Canada 40 – 10 Jamaica
Fletchers Fields in Northern Toronto saw the Canadians host the Jamaican Rugby League team for the first time on home soil. The last time these two teams met each other was in Jacksonville last year as part of the Atlantic Cup. There the Jamaicans had a 24 point win over the Wolverines 36-12. However it was to be a different story this time round. The Canadians have had a full year and season to prepare and the players rearing to have another shot at the Jamaicans.
It was evident from the opening whistle and ensuing tackles that the Wolverines meant business. It was a steaming hot day, 31 degrees but with the humidity and in the stadium the factor would have taken it up to 40 degrees. Stamina was going to be the key in this match and the Canadians were showing that they had it. Jamaica were plagued with problems from the get go. Too many knock ons and over turned balls saw Canada run two tries in quick succession through Robin Legault and Stu McReynolds, on the back of an opening penalty they led 14-0 after 20 minutes. Stu Converted all three of the opening points.
The Jamaicans soon were able to hit back through Sandino Hastings who from the ruck was able to exploit some poor try-line defence from the Canadians and force his way over. However 10 minutes later Danny Tupou went over for the first of two of his tries. The Canadians took the lead and momentum into the break 18 – 4.
In the Second half the Canadians started the same way the finished the first half, with a try and Danny Tupou was the instigator once again bagging his second try. The half then decended into a scrappy affair with both teams starting to suffer from the heat and humidity in Toronto. It would now be a battle of who was fitter and had the greater stamina. It was at this point that the Wolverines secret weapon stepped up, Lou Robinson. Lou plays for the London Harlequins and flew over for this match. Having being already heavily involved in setting up most of the tries, Lou was able to burrow through the Jamaican defence on the try-line and snatch a try that sent caught everyone off guard including the crowd, who 1500 strong, went crazy in the stands. With a Reynolds conversion Canada now had a commanding 28-4 lead.
Jamaica had to be the next to score, and they did through Romaen Campbell and Marvin Thompson converted. It was looking like there may be a Jamaican comeback, but Chris Diamond for the Wolverines put an end to those thought in the next 2 minutes and after Trent Hansen went over in the 71st minute with both of those tries converted by Reynolds it was going to be Canada’s day.
In the end it was 40-10 and a historic Day, this was Canada’s first win in the international arena and a convincing one at that. The team has come a long way from last year with a 1000% improvement. The Tomahawks now face a formidable opponent in August and September for the Colonial Cup. The battle for title of the top dog in North America will be hotly contested one. Rugby League in Canada is finally here and here to stay.
On the back of today, the question has to be revisited, should Canada have been allowed to be in the World Cup Qualifiers? At the time they probably didn’t meet the requirements, but judging by todays performance, the domestic comp and the professionalism the day was organised, it is making me wonder if the Wolverines should be included. At the moment I think they would be a real dominant force in North America. This is something I will leave open to debate for everyone.
Robin Legault, Tony Felix, Stu McReynolds, Christian Miller, Danny Tupou, Jamie Lester, Matt Wyles, Steve London, Chris Diamond, Louis Robinson, Tim Mason, Henry Miers Trent Hansen, Subs: Tyler Allen, Dalg Fitzgerald, Matt Gleed, Steve Lamb
Tries: Legault, McReynolds, Toupou(2), Robinson, Diamond, Hansen Goals: McReynolds (6)
Marvin Thompson, Claude Yen, Ryan Grant, Everton Richards, Jermaine Pinnock, Damen Yayle, Roy Calvert, Jade Harrison, Robert Rodney, Romaen Campbell, Nicholas Wright, Carlye Burger, Jahden Clarke Subs: Omar Jones Tyroine Rowe Adrian Myers, Sandino Hastings
Tries: Hastings, Campbell Goals: Thompson
Penalty Count: Canada 7 – 11 Jamaica
Main: Paul Byrne, (UK) Sideline: Daniel Harrison (Aus), Rose Labreche (Can)
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