Canada rides strong second-half performance to down the Dutch in men's rugby test

AMSTERDAM — Canada scored 24 second-half points en route to a 37-25 win over the Netherlands on Saturday in an international rugby test match.

The 28th-ranked Dutch kept it tight in the first half with the game tied 13-13 at the break under bright sunshine.

But the 22nd-ranked Canadian men kept coming and took control in the second half until the Dutch scored two late tries.

Ross Braude, Lindsey Stevens, Lucas Rumball and Josh Larsen scored tries for Canada. Cooper Coats kicked four conversions and three penalties.

Daily Limmen, Jessy Wagemaker and Dirk Wierenga had tries for the Dutch. Peter Lydon booted two conversions and two penalties.

It was the first-ever meeting between the two sides.

"Full credit to the Dutch in the first half," said Canadian coach Kingsley Jones. "Their kicking game was excellent."

"I thought it was a good test match. It's a great advert for emerging nations … We're really pleased. It's been a great day for us," he added. "I think it was a positive day for everyone including the Netherlands."

Canada faces No. 24 Namibia next Saturday, also at the National Rugby Center. The two teams were to have met at the 2019 World Cup in Japan but the game in Kamaishi was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis.

The European games are the first for the full Canadian senior side since July when it beat No. 26 Belgium 45-0 in Halifax and lost 57-34 to No. 16 Spain in Ottawa.

Jones took a developmental side to Brazil last month for the Americas Rugby Trophy where Canada 'A' lost 36-25 to Chile XV and beat Brazil 'A' 31-14.

The Netherlands finished last in the Rugby Europe Championship, which served as a World Cup qualifier. The Dutch finished sixth at 1-9-0 with the lone win by way over disqualification over Russia.

The Dutch served notice in the fourth minute, winning a scrum penalty against prop Liam Murray. Another Canadian penalty for offside two minutes later allowed the Netherlands to kick for goal but Lydon was wide.

Canada regrouped and pulled ahead 3-0 on a 10th-minute Coats penalty when the Dutch were dinged for offside. Lydon tied it up four minutes later with a long-range penalty.

While the Dutch scrum was solid, the Canadians began to make inroads in open play, hammering away at the Dutch defence. But Lydon converted another penalty for a 6-3 lead in the 20th minute.

The Canadian backs broke through in the 23rd minute with a line break by Coats setting up a try under the posts by Braude and a 10-6 lead.

The Dutch hurt their cause with handling errors when they did win possession. Another Coats penalty upped the lead to 13-6 in the 33rd minute.

The Dutch backs answered in the 35th minute, slicing through the Canadian defence with Limmen touching down in the corner. Lydon's conversion tied it at 13-13.

Canada kicked for the corner after a Dutch penalty late in the half. But the attack ended in a knock-on at the Dutch try-line.

There was some bad blood in the second half with French referee Benoit Rousselet sending a Dutch player to the sin-bin in the 50th minute.

The Canadians quickly took advantage with Stevens, on the back of two Dutch penalties, scoring at the back of a driving maul for a 20-13 lead. Another try-scoring opportunity minutes later ended in an errant Canadian pass.

A Rumball try in the 61st minute padded the lead with the Canadian scrum, minutes later, winning a penalty in front of its own posts to extinguish a Dutch threat. Larsen then bulled his way over in the 71st as the Canadian forwards battered the Dutch.

Wagemaker ended Canada's 21-point run with a converted try off a driving mail in the 75th minute. Coats continued his perfect kicking day with a 78th-minute penalty before Wierenga scored in the corner with time running out.

Callum Botchar, Matthew Klimchuk, Conor Young and Josiah Morra won their first 15s caps for Canada.

Saturday's game marked a return for wing Andrew Coe, who last played for the 15s team at the 2019 World Cup. The 26-year-old, part of Canadas sevens squad at the Tokyo Olympics, helped Rugby New York win the MLR championship this season.

Rumball and Ben LeSage served as Canada co-captains.

The two coaches are no strangers. Kingsley Jones and Dutch coach Lyn Jones both played for Wales and worked together at the Dragons, a Welsh club side. Both previously coached Russia.

The third-ranked Canadian women also played Saturday, beaten 36-0 in the bronze-medal match at the Rugby World Cup some 18,000 kilometres away in Auckland, New Zealand.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 12, 2022

The Canadian Press