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Canada refuse to blame turnaround

Sun, 18 Sep 2011 00:00

Canada coach Kieran Crowley refused to blame his side's four-day turnaround for the 46-19 loss to France in their second World Cup match on Sunday.

The Canucks had to rebound quickly from their opening hard-hitting 25-20 win over Tonga on Wednesday, but Crowley said it was not an excuse they would be offering up.

"It is what it is," said Crowley, the former New Zealand selector and All Blacks fullback, instead pinpointing the lack of professional players and regular high-level competition as the reasons behind the defeat.

"We've done our prep and we have full confidence in the medical staff.

"We knew what it was going to be like when the draw came out. We busted backsides, but we're not putting it (the turnaround) out there as an excuse."

After holding France for the opening half-hour, Canada gifted three soft penalties in the run-in to half time and never quite recovered.

Two second half drop-goals by Ander Monro and a second penalty from James Pritchard kept the Canucks in the mix until fatigue took its toll, and finally yielded three tries in the closing quarter of an hour.

"It was very disappointing from our perspective," said Crowley. "We were nine points down at half time and lost 14 points in the last five minutes of the second half.

"We had reasonable patches but we can't afford to do that that at this level.

"We came here to win, not make up the numbers, and so we are very disappointed about that.

"We have people giving us pats on the back, but if you accept that you won't improve.

"The guys have played well but you're only as good as your last performance and our last performance was a loss."

Crowley added: "You can't question the emotion and commitment from our guys, but you can't just fall off in the last bit."

Captain and hooker Pat Riordan said the performance had given him heart.

"If nothing else we showed we can live with the top teams like that," he said.

"A lot of the guys are heartbroken. I think that shows the expectations we have for ourselves.

"A lot of people are making a big deal about the turnaround for the tier-two teams. We came with the attitude, 'Who says you can't play two games in four days'."

AFP

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