Canada Selects 19 - Ontario Arrows 0: Full Match Video and Summary
BC Premier observers wanted to see this Canada Select side in action, many of the players, 19 to be exact, played in the BC Premier. Many of those 19 players, around 15, had been taken out of BC Premier action to create, what we thought, was a crack team of select players who would exhibit increased strength, increased fitness and improved cohesion after training together outside the distraction of playing club rugby. What was the verdict?
The short answer is none of the expectations came true. The Canada Selects didn't show any increased physicality, the Ontario Arrows matched them. They didn't run away with the game in the last 20 due to improved fitness, the Arrows were the team pushing at the end. Any flashes of cohesion and interlinking play were few and far between. The short synopsis is Canada scored two first half tries due to yellow cards from a dodgy referreeing display and scored one second half try due to exceptional effort by Kainoa Lloyd as he ran over a couple of Arrow tacklers. The one area where improvement was noticed was Noah Barker's scrummaging has improved, he's elevated that aspect of his game. Many of the other players have stagnated without playing competitive rugby.
Canada were up 14-0 at the half but it was far from convincing and perhaps the ref was a factor more than the Canada attack as he handed out two yellows to Ontario with little warning. The one before half was especially harsh. Ontario could feel hard done by in the first 40 by the man holding the whistle. One facebook viewer noted the close calls went Canada's way and he was not alone in that observation.
The lineouts were terrible, Martial Lagain couldn't hit his throws. Steve Ng came in and did better, he's been playing with James Bay and even played in the North v South Island match last weekend. He stole a great ball at the breakdown when the Arrows were pressing late in the match. Patrick Parfrey looked his usual calm self, nothing outstanding but his clearance kicks were strong. The Arrows captain Mike Sheppard was fiesty, it earned him a yellow however. The one highlight reel moment was provided by Kainoa Lloyd, playing for Canada A.
Overall a hard physical match but lacking flair and creativity. Skill and precision were mediocre. The game was played in an exhibition mode which was disappointing, Andrew Ferguson continuously tried tap and goes on the penalties without any regard for kicking for goal and any test match strategy went out the window early. Pity as these players are being evaluated for possible spots in a test match. The return is May 26th in Langford.
FULL MATCH VIDEO
Canada A vs Ontario Arrows Rosters for Friday - Match Features 19 BC Premier Players
[ed. game will be streamed on YouTube
Canada A features 16 BC Premier players and Ontario Arrows have bolstered their side with 3 top BC Premier players.
The Arrows have added Aaron McLelland (Ravens), Clint Lemkus (UBC) and Travis Larsen (James Bay). Canada A features Noah Barker (James Bay), Cole Keith (James Bay), Paul Cuilini (James Bay), Conor Keys (UVic), Dustin Dobravsky (UVic/CW), Lucas Rumball (James Bay), Luke Campbell (James Bay), Andrew Ferguson (Westshore), Rob Povey (CW), Guiseppe du Toit (UVic), Doug Fraser (CW), Patrick Parfrey (James Bay), Steve Ng (James Bay), Liam Murray (James Bay), Ryan Kotlewski (Westshore), Jorden Sandover-Best (Ravens).
Clint Lemkus, arguably the best tighthead in the country right now is on the bench for the Arrows. He has played the last few years for UBC in the BC Premier but missed the final match due to two yellow cards in the semis.
Many of the BC Premier players have been sequestered by Rugby Canada the last few months and kept out of club competition, it will be interesting to see how they perform in their first match in several months.
The BC Premier boasts many players at this level but the coaching staff have limited their view to a few players they hope to raise to international standards at the Rugby Canada Centre of Excellence. We'll get a preview on Friday on how successful that strategy has been.
Steve Ng played in the North v South Island regional match on Saturday and was picked up after that match for Canada A.
The Ontario Arrows are hoping to enter the MLR league at some point, there's no word yet on whether the MLR league is entertaining their entry for 2019.