MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY – Canada dropped the opening match of their World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 campaign, losing 31-16 against Namibia on a rainy Tuesday morning at Estadio Charrua.
Namibia put up the first 12 points of the game and never trailed. On the strength of a powerful pack, the African side forced their agenda, scoring five tries to the Canadians’ two.
Lachlan Currie and Jake Thiel touched down for the Canadians, while Will Kelly slotted two penalties. However, the Canadians were undone by the try-scoring of Namibia’s Obert Nortje, PW Steenkamp, Prince Gaoseb. Brandon Groenewald and Patrick Schickerling. Namibia’s Cliven Loubser also his three conversions.
"It was a tough day today," said Canada coach Jeff Williams. "We didn't play to the conditions, we made too many technical erroers and with two yellow cards, we were unable to generate any momentum. Credit to Namibia because they stuck to their game plan and used the maul effectively."
Canada managed to cut the Namibian lead to just four points, 12-8, at halftime, but 10 minutes into the second half, Namibia put up a converted try and never allowed Canada to gain a foothold.
Canada will now prepare to face Japan in their second pool play match Sept. 2 (1pm ET/10 am PT). You can watch live via www.WorldRugby.org.
The Canadians are now 1-2 all-time against Namibia at the U20 Trophy. In 2015, Canada won 35-20, but in 2014, it was Namibia coming out on top, 37-25.
Canada qualified for the U20 Trophy after beating the USA in a two-game qualifying series in Edmonton. Canada cruised to a 46-12 victory in Game 1 and, despite a 27-25 defeat in Game 2, Canada qualified by virtue of a 71-39 aggregate win. Canada failed to qualify for the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2016.
Canada have reached the World Rugby U20 Trophy final twice in the last four years. In the 2015 final, they were beaten 49-24 by Georgia and, in 2013, they lost 45-23 against Italy. The team has yet to qualify for the Championship since it was reduced to a 12-team format in 2009.
With Namibia on the front foot early on, they were rewarded in the eighth minute. Set up by a driving maul, Namibia’s Obert Nortje put the first try on the board and, with a conversion from Cliven Loubser, they were up 7-0.
Just over 10 minutes later, Namibia touched down again after a nifty back and forth passing effort down the left wing set up PW Steenkamp to dive over.
Canada swung back, with Lachlan Currie finishing off a strong thrust forward and putting Canada on the board with their first try of the tournament in the 25th minute.
Will Kelly closed the gap to four points, 12-8, in the 34th minute when he slotted a short penalty from in front of the sticks.
The strong Namibian pack continued to lean on the Canadians in the early moments of the second half and, with Canadian captain George Barton in the sin bin, Prince Gaoseb pushed over for his team’s third try of the match in the 49th minute. A conversion from Loubser put Namibia ahead 19-8.
With Canada eventually finding some space in the Namibian end, they earned a penalty that Kelly slotted to make it 19-11.
However, just two minutes later, Namibia’s Brandon Groenewald put up his team’s fourth try of the contest to go ahead 24-11.
Canada’s Jake Thiel scored in the 72nd minute off an impressive 40-metre run off a penalty, but Canada was unable to get any closer.
Namibia’s Patrick Schickerling scored at the death and Loubser converted.
Tries: Currie (1), Jake Thiel (1)
Penalties: Kelly (2)
Tries: Nortje (1), Steenkamp (1), Gaoseb (1), Groenewald (1), Schickerling (1)
Conversions: Loubser (3)
Try – Obert Nortje (NAM)– 7’
Conversion – Cliven Loubser (NAM)– 8’
Try – PW Steenkamp (NAM)– 19’
Try – Lachlan Currie (CAN) – 25’
Penalty – Will Kelly (CAN) – 34’
Try – Prince Gaoseb (NAM) – 49’
Conversion – Cliven Loubser (NAM) – 50’
Penalty – Will Kelly (CAN) – 59’
Try – Brandon Groenewald (NAM) – 61’
Try – Jake Thiel (CAN) – 72’
Try – Patrick Schickerling – 80’
Conversion – Cliven Loubser – 80’
Canada: George Barton (49’), Jake Thiel (72’)
Canada’s Roster Against Namibia:
1. Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
2. Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB
3. Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB
4. Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC
5. Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
6. Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia
7. James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB
8. Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
9. Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
10. Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON
11. Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB
12. Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC
13. George Barton (Clermont) Duncan, BC (captain)
14. Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
15. Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC
16. Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
17. Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
18. Nick Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
19. Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON
20. William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria, BC
21. Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
22. Niko Clironomos (UBC Thunderbirds) Burnaby, BC
2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy Staff:
Head Coach – Jeff Williams
Assistant Coach – Sean McDonaugh
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Jeff Watson
Athletic Therapist – Kiyomi Thompson
Analyst – Derek Pue
Team Physician – Shelby Karpman
Team Manager – Alana Gattinger
Canada’s 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 Schedule:
Canada 16 Namibia 31 – Estadio Charrua (Montevideo)
Canada vs. Japan – Sept 2 – 1pm ET/10am PT – Estadio Charrua (Montevideo)
Canada vs. Chile – Sept 6 – 10:30am ET/7:30 am PT – Estadio Domingo Burgueño Miguel (Punta del Este)
Original Content - Mark Janzen, Rugby Canada