Reggae Warriors fall to Canada in Rugby League

From Romeo Monteith, Jamaican Rugby League

Canada Wolverines stopped Jamaica Reggae Warriors 38-14 in a hotly contested international game at the Lamport Stadium in Toronto on Saturday, July 20. The teams battled before 5788 fans for the Caribbean Carnival Cup in its third instalment.

The Reggae Warriors knew they were in for a rough day when two late tackles on their halves in the first set went unpunished by the referee. A poor kick by scrum half Ryan Grant who was on the receiving end of one of the late shots gave Canada the ball 10 meters from half line. Grant then made a high tackle on the receiving player and the resulting penalty placed Canada in Jamaica’s 20m area after the kick to touch. Veteran hooker Chris Diamond then crashed over from dummy half close to the Jamaican line on to give his country a dream start after only 2 minutes of play. On their next set Canadian center Adam Timler was smashed by Jamaican prop Sandino Hastings, however referee Paul Bryne judged it to be a strip and awarded a penalty that Steve Piatek slotted through the sticks on 4 minutes and Canada went up 8-0.

Jamaica battled bravely to contain their bigger opponents and launched their own counter attacks that produced points on 10 minutes when lock Jermaine Pinnock used his speed to break down Canada’s defence on the left edge before passing to Sheffield Eagles center Corey Hanson who crashed over for for a try on 8 minutes. Ryan Grant kicked the conversion as Canada led 8-6.

On their next set Jamaica kicked what appeared to be a clear 40/20, however, the officials ruled it Canada’s ball, the Wolverines then marched up field and from their kick Jamaica knocked on and Canada scored from a set play at the scrum with scrum half Steve Piatek crashing over and kicking his own conversion on 12 minutes.

On approximately 20 minutes, Canada dragged the Jamaicans to the right side before unleashing some crisp passes to the left that outflanked the Jamaican defence, fullback Robin Legault was allowed to come all the way under the post to score an easy try. Piatek kicked the conversion to make it 20-6.

Jamaica could have hit back right away as Canadian powerhouse prop Enoch Wamalwa dropped a pass from his centre Adam Timler after the restart. However, poor attacking shape and a knock on by Romaen Campbell in front the Canadian try line diffused the threat. Jamaica continued to get the better chances leading up to half time, but one forward pass and two knock on in the Canadian 20m area kept them off the score board.

ryan grant tackle

The second half started controversially when Canada were awarded a 40/20 from what appeared to be a kick from closer to the half line than the 40. They were unable to capitalize and turned the ball over to the Reggae Warriors whose attack from deep in their own half produced a try as quick hands out to fullback Robert Rodney saw him release winger Adrian Mckenzie for a try close to the posts 4 minutes into the half. Ryan Grant incredibly missed the conversion attempt from point blank range, leaving Canada leading 20-10.

The Reggae Warriors then dominated play for a brief period, however, they continued to turn the ball over as soon as they were in good positions to score, second rows Omar Jones and Nathan Campbell being the guilty party on two promising occasions. Canada found having no such problems handling the ball and scored their fourth try when winger Brett King ran in untroubled in the left corner as his opposite number Fabion Turner laid on the ground injured. Piatek made another beautiful conversion to put his team up 26-10.

From the kick off, Canada marched up field and lazy defending by Jamaica allowed winger Tony Felix to easily score in the right corner, Piatek again slotting over the conversion for a 32-10 lead.

Jamaica then scored their final points of the evening when scrum half Ryan Grant found Corey Hanson who released full back Robert Rodney for a try in the left corner. Hanson missed the conversion and Canada held a 32-14 advantage. As the game wound down Jamaica had found more chances as they surged into Canada’s half, however, more handling errors and sloppy play saw each chance wasted.

It was Canada who had the last say in the 80th minute when desperate for another score, Jamaica’s prop Sandino Hastings attempted a chip kick near his own try line, but Canada came up with the ball and Geof Bylund crashed over with Piatek kicking the conversion.

Reflecting on the game national coach Romeo Monteith commented:

“Canada played well and stuck to their systems and structure. We were very poor when we got near their try line and must have knocked on at least 5 balls when we had scoring chances. I felt our tackling was strong and if we can improve our ball retention then we will improve. At the end of the day this is our first game since July 2012 and in order to improve we are need sponsors to come on board and help this team play more regular internationals, there are thousands of fans who want to see us play and we need help to make it happen. “

Canada 38

Chris Diamond, Steve Piatek, Robin Legault, Brett King, Tony Felix, Geoff Bylund
Steve Piatek (7)

Robin Legault, Brett King, Adam TImler, Christian Miller, Tony Felix, Matt Wyles, Steve Piatek, Eric Moyer, Chris Diamond, Rob Autagavaia, Trent Hansen, Henry Miers, Cam Grace, Joe Bangay, Geoff Bylund, Kenn Waring, Enoch Wamalwa

Jamaica 14

Corey Hanson, Adrian McKenzie, Robert Rodney
Ryan Grant

Robert Rodney, Jakeba Grant, Claude Yen, Corey Hanson, Adrian Mckenzie, Fabion Turner, Ryan Grant, Jason Gooden, Andre Reid, Sandino Hastings, Nathan Campbell, Stephen Scott, Jermaine Pinnock, Marvin Thompson, Omar Jones, Alec Harris, Romaen Campbell

Referee – Paul Byrne (Eng)

Attendance – 5,788


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