Original Article – Bernadette Larose, Rugby Canada
FUKUOKA, JAPAN (September 26, 2019) – In their opening match of the Rugby World Cup 2019, a battered Canadian side showed heart but were unable to convert, falling to Italy 48-7.
Canada started the match on the defensive with a try saving play from Pat Parfrey but gave Italy possession deep in the Canadian end, resulting eventually in a penalty kick. Italy showed their physicality, powering through to score two tries off their forward pack.
Canada regrouped at the end of the first, holding a strong line and keeping Italy at bay. Offensively, Canada had several breaks but a few unfortunate errors at the line kept Canada off the board going into the break.
Italy continued to dominate in the second half but not without efforts from Canada. Although a surge of offensive pressure, handling errors and a TMO decision against a Tyler Ardron try kept Canada scoreless well into the second half. Canada’s lone try came from Andrew Coe, showing some impressive footwork off the bench to beat his defender and dot down in the corner. A tough angle kick from Peter Nelson added on the conversion.
“The players applied themselves really well,” said head coach Kingsley Jones. “We created a lot of opportunities, which is obviously a positive, but we just didn’t finish them. We gave too many penalties away and allowed Italy into areas we didn’t want.”
Jones continued: “They are a very good side and they punished us. But I’m pleased with the players. We created a lot and they gave everything. There is big work for us to do, but it was tough opposition.”
Veteran winger-DTH van der Merwe showed his speed in the match and joined a list of just seven other Canadian players to have played in four Rugby World Cups.
Canada’s next match will be against the All Blacks on October 2nd in Oita.