Rugby Union: Canucks truck on: Phillips on target

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Canada A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

TOURS such as this are supposed to be intrinsic to the development of Canadian rugby and it is true that the Welfare Ground on a Wednesday night provides a different kind of experience, writes Steve Bale.

Whether it is what the Canadians had in mind is another matter. Jonathan Hawker's try, created for him by Richard Brown with 12 minutes left, was insufficient to give Newbridge the victory they probably deserved, the last of Rob Phillips' three penalties giving it to the tourists nine minutes later.

On this evidence these Canadians are a feisty bunch, as Wales A will find at the Arms Park on Saturday - and as Wales similarly found when the Canuck seniors famously won there in November.

It seemed impossible at the time but, four months on, Canada remain the last team to beat Wales. Only one of that side, the wing Ron Toews, playing at centre this time, turned out at Newbridge and he could have been excused for thinking he was on another planet rather than only 20 miles away.

The rugby - bogged down by obstructive forward play by the Canadians and many mistakes by the Welsh - was not dissimilar. But, until Newbridge made their belated breakthrough, the atmosphere was heightened merely by outbreaks of temper that culminated in a mass brawl early in the second half.

This resulted in Phillips' second penalty, though inevitably the enraged Newbridge followers placed the fault the other way round.

The positive rugby came mostly from Newbridge, though the most blatant pre-Hawker try-scoring chance occurred when Jason Penaluna, the exotic Canadian stand-off was crunchingly tackled by Andy Griffiths with a three-man overlap outside. The brawl followed instantly.

Newbridge: Try Hawker; Penalty Green. Canada A: Penalties R Phillips 3.

Newbridge: W Grimstead; A Griffiths, R Brown, J Hawker, D Hooper; A Green, J Churcher (S Fealey, 66); R Buckley, M Wysocki, B Fisher, C Crane, A Collins (capt) (A Sutton, 56), P Crane, P Morelli, D Roberts.

CANADA A: R Phillips (Univ of British Columbia); R Wheeldon (Velox), R Toews, S Lytton (Meralomas), J Wheeler (Cole Harbor); J Penaluna (Univ of Victoria), A Tynan (UBC); T Moen (James Bay), S Hendry (Balmy Beach), N Clappison (Ste Anne de Bellevue), M James (Burnaby), K Whitley (Calgary Irish), A Phillips (Town of Mount Royal), G Ennis (Suntory, capt), R Mullin (Meralomas). Replacements: I Middleton (Oakville Crusaders) for Whitley, 41; R Bice (Vancouver Rowing Club) for Clappison, 63; M Cardinal (James Bay) for Hendry, 80.

Referee: D Matthews (St Helens).