MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY – Facing a well-constructed Japanese outfit, Canada’s men’s U20 side lost 50-12 in the second round of the World Rugby U20 Trophy Saturday in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Japan’s Chang-Ho Ahn scored in the second minute of the contest, setting the table for what would be a challenging afternoon for the Canadians.
Japan, who is intent on promotion to the U20 World Rugby Championship after being relegated last year, looked the part of an upper-class group, scoring eight tries en route to a convincing win.
Jake Thiel and Anton Ngongo each scored second-half tries for Canada.
Faulua Makisi and Ahn led Japan with two tries apiece, while Timoki Kishioka knocked through four conversions.
After trailing 28-0 at the break, Canada’s second half saw a marked improvement, as they were outscored just 22-12, but it was always going to be an uphill battle after giving up three tries in a 10-minute span in the first half.
The loss sees Canada drop to 0-2 in the U20 Trophy, having also suffered defeat at the hands of Namibia in the tournament-opener. With both Japan and Namibia winning their first two matches, Canada can no longer finish in the top two in pool play. They will now prepare to play Chile Sept. 6 (10:30am ET/7:30am PT) in their final match of pool play, with third place in the group on the line. A win over Chile would put Canada into the fifth-place match.
The championship match will be played Sept. 10, along with the third, fifth and seventh place matches. Pool B features hosts Uruguay as well as Fiji, Portugal and Hong Kong.
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.
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.
With their pack leading the movement forward, Japans scored just two minutes into the match, with Chang-Ho Ahn touching down from just outside the line, launching what would be a dominant opening half.
Canada was knocking on the Japanese door shortly thereafter but were held up just short of the try line.
Japan pushed right back and shortly after a yellow card was issued to Canada’s Connor Sampson in the 17th minute, the Japanese contingent earned a penalty try that put the Canadians entirely on the back foot.
Four minutes later, Ahn scored again for Japan to help put his team ahead 21-0. Then, in the 28th minute, Takeshi Sasaki took a ball off the back of a maul and touched down to give Japan their fourth try of the first half. With Timoki Kishioka converting, Japan held a 28-0 lead before the match had reached the half hour mark.
With Canada back at full strength for the last 10 minutes of the first half, they held their own, but were kept off the scoreboard and went into halftime trailing by four converted tries.
Just two minutes into the second half, Japan’s Faulua Makisi took an offload on the left wing and raced in from 30 metres out. With the conversion, Japan went ahead 35-0.
Canada’s Jake Thiel finally got Canada on the scoreboard, intercepting a pass inside his own half and running 55 metres untouched for the try. Will Kelly converted to make the score 35-7.
However, five minutes later Makisi scored his second try of the half to snuff out any Canadian momentum.
Yoshiyuki Koga went over in the 67th minute for Japan’s seventh try of the game, before Shimpei Kamata struck again with three minutes to play.
Off the restart, Canada’s Anton Ngongo snatched the ball out of the air and ran the distance, muscling his way across the line to tally Canada’s second try just minutes before the final whistle.
Tries: Jake Thiel (1) Ngongo (1)
Conversions: Kelly (1)
Tries: Ahn (2), Makisi (2), Kamata (1), Sasaki (1), Koga (1), Penalty Try (1)
Conversions: Kishioka (4)
Try – Chang-Ho Ahn (JPN) – 2’
Conversion – Timoki Kishioka (JPN) – 3’
Try – Penalty Try (JPN) – 19’
Try – Chang-Ho Ahn (JPN) – 23’
Conversion – Timoki Kishioka (JPN) – 24’
Try – Takeshi Sasaki (JPN) – 28’
Conversion – Timoki Kishioka (JPN) – 29’
Try – Faulua Makisi (JPN) – 42’
Conversion – Timoki Kishioka – 43’
Try – Jake Thiel (CAN) – 46’
Conversion – Will Kelly (CAN) – 47’
Try – Faulua Makisi (JPN) – 52’
Try – Yoshiyuki Koga (JPN) – 67’
Try – Shimpei Kamata (JPN) – 77’
Try – Anton Ngongo (CAN) – 78’
Canada – Connor Sampson (17’)
Canada’s Roster Against Japan:
1. Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
2. Steven Ng (Capilano RFC) Ottawa, ON
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. Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
18. Nick Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
19. Niko Clironomos (UBC Thunderbirds) Burnaby, BC
20. Thomas Davidson (Toronto Scottish RFC), Chelsea, QC
21. William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria, BC
22. Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, 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 12 Japan 50 – 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