Rugby Union: Challinor rounds off forwards' work

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Canada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

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ENGLAND forged a decisive victory here over Canada to square the Test series in the rural confines of Twin Elm Rugby Park. Hard-grafting forwards provided the bedrock as the tourists once again ruled the line-out, put pressure on the Canucks in the set scrums and sent their big men, Victor Ubogu, John Hall and Steve Ojomoh, rumbling off in the loose.

Though Canada were distinctly second best, they never cracked and kept in touch the whole game. Saturday's match was very physical, with England losing David Pears (broken hand) and Paul Challinor (head cut). Canada, meanwhile, lost the services of Gord MacKinnon (cut head).

Half-back play was the key to success. Kyran Bracken, despite taking immense punishment, created throughout, while Challinor was responsible for all but three of England's points. He scored a try in each half and added two penalties after Pears's departure in the first quarter.

Once Pears and Gareth Rees had exchanged penalties, John Hall set up a ruck, Bracken sniped blind and Ubogu put Challinor in at the corner.

Canada's reply was immediate. Al Charron, the pick of the pack, stole a line-out, Scott Stewart making the break and MacKinnon diving over for the try.

Challinor kicked two penalties to one from Rees before the break, and England continued to apply pressure in the second half.

Martin Johnson, subsequently called up for Lions duty in New Zealand, signed off by continuing to win line-out ball at will and two more England tries might have followed.

Stuart Potter, though, spilled a scoring pass from Ubogu and Nick Beal chose the wrong option when Adedayo Adebayo was unmarked.

Challinor's second try, meanwhile, followed a break by Bracken, but the stand-off's head was cut in the act of plunging over.

Afterwards, Mike Slemen, England's coach, said with a smile: 'We win 2-1. We beat them last October at Wembley and it's still the same season for us.'

Canada: Penalties G Rees 3; Try G MacKinnon. England: Tries P Challinor 2; Penalties D Pears, Challinor 2.

CANADA: S Stewart (UBC Old Boys); J Loveday (Calgary Irish), S Gray (Vancouver Kats), G Rees (Oak Bay Castaways), D Lougheed (Toronto Welsh); J Graf (UBC Old Boys), C Tynan (Vancouver Meralomas); E Evans (IBM Tokyo), K Svoboda (Ajax Wanderers), D Jackart (UBC Old Boys), N Hadley (UBC Old Boys, capt), J Knauer (Vancouver Meralomas), A Charron (Ottawa Irish), G MacKinnon (Britannia Lions, Vancouver), G Ennis (Suntori, Tokyo). Replacement: J Hutchison (York Yeomen) for MacKinnon.

ENGLAND: D Pears (Harlequins); A Adebayo (Bath), S Potter (Leicester), D Hopley (Wasps), C Oti (Wasps); P Challinor (Harlequins), K Bracken (Bristol); G Rowntree (Leicester), J Olver (Northampton, capt), V Ubogu (Bath), M Johnson (Leicester), A Blackmore (Bristol), J Hall (Bath), N Back (Leicester), S Ojomoh (Bath). Replacements: N Beal (Northampton) for Pears; J Fletcher (Tynedale) for Challinor.

Referee: S MacNeill (Australia).

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