Rugby Union: Canada ripe for the picking

IT HAS been a rough few weeks for Canada's pipe and slippers brigade, writes Chris Hewett. Five straight defeats in the recent Pacific Rim Championship suggest that time has finally overtaken the most arthritic of this year's World Cup outfits. The team named to face Wales at the Millennium Stadium today is, collectively, 438 years old, suggesting that Gareth Rees and company are leaving the era of the spin pass for the era of the bus pass.

The portents are not good for this afternoon's rumble with the Red Dragons. Wales may be no spring chickens themselves - Allan Bateman is attempting to forge a new career on the left wing at 34, Shane Howarth is 31 and Jon Humphreys has just crested 30 - but under the inspired stewardship of Graham Henry, their performances are more in tune with the Manic Street Preachers than the Treorchy Male Voice Choir.

Six years ago, the Canadians accelerated what was already a precipitous Welsh decline by winning 26-24 at the old Arms Park; indeed, Rees kicked the winning conversion with the clock ticking down. But those Canucks were still basking in the glory of their tremendous tussle with New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the 1991 World Cup, and were operating at a pitch comfortably beyond anything they can be expected to reach on this occasion.

Sadly, their latest forays into the international arena have been miserably inept. Confidently expected to take the Pac-Rim title, they lost all three home matches. On the face of it, a 40-point shellacking from Fiji was the low point, but most proud Canadians single out the single-point defeat by the United States as the nadir.

They are not entirely without class. Dave Lougheed, the Leicester wing, will involve himself in proceedings in his unfamiliar position of outside centre, and if the Welsh back row make the mistake of putting their feet up for 10 minutes, Dan Baugh will make them suffer. But Wales have won six on the trot - France, England and South Africa are among the more recent scalps - and it will be a real slap in the face for a rejuvenated rugby nation if they fail to maintain their World Cup momentum.

"I played in the centre when Canada beat us in '93; we didn't really compete against them and they scored two tries to none," recalled Neil Jenkins, the unerring Welsh goal-kicker, yesterday. "They'll be physical this time, too, but we have a game plan now and if we knuckle down in the scrums and line-outs and stick to our guns, we'll achieve our objective." Comfortably, in all likelihood.

WALES: S Howarth (Newport); N Walne (Cardiff), L Davies (Cardiff), S Gibbs (Swansea), A Bateman (Northampton); N Jenkins (Cardiff), R Howley (Cardiff, capt); P Rogers (Newport), J Humphreys (Cardiff), B Evans (Swansea), C Quinnell (Cardiff), A Moore (Swansea), G Lewis (Pontypridd), M Williams (Cardiff), S Quinnell (Llanelli). Replacements: N Boobyer (Llanelli), S Jones (Llanelli), D Llewellyn (Newport), C Wyatt (Llanelli), G Llewellyn (Harlequins), D Young (Cardiff), A Lewis (Cardiff).

CANADA: S Stewart (Bedford); W Stanley (James Bay), D Lougheed (Leicester), S Bryan (Balmy Beach), C Smith (Meraloma); G Rees (Bedford, capt), M Williams (Pacific Pride); R Snow (Newport), M Cardinal (James Bay), R Bice (Vancouver Rowing), J Tait (Cardiff), M James (Perpignan), J Hutchinson (Suntory, Japan), D Baugh (Canada), A Charron (Bristol). Replacements: B Ross (James Bay), J Loveday (Calgary Irish), J Thiel (James Bay), D Burleigh (Toronto Irish), B McCarthy (Calgary Irish), M Schmid (Rotherham), R Banks (Bedford).

Referee: David McHugh (Ireland).

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicHunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original  manuscripts
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
lifeAiming to show breasts in a non-sexual way for cancer awareness
New Articles
i100... while following the referendum
New Articles
i100... with this review
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special
tvNick Frost, Natalie Gumede and Michael Troughton step up
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Beard, Ben Schnetzer, Douglas Booth and Jack Farthing in ‘The Riot Club’
filmReview: Sheer nastiness of Riot Club takes you aback
Arts and Entertainment
tvBut something’s not quite right
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week