Canada put behind them the disappointment of last weekend's defeat to Samoa, as they put Russia to the sword with a convincing 35-3 scoreline.
The final score didn't tell the full story however, as a defensive rearguard action kept Russia at bay for the final twenty minutes of this pulsating match.
Head coach Kieran Crowley was pleased that his team had put behind them the disappointment of last week: "The defensive side of our game in the final period was outstanding. We‚re very pleased with the win, and we scored some good tries, and to keep the other team tryless was a good performance," he said.
Jeff Hassler, making his first start for the NSMT put in a man of the match performance, with two tries, and an assist for Taylor Paris. He said afterwards: "There was no doubt in my mind that I could make an impact," he said.
Speaking about his first try, having raced 80 metres from his own 22 metre line, he was full of praise for the players who set him up: "That was nothing to do with me, that was everybody else before that involved in the turnover, and with Eric and Harry setting me up, really all I had to do was run as fast as I could."
Knowing that a good result was needed after that demoralizing loss to Samoa, Canada raced out of the blocks, and took the game to Russia. James Pritchard kicked his first penalty after four minutes, before Russian fullback Igor Klyuchnikov replied five minutes later.
Canada spent a long period inside the Russian half before the Russians pressurized. But they lost possession just inside Canada‚s 22, with Eric Wilson turning over ball, and passing to Harry Jones, who fed Hassler for his tremendous run down the line for the first of his brace of tries.
Pritchard converted before kicking another penalty five minutes before half-time. But although the gap was 16-3 at the break, Russia were able to threaten, making a couple of breaks before the whistle, with Ciaran Hearn in particular the man in the right place to top the attack.
The second half began with a Canadian onslaught. Taylor Paris dotted down between the posts, but that was only for the brilliance of Jeff Hassler. The winger caught a high kick on his 22 metre line, and while facing his own line, turned through a tackle before racing deep into Russian territory
before laying the ball to Paris who did the rest.
Nick Blevins scored three minutes later, diving over after a charged down Russian kick. Pritchard converted both tries for a 30-3 lead. The final score of the night came as Hassler scored his second on 59. A run from halfway to beat three men, saw him go over in the corner, and put the finishing touch to a night of magic for the Canadians.
With 20 minutes to go though, the game wasn‚t finished, and it was the turn of the defensive side of the team to shine, as Russia laid siege to the Canadian line for the rest of the game.
Blevins saw a second yellow card in succession with two minutes left for a high tackle.
The defensive red line led to Crowley's praise afterwards as he saw his side keep Russia at bay, leaving them with only a solitary penalty goal for their efforts.
Debutant Harry Jones was pleased to have gained his first cap: "It was one of my dreams to have played for the national team. I've done it for the sevens, but to do it for the fifteens is the real deal, so I'm really excited about it," he said.
His appearance was cut short though as he explained: "I had just come back from a hamstring injury, and it was feeling pretty good, but I felt it in a tackle pretty early. I was a bit stubborn as it was my first cap so I tried to stay on for ten minutes."
Talking about his part in the first try, he only had to say: "It was just simple hands really, I didn't do too much, as Jeff had some pretty good pace."
The team now move on to Oxford for the final match of the Fall Tour, as they take on the NZ Maori on Friday night.
1 Andrew Tiedemann
2 Ryan Hamilton
3 Jason Marshall
4 Jebb Sinclair
5 Tyler Hotson
6 Tyler Ardron
7 Chauncey O‚Toole
8 Aaron Carpenter (Capt.)
9 Eric Wilson
10 Harry Jones
11 Taylor Paris
12 Nick Blevins
13 Ciaran Hearn
14 Jeff Hassler
15 James Pritchard
16 Hubert Buydens for Aaron Carpenter (76)
17 Ray Barkwill for Ryan Hamilton (61)
18 Doug Wooldridge for Jason Marshall (64)
19 Jon Phelan for Tyler Hotson (52)
20 John Moonlight for Jebb Sinclair (64)
21 Nanyak Dala for Chauncey O‚Toole (43)
22 Phil Mack for Eric Wilson (49)
23 Connor Braid for Harry Jones (23)
TEAM 1ST 2ND FINAL
CANADA 16 19 35
RUSSIA 3 0 3
Tries: Hassler 19 59, Paris 43, Blevins 46
Conversion: Pritchard 20 44 47
Penalty Goals: Pritchard 4 9 35