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September 9th, 2007
The introduction of Stephen Jones allowed Wales to eclipse
Canada’s first half lead and romp to a 42-17 victory.
Wales were expected to dismiss the minnows, but the occasion
of the World Cup certainly lifted the Canadians who led 12-9
at the break. Although they were undercooked in the skill
department, there was little doubt they believed they could
upset the much fancied Dragons.
Wales managed to secure possession in the set-pieces and
even pilfered a few balls at the breakdown, but the
territorial stakes favoured the North Americans in the first
half. Whenever they kept it close, their drive made inroads
into the Welsh defence, and it was a clinical display that
saw flanker Jamie Cudmore score the first try of the game.
Canada showed good patience in the build up and with the
chalk inches away, Cudmore burrowed through a host of Welsh
defenders to record his side’s first points of the
James Hook kicked his side to an early lead with three
penalties, but the Canadian defence limited his
effectiveness on attack. Even when Wales looked certain to
score with an overlap in Canada’s 22, the Canucks
intercepted Hook’s pass and raced all the way to claim the
advantage just before half-time.
The Canucks struck soon after the break with Morgan Williams
squeezing through a gap from close quarters. The Canadian
forwards laid the platform once again, and Williams caught
the Welsh napping when he slid through unopposed. The
scrumhalf was the Canucks best player, marshalling his pack
well and testing the Welsh back three with some well
directed probes. He also effected a try-saving tackle on
replacement-flyhalf Jones when the Welshman looked to be in
under the posts.
But Jones’s presence certainly had a galvanising effect on
his countrymen. After a sustained period of attack, Jones
ran at the Canadian defenders before offloading to Sonny
Parker who had run the try-scoring line. Wales could have
taken the lead in the 57th minute, but some desperate
defence by Canada pushed Shane Williams out just when he
looked to dot the ball down in the corner.
The writing was on the wall, however, as Wales maintained
possession and demanded more and more of the Canadian
defence. A dropped ball by Ander Monro on his own tryline
saw a mad scramble to hack it into touch, but it only went
as far as Welsh second rower Alwyn-Jones who ploughed over
for another five-pointer.
The floodgates opened in the final quarter, making a mockery
of Canada’s effort in the first 50 minutes. Shane Williams
made up for his earlier error by scoring a brace while Jones
created another try when he broke the line and found Colin
Charvis in support.
Wales - Tries: Sonny Parker, Alun-Wyn Jones, Shane Williams
(2), Colin Charvis. Conversions: Stephen Jones (4).
Penalties: James Hook (3).
Canada- Tries: Jamie Cudmore, Craig Culpan, Morgan Williams.
Conversion: James Pritchard.
By Jon Cardinelli | Keo.co.za