Rugby Union: Second string in first-class form: Clem Thomas finds further cause for optimism as Wales A avenge the senior side's defeat by Canada

Click to follow
The Independent Online
IN beating Canada A 42-11, Wales A illustrated that the Welsh revival this season is deep-rooted and real. At all levels - under-18, youth, under-21, the A side and the senior side - Wales this season have won 14 games out of 15, scoring a total of 62 tries to 13.

The only blot on the record was the national side's 26-24 defeat by Canada in November, which ruined what would have been an eight-match undefeated run. But yesterday in Cardiff, Wales A gained revenge and played with considerable panache to score seven well-created tries.

The Canadians, who lost 18-8 to the north of England last weekend, were characteristically competitive. Their tackling was uncompromising, and they tried to kill the ball at all times. Indeed, they were reminiscent of England in the way their forwards rolled on close to the line and by their reluctance to spread the ball wide.

Canada lacked the skills and know-how of the Wales A side, who played expansive rugby behind the scrum. Wales had much to play for, as there are places still up for grabs for the World Cup qualifying squad.

Many of them did their chances a considerable amount of good, in particular David Manley, Neil Boobyer, Adrian Davies and Robert Howley in the backs and in the forwards, the prop Mike Griffiths, who already has 26 caps, the hooker Robin McBryde and the locks Paul Arnold and Greg Prosser. Boobyer and Manley looked particularly outstanding prospects and seem ready now for elevation to the senior side.

The game was won in the first quarter when Davies kicked an easy penalty which was followed by tries by Howley and Davies himself, who then converted his try. Steve Pettigrew dropped a goal for Canada, but a try by Boobyer made it 20-3 at half-time.

In the second half, Boobyer scored another try, converted by Davies, before Canada enjoyed a short revival with a Pettigrew penalty and a try by Jason Penaluna after the best piece of Canadian pressure of the game. However, two more tries, one from the aggressive running of the full-back Ian Jones and another by Steve Williams, completed the destruction of the limited Canadians.

The senior Welsh team will now go to Twickenham next Saturday, where Wales, surprisingly, have won 10 times since the war to England's eight, in extremely good heart and determined to play in the newly rediscovered Welsh style, which believes in moving the ball to score tries.

The Welsh are further reinforced and encouraged by the announcement last week that their players' trust fund could benefit to the extent of pounds 11 2 m from a new lottery, with the slogan 'Keep our stars in Wales'. No longer will rugby league be able to plunder Welsh rugby as easily as in the past.

Wales A: Tries Boobyer 2, Jones 2, A Davies, Howley, S Williams; Conversions A Davies 2; Penalty A Davies. Canada: Try Penaluna; Penalty Pettigrew; Drop Goal Pettigrew.

WALES A: I Jones (Llanelli); D Manley (Pontypridd), N Boobyer (Llanelli), S Lewis (Pontypridd), G Wilkins (Bridgend); A Davies (Cardiff, capt), R Howley (Bridgend); M Griffiths (Cardiff), R McBryde (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), G Prosser (Pontypridd), P Arnold (Swansea), H Taylor (Cardiff), G Jones (Llanelli), S Williams (Neath). Replacement: D Jones (Cardiff) for Williams, 77

CANADA A: J Penaluna (Univ of Victoria); R Toews (Meralomas), D Clarke (Swilers), S Lytton (Meralomas), R Wheeldon (Velox Valhalians); S Pettigrew (Balmy Beach), A Tynan (Univ of Brit Colombia); P Moen (James Bay AA), M Cardinal (James Bay AA), R Bice, I Cooper (both Vancouver Rowing Club), M James (Burnaby), A Phillips (Vancouver Rowing club), J Hutchinson (Yeoman/Univ of BC Old Boys), G Ennis (capt, Vancouver Cats/Suntory ROC).

Referee: D McHugh (Ireland).

Comments