Canada suffers second straight rugby beatdown on July tour, losing 70-14 to England

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LONDON — Canada suffered through another painful rugby lesson Saturday, conceding 10 tries in a 70-14 loss to England at Twickenham.

The 23rd-ranked Canadian men's record against No. 3 England dropped to 0-7-0 in test play with Canada outscored 343-87. England ran in 12 tries in blanking Canada 70-0 the last time they met, in November 2004 at Twickenham.

But Saturday's match represented only Canada's second outing since Oct. 8, 2019, at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. It was England's 16th outing since finishing runner-up to South Africa at the World Cup.

"To jump up to this level is a huge task," said Canada coach Kingsley Jones.

Jones had wanted a more composed start after watching his men wobble midway through the first half of last week's 68-12 loss against No. 6 Wales. But while Canada responded to a first-minute England try with a score of its own in the 10th minute, it had no answer as the half wore on.

"We did respond well," Jones said of the first Canadian try. "But I think we were kind of shell-shocked, like rabbits in headlights, I felt, after about 15 minutes.

"I was disappointed today, more than the Wales game. I think the ball was in play a lot less today. The physicality was a big challenge for us, particularly in the set-pieces."

The Canadians trailed 35-7 after 24 minutes and went into halftime down 42-14. It was one-way traffic in the second half.

Jones said he asked his players "to look within, dig within" in his halftime talk.

"They're disappointed with themselves," he said. "The players I've spoke to felt that they can do better … I think they just froze for a period.

"We've been there. But it's how we learn from it and how we respond to it. But they're a really good honest bunch."

Under constant pressure, Canada conceded penalties and was unable to halt England's rolling maul from the lineout with hooker Jamie Blamire usually at the bottom of the pile with the ball.

Blamire scored three tries in his first England start with Newcastle Falcons teammate Adam Radwan adding three of his own on his England debut. Joe Cokanasiga had two tries and Ellis Genge contributing a single for England, which was also awarded a penalty try. Marcus Smith added nine conversions.

Smith, a 22-year-old fly half with England champion Harlequins who earned his second England cap Saturday, heads to South Africa next after being called up by the British and Irish Lions as injury cover for Finn Russell.

England, which beat the 16th-ranked U.S. Eagles 43-29 last week, had two more tries called off after video review. Both teams had players sent to the sin-bin in the first half.

"Look, we wanted to improve on our U.S.A. performance … We had a really determined plan to go out and try to blitz Canada at the start of the game," said England coach Eddie Jones. "And we managed to do that and carry that on until halftime really well."

Ross Braude and Kainoa Lloyd scored for Canada. Peter Nelson booted two conversions.

England racked up 503 metres carried, compared to 137 for Canada.

"Certainly I think the biggest learning from today, and last week really, for the players is our fitness and strength. We can't get into the game if we can't physically compete with people," said Kingsley Jones.

The Canadian men are using the July test matches to prepare for the start of World Cup qualifying this fall.

England was missing 12 players who are on tour with the Lions. Eddie Jones has also rested several veterans including George Ford, Jonny May and Ben Youngs for the summer test series.

Eddie Jones handed debuts to Radwan, centre Dan Kelly, lock Harry Wells and No. 8 Alex Dombrandt. England had 12 debutants in the win over the U.S.

The home side had a dream start with Canadian lock Conor Keys penalized for not releasing the ball after receiving the opening kickoff. England kicked for touch and, from the lineout, drove over the goal line with Blamire touching down for a converted try in the first minute.

Canada had chances soon after, attacking the English end. But England halted an attempting rolling maul and then Cooper Coats was unable to finish off a two-on-one in the corner.

Canada tied it up in the 10th minute, with Braude darting over on a quick-tap penalty after England was penalized at the scrum.

Another bungled kickoff cost Canada. England was awarded a penalty try in the 13th minute after Reegan O’Gorman was judged to have illegally brought down a maul. Adding insult to injury, O'Gorman was sent to the sin bin.

Radwan, a speedy winger, found a hole in the Canadian defence two minutes later to score on his debut. Smith's conversion made it 21-7.

England kept the scoreboard ticking over with Cokanasiga touching down in the corner in the 20th after Genge rumbled through the Canadian defence. Four minutes later Cokanasiga, a six-foot-four 247-pound winger, ran over Nelson for another try, prompting a smile from Eddie Jones in the stands.

A bloody Canada prop Jake Ilnicki had to leave in the 30th minute for repairs after taking a Lewis Ludlow knee to the nose at the breakdown. The incident was reviewed by the television match official with the England captain sin-binned.

Kingsley Jones thought it should have been a red card, rather than yellow.

England was warned for repeated infringements as Canada kicked for touch on the ensuing penalty and attacked the English try-line. After the Canadian forwards tried to batter their way over, Braude spun the ball wide and Lloyd beat fullback Freddie Steward to touch down in the corner in the 33rd. Smith's conversion cut the lead to 35-14.

England, taking advantage of another penalty, scored again on the stroke of halftime with Blamire finishing off a rolling maul.

Genge, six-foot-one, 257-pound Leicester Tigers prop, added to the try total in the 46th minute, steamrolling a Canadian defender. England added tries by Radwan (50th and 61st) and Blamire (59th).

Canada also played England at Twickenham in December 1994 and August 1999, losing 60-19 and 36-11, respectively. The two sides also met there in October 1983 but England did not award caps for the 27-0 victory.

The English starting 15 went into the match with a combined cap count of just 129 with centre Henry Slade (39), Genge (29), lock Charlie Ewels (22) and flanker Sam Underhill (23) accounting for 113 of those.

The 15 Canadian starters totalled 204 caps with 53 of those coming from prop Djustice Sears-Duru.

NOLA Gold centre Lockie Kratz, a 21-year-old from Oak Bay, B.C., started and won his first cap. Houston SaberCats prop Liam Murray earned his first cap off the bench.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2021

The Canadian Press

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