By the time of the final whistle, the numbers on the scoreboard didn’t favour the home side but there were plenty of reasons to smile on a historic night for Canadian rugby.
Fergus McFadden scored three tries and Ian Madigan added four conversions as Ireland came out strong in the late stages of the game to win 40-14 over Canada at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario (ON).
Both teams came out strong in the first half. While Ireland was the first team to score a try, Canada was the first to put points on the board as James Pritchard hit a successful penalty goal shortly into the game.
Pritchard then capitalized on two more penalty goals to tie and subsequently pass former National Team player and current Manager Gareth Rees as the all-time leading scorer in Canadian rugby history. Pritchard has scored 494 points in his international career.
One of the other notable highlights of the first half saw Jebb Sinclair lay out Felix Jones from Ireland with a strong open-field tackle that sent both players to the ground hard.
Canada went into the half down 12-9 but came out firing in the second half. In his own backyard, McMaster rugby player and Lakefield, ON native Tyler Ardron scored his first international try to give Canada a temporary two-point lead.
Things unraveled for Canada afterwards as Ireland’s attack, led by McFadden, proceeded to score 28 unanswered points.
“It got a little away from us there,” commented Captain Aaron Carpenter after the game. “It was unlucky for us but I thought we were in there until the end.”
Despite being focused on the game, Carpenter and players on both sides took notice of the large turnout at BMO Field. The attendance figure of 20,396 set a record attendance number for Canadian rugby. “It was an amazing turnout for Canadian Rugby,” noted Carpenter in a post-game interview with TSN.
The international test, broadcast live on TSN, enthralled Canadians across the country and around the world. Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted his support from Ireland earlier on Saturday with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.
Canada will return to Toronto on August 24 for the second part of Rugby World Cup Qualifiers with the United States. The first leg of the home-and-home series takes place in Charleston, South Carolina on August 17.
PGs: Pritchard 3
Tries: Trimble, McFadden 3, Cave, O’Donnell
Cons: Madigan 4, Jackson
Canada’s Roster for Test Match – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown
1 – Hubert Buydens, (Saskatoon Wild Oats/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2 – Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3 – Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
4 – Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish) Fredericton, NB
5 – Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish RFC) Vancouver, BC
6 – Tyler Ardron, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
7 – John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8 – Aaron Carpenter, Captain, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
9 – Phil Mack, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10 – Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears), Richmond, BC
11 – Taylor Paris, (SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne) Barrie, ON
12 – Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
13- Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14 – James Pritchard, (Bedford Blues) Parkes, Australia, NSW
15 – Connor Braid, (Doncaster Knights RFC/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
16 – Ryan Hamilton, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
17 – Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
18 – Doug Wooldridge, (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19 – Jon Phelan, (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
20 – Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
21 – Sean White, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22 – Liam Underwood, (Queens University/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
23 – Pat Parfrey, (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NB
Rugby Canada Summer Team Staff:
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Assistant Coaches: Geraint John, Neil Barnes, Clive Griffiths
Strength and Conditioning: Andy Evans
Medical Support: Isabel Grondin, Carrie Smith, Nicole Ainsworth, Rebecca Spiers, Danielle Mah, Michael Cook, Carla Brash,
Doctor: Dr. Paul Watson, Dr. Andrew Everett, Dr. Shelby Karpman, Dr. Peet Du Toit
Performance Analyst: Calum Ramsay
Manager: Gareth Rees
Assistant Manager: Mark Winokur
Media Coordinator: Bryan Kelly
Ireland Roster for Canada
1 – Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
2 – Richard Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
3 – Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
4 – Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster)
5 – Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
6 – Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
7 – Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
8 – Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) (capt).
9 – Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster)
10 – Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
11 – Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
12 – James Downey (Dolphin/Munster)
13 – Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
14 – Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
15 – Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster)
16 – Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
17 – David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster)
18 – Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
19 – Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht)
20 – Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster)
21 – Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
22 – Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
23 – Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht).