Canada’s Senior Men’s 15s concluded their two-game Summer Fixtures series with a high-scoring 57-34 loss to Spain at TD Place in Ottawa, ON on Sunday.
July 10, 2022 (Ottawa, ON) – Canada’s Senior Men’s 15s concluded their two-game Summer Fixtures series with a high-scoring 57-34 loss to Spain at TD Place in Ottawa, ON on Sunday.
Tries from Lindsey Stevens, Lucas Rumball, Kainoa Lloyd and debutant Jack McRogers, as well as several successful conversions from a combination of Peter Nelson and Gradyn Bowd, provided the highlights for the hosts.
Prior to the game, due to injury, Andrew Quattrin was replaced by Stevens in the front row for his first international start. McRogers came onto the bench for his first involvement in a senior international 15s match and earned his debut when he entered the field in the second half, as did Piers Von Dadelszen. Matthew Oworu of the Rugby Canada Academy Pacific Pride program also made his first international start for the Men’s 15s.
The first half provided a difficult test for the hosts as Spain scored 40 points with tries from Vicente Del Hoya Portales, John Wessel Bell, Lionel Afaesa Tauli, Gauthier Pierre Minguillon, Tomas Munilla Lo Duca and Alejandro Alonso Munoz to cement a 27-point lead at the break. During the opening 40 minutes, Nelson had pegged the visitors back twice with penalty conversions to make it 7-3 and 21-6 respectively.
The moment of the first half for Canada saw Stevens go over for his first international try on his maiden start for Canada’s Senior Men’s 15s. The hooker powered over the line with a pick and go from just a few yards out after sustained pressure from the Canadians.
In the second half, Spain flew out of the traps with another try before Canada captain Rumball cut their lead by seven after he went over thanks to another pick and go, and Nelson hit the resulting conversion between the posts. Two more tries from Spain in quick succession seemingly put a Canadian comeback beyond reach.
However, the hosts remained resilient, kept knocking at the door and rallied late as Lloyd maneuvered past two Spanish tacklers in the 72nd minute to go over before McRogers forced the ball across the line from a maul to score the game’s final try.
“The half time result really is the one that you’re very disappointed with,” said Head Coach Kingsley Jones. “Second half, it was 21-17 to us but we’re clutching at straws a little with that. Certainly, the first half physicality that we needed, it wasn’t there. Fair play to Spain, they were accurate and they took every opportunity. The boys responded well, it’s a young team for us but the area we’ll have to look at is the start. We didn’t start as well as we’d have liked, especially in terms of meeting the challenge physically.”
“We’ve got to learn to start quicker,” said Rumball post-match. “I think it’s something we’ve done as well in the past is wait until the game’s out of hand but we really dig ourselves a hole to find that spark. If we want to be a top team and we want to be in the top 20s of the world then we really need to start from the go and we can’t wait to jump into that next gear.”
“It was unbelievable [to play here],” commented Stittsville, ON native Conor Keys following the match. “The score was pretty tough, we wanted to win and we were giving everything we could out there but sometimes it’s just the way it happens. It’s hard to be really upset when I’ve said hello and taken pictures with 40 people I haven’t seen in years and just having them be proud of you, of the effort, was just a really good feeling either way. Obviously, we wanted to win and we’re disappointed but it’s hard to be when you’ve got so much support.”