Chad Wise // Photo Judy Teasdale
LANGFORD, British Columbia – Tim Maupin scored two tries in the Eagles Select XVs’ 30-10 win against Canada Tuesday night at the 2013 IRB Americas Rugby Championship at Westhills Stadium.
Canada’s Guiseppe du Toit put his side on the board first with a penalty goal early, but the Eagles held their own on the defensive side to keep the northerly neighbors from threatening anything more.
Tai Tuisamoa made a good run into the tackle in the 12th minute, setting up a combination between scrumhalf Shaun Davies and Toby L’Estrange to get Maupin into space for the try between the sticks. Cowley kicked his first conversion for the Eagles’ first lead of the tournament at 7-3. Cowley had the opportunity to extend the lead two minutes later after a Canadian penalty but the near-midfield kick went just wide.
After being rounded a couple of times early on the wing, the Eagles’ quick defense stepped up to keep Canada from nearing the try zone. Canada’s Henry McQueen tried to break a few tackles in the 17th minute but could not find a hole to exploit.
The Eagles stole a lineout in the 20th minute and immediately moved the ball wide, where Maupin found space of his own and drew a penalty. The referee issued the Canadian tackler a warning for a high tackle and Cowley stepped up to kick the penalty and give the Eagles a 10-3 lead.
Kyle Baille was sent to the sin bin with a yellow card in the 27th minute and Cowley immediately extended the lead to 13-3 with his third penalty goal. The Eagles only managed the one penalty during the man advantage, but kept Canada from scoring, as well.
With the 13-3 halftime lead, the Eagles showed their attacking potential and their defensive strengths to keep Canada honest.
Cowley opened the second half scoring with his third penalty goal in the 46th minute and the Eagles had 34 minutes to hold a 16-3 lead.
An odd sequence of events occurred in the 54th minute, starting with an Eagles penalty. Du Toit waited for the tee to come on to the field, but it never came. Jack Fitzpatrick decided to kick into touch near the corner instead of having du Toit kick for points, but the referee called it back because Canada had already pointed to the posts. Du Toit resorted to having his teammate hold the ball for him but, under the time constraints, rushed his kick and missed it.
Less than two minutes later, the Eagles moved down the field and scored. Daniel Barrett received the ball on the wing, knocked down the first defender and ran almost 50 meters before being tackled on the doorstep. He reached over the try line and put the ball down, turning a possible 16-6 lead into a 23-3 lead following Cowley’s conversion.
Conor Trainor set up substitute Joe Dolesau with a neat run down the line in the 64th minute but Maupin backtracked and made the tackle before the try line, forcing the ball into touch. Trainor eventually scored Canada’s only try of the match in the 73rd minute, bringing the deficit to 23-10.
L’Estrange set up the Eagles’ final try in the 79th minute with a run up the middle from the 22 and a pass to Mile Pulu. Pulu was tackled just before the try line but found an onrushing Maupin with a pass from the ground for the Saint Mary’s man’s second try. Cowley converted and the Eagles clinched their first win of the tournament 30-10.
The win marks the first against Canada since 2009, albeit with a developmental side against a developmental side. The Eagles suffered three losses in 2013 to the neighbors to the north before Tuesday’s win, including both legs of the 2015 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers.
“We were disappointed with those two losses in August and felt we played pretty well – Canada came away with two quality wins,” Phil Thiel said after the match. “This was a little bit of revenge for us and it’s a great platform to build from.”
The Eagles’ win ensures Argentina will finish first at the Americas Rugby Championship. The Jaguars defeated Uruguay earlier Tuesday night and, with the win against the Eagles last Friday, go into the final round with 10 points. Even with an Eagles win Saturday against Uruguay and an Argentina loss to Canada, Argentina would hold the tiebreaker against the Eagles.
The Eagles will hope to finish in second at the Americas Rugby Championship Saturday against Uruguay at 8:00 P.M. ET. Follow @USARugby on Twitter for live match updates and watch the match on Rugby Canada’s YouTube Channel.
Eagles Select XV | v. Canada
1. Nick Wallace 2. Phillip Thiel 3. Chris Sullivan 4. Tai Tuisamoa 5. Graham Harriman 6. Daniel Barrett 7. Derek Asbun 8. Cameron Dolan
9. Shaun Davies 10. Toby L’Estrange 11. Tim Maupin 12. Mile Pulu 13. Chris Chapman 14. Ed Mills 15. Joe Cowley
Eagles Select XV | Reserves
16. Cameron Falcon 17. Shawn Pittman 18. Titi Lamositele 19. John Cullen 20. Trevor Cassidy 21. Chris Saint 22. Peter Moala 23. Maximo De Achaval
Eagles Select XV | 30
Tries: Maupin (2), Barrett
Conversions: Cowley (3)
Penalties: Cowley (3)