakes as we did tonight,” added Crowley.
Fullback DTH van der Merwe:
“We got the win, and that’s what counts, but it was scrappy for us. We struggled to get into our systems and play our game, but we can build off of today,” said van der Merwe after the game.
“Against Samoa we need to get the basics right: we can’t have dropped balls, we need to keep to our structure, not mistakes and hope build off of today’s performance. Our goal right now is to be playing well in the build up to the World Cup so hopefully we can keep that going next week,” added van der Merwe.
“It was sloppy at times but we pulled it together and did what we needed to do. I thought when we moved the ball wide and used our speed we were successful and can build on that moving forward,” said Wilson-Ross.
“It’s an honour to put this jersey on, especially for the first time, and represent your country in a test match, and to get the win it’s even better,” added Wilson-Ross.
Pen: McRorie 4
Pen: Kotzé 2
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Main Photo: Ian Muir/Rugby Canada