It’s been a dark day for Canada rugby today, with the Maple Leafs falling 47-19 to their American brothers in Glendale.
It wasn’t that long ago Canada used to have the wood over the USA.
Head back to 2013 and Canada had won 38 of the 51 matches played between North America’s top two sides.
There’s been a huge changing of the guard in the last six years, however, with Canada not recording a win over their big brothers in 11 attempts.
In 2017, the USA recorded their most ever points, triumphing 52-16. The Eagles didn’t quite notch up as big a score today, but they were in total control of the scoreboard from the get go.
The Canadians had the better start to the game, but even after holding the ball for lengthy periods of time and controlling the territory, they found themselves 20-nil down at half-time.
14 of their accumulated minutes came courtesy of an intercept try to captain Tyler Ardron and a penalty try earned from a maul against a 7-man forward pack. Their final 5-pointer was scored after the final siren sounded.
Perhaps the game would have been a bit different if the Eagles hadn’t received a bit of luck early in the fixture. USA’s second try came on the back of a grubber kick into Canada’s goal area from stalwart AJ MacGinty. The Canadian defence was well-placed to cover the kick but it took a wild bounce at the last second and only stayed in the field of play after ricocheting off the corner-flag.
Still, Canada had plenty of time to fight back at that point but the zip seemed to have vanished from their step. If the Maple Leafs give up as easily in the World Cup as they did in today’s match then they could be on the receiving end of some outrageous margins against pool-mates New Zealand and South Africa.
USA captain Blaine Scully was proud of the effort his team put in but knows that his side have harder challenges of ahead them. Their final two matches in the Pacific Nations Cup are against Samoa and Japan, who both earned victories this weekend.
“It’s really good training,” Scully said regarding their upcoming travel schedule.
“We’ve got two very good teams. Samoa are going to be a huge physical challenge. Japan are going to bring an intensity that we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Ardron was equally pensive.
“We’ve got to get our bodies right for the World Cup, we got exposed today and that’s probably one of the best things that can happen early in this competition,” Ardron said.
“I’ve never questioned effort of these guys – the technique and some of the execution can be a bit suspect at times.”
Canada will be hoping to right the ship quickly with upcoming fixtures against Fiji and Tonga – who both lost matches they were probably favourites to win.
The USA and Canada will play once more this year, on September 7 in Vancouver, as a warm-up for the World Cup.
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