Canada Handles Jamaica
Canada has opened its 2012 international rugby league home stand with a hard fought 18-12 win against Jamaica in the Caribbean Carnival Cup match Saturday night in Toronto.
In the end the Canadian Wolverines won by four tries to two, although the Jamaicans were always in touch throughout the contest, which was played in front of a larger than expected crowd.
The fans were so numerous in fact that the scheduled kickoff was delayed until the entire crowd had made its way inside Lamport Stadium.
The game was well contested although it was punctuated by turnovers. Canada dominated possession, particularly in the first half, but turnovers and penalties curtailed scoring opportunities at key moments.
Canada's new players shone on debut, including Justin Redguard, who made several strong breaks.
It was the visitors who opened the scoring with a successful penalty goal in the early stages of the game, but Canada hit back shortly after when Matt Wyles drove through three defenders to touch down beside the posts. Stu McReynolds converted for a 6-2 scoreline.
The home team extended its lead to 10-2 when Steve Lamb powered his way over in the corner in the 20th minute - McReynolds’ attempted conversion missing its mark.
That’s how the first half closed, but again it was Jamaica that got on the board first inside the opening minute of play in the second period when their back-rower scored a converted try to close the gap to 10-8 in Canada’s favor.
Just moments later, the Jamaicans tried a clearance kick but it didn’t find touch and the Canadians took full advantage of that possession by Cam Grace driving the ball into Jamaica’s try zone. The score was upheld after review and the Wolverines stretched their lead to 14-8.
Jamaica wasn’t done, however, and after a solid buildup after some back and forth their five-eighth scored the Reggae Warriors’ second try, which was converted, to again close the margin to within two at 14-12.
Canada, determined to prove its #21 world ranking was deserved, sealed the deal when big forward Henry Miers crashed in for the Wolverines’ fourth try to make it a six-point ball game inside the final quarter.
In the dying stages, Robin Legault took a shot at a drop goal to give Canada an extra point cushion although the kick missed its mark leaving the final scoreline at 18-12.
The win means the Canadians retain the Caribbean Carnival Cup, a trophy they claimed in 2011. It was also Canada’s second straight win against the Jamaicans since they first began playing each other in 2010 when Jamaica triumphed at the Atlantic Cup.
Canada is scheduled to play the USA Tomahawks in a two-game series for the Colonial Cup in September.