Canada defeated by Romania in Edmonton
INTERNATIONAL REPORT: Canada were beaten 9-25 by Romania in Edmonton on Saturday in their final game before their 2019 World Cup qualifying series.
Canada got three penalties from Gordon McRorie but also had two tries disallowed in a fierce contest that saw a red card and two yellows.
"I thought it was a very poor performance. We didn't do anything we set out to do and that's disappointing. We played poorly against 14 men today but credit to them. They showed spirit and played with more energy than we did," head coach Mark Anscombe said.
Saturday's game also featured an historic moment as Aaron Carpenter became Canada's all-time try scoring leader with 77, passing Al Charron's previous record.
"I respect Al so much and to finally beat his record is huge for me. But I am glad it's over and can now focus on playing more games," Carpenter said.
It was a promising start for Canada as they thought they had scored in the corner through co-captain DTH van der Merwe but after a TMO review, it was deemed van der Merwe was just out of play.
Canada made the pressure count though as McRorie kicked his side ahead 3-0 in the 12th minute but Romania stormed back to grab the first try of the game through Viorel Lucaci after Johannes van Heerden had burst through the game line.
However, the 23rd minute saw a red card for Romania's Otar Turashvili after punching Canada's Tyler Ardron. On the same play, Ardron saw yellow. From the ensuing penalty, McRorie cut the Romania lead to 7-6, a lead the visitors would take into the break.
It was an exceptional start to the second half for Romania as they scored less than a minute in through Fonovai Tangimana before McRorie hit back with another penalty to make it 14-9.
Florin Vlaicu's penalty made it 17-9 before controversy struck again. Van der Merwe seemed to win a high ball from a cross-field kick and a few phases later Ardron had scored for Canada. But after another TMO review, the try was ruled out and van der Merwe was sent to the sin bin for contesting a high ball and making contact above the shoulders.
"We were told a fair contest in the air, they wont be sending people off. That was a fair contest and as soon as you saw him miss the ball he pulled out. How that is a yellow card is beyond me and that was the turning point," Anscombe said.
Tangimana would grab his second try of the day in the 62nd minute before a late Vlaicu penalty sealed the deal.
"If we want to give ourselves a chance to beat the USA, we've got to stick to our plan and execute better. We have to be a lot more accurate in what we do and we're pretty poor at the moment," he added.
Canada returns to action against the USA in the first leg of its 2019 World Cup qualifier at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Pens: McRorie 3
Tries: Tangimana 2, Lucaci
Cons: Vlaicu 2
Pens: Vlaicu 2
Canada: 15 Ciaran Hearn, 14 DTH van Der Merwe (co-captain), 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 Sean Duke, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom (co-captain), 3 Matt Tierney, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Anthony Luca.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Ryan Ackerman, 19 Conor Keys, 20 Kyle Baillie, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Andrew Coe.
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)