Rugby Union: Canada ripe for the picking
Saturday 21 August 1999
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).
Latest in Sport
Royal Rumble 2015: Roman Reigns triumphs after The Rock returns to set-up Wrestlemania showdown with Brock Lesnar
Google trolls Tottenham with Oxford dictionary definition of 'lackadaisical'
Gabriel Paulista: Talented Brazilian could grow into world-class defender at Arsenal
Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Floyd Mayweather ends the carnival this week and picks his next fight - but will it be Amir Khan, Manny Pacquiao or Miguel Cotto
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Tradewind are working with this Co-educatio...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of Textiles for this c...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of English for this co...
£16000 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...