Canada’s U18 men’s rugby squad got a hard-earned win on their tour of Romania on Wednesday, Nov. 19 in Bucharest. A late try by captain George Barton (Duncan, B.C.) gave Canada a 16-15 win over Romania’s U18s and gave the side much-needed confidence heading into Saturday’s clash against Romania’s U19s.
Canada lost 31-0 to the Romanian U19s in their first game of the tour on Nov. 16. The Canadian team features Comox Valley players Foster Dewitt and Braydon Williams.
Head coach Jim Delaney said after the game, “Our goal was to win the game by making better decisions in our attack, improve our line speed and to be more accurate in the contact.”
He added, “I think we started the game as we expected. Our decisions in attack were quite good with a nice mixture of ball movement out wide, kicking and shorter attacks around the breakdown. Our line speed and contact was good. Our set piece was better with both our scrum and line out operating very well as we turned over Romania several times.”
Delaney went on to say, “It (took) us a long time to break down the Romanians and I think we started to get a little anxious which resulted in the loss of our shape and structure.
“We spoke about this at half time,” Delaney said. “But we didn’t seem to implement the changes that well, which resulted in Romania scoring an early try in the first five minutes of the second half.” The second half would continue to see an ever-increasing error rate in both the Canada U18’s kicking and catching.
Delaney spoke highly of his side, noting that, “The young Canadian side tried to find a way to stem the tide on their errors and turnovers.” Despite their efforts, the errors would continue to mount and, late in the half, the Romanians would take the lead through another try.
However, with less than 10 minutes to go, pressure on the Romanian kicker would lead to a charge down by St. George’s fly half Ben Scher. This was followed up by a nice piece of skill from the young fly half, who nudge the ball sideways into the goal area. There, the equally young George Barton dove on the ball to score the go ahead try for Canada. “The two young B.C. players were delighted, as were their teammates,” Delaney remarked.
All Canada had to do was to secure the restart and the win was theirs. However more drama was in store for the young Canadian side as they dropped the restart which gave Romania a scrum in front of the Canada posts. As expected from the scrum, the young Romanian fly half attempted a drop goal. “The whole stadium went silent as the saw the kick go wide,” Delaney commented. But it did go wide, and the game was over.
Delaney’s final comments to the players after the game was, “even though we might not have played as we expected or as well as we can we still battled and in the end we achieved our goal of winning a test match against a good hard working side sometimes rugby is like that and good sides find a way of winning. We deserved to win and I don’t think the Romanians would argue that fact.”
Tomorrow will be recovery day for the side, which will include a trip to the Romanian Parliament building and a visit to the American International School of Bucharest.
Lastly, in the afternoon, the players will get to practice with the senior men as they prepare for their game on Saturday against the senior side from Romania.
Updates on the tour are at www.rugbycanada.ca. Match replays are available at www.bcrugby.com.
– Rugby Canada