Canadian men defeat Brazil 31-14 to finish second at Americas Rugby Trophy

MOGI DAS CRUZES, Brazil — Canada 'A' ran in five tries en route to a 31-14 win Wednesday over Brazil 'A' at the Americas Rugby Trophy.

The Canadian men lost 36-25 to Chile XV on Friday in their opening game at the three-team developmental tournament which does not carry test status. That game saw nine players sent to the sin-bin.

Chile won the competition, having already defeated Brazil 57-36. The Canadians placed second.

At the test level, Chile is ranked 21st while Canada is No. 23 and Brazil No. 27.

Wednesday's game was at Municipal Stadium Francisco Ribeiro Nogueira in Mogi das Cruzes, some 65 kilometres east of Sao Paulo.

Josiah Morra, Cooper Coats, Robbie Povey, Ross Braude and Siaki Vikilani scored tries for Canada, which led 19-14 at the half. Povey added three conversions.

Leonardo (Neymar) Silva and Matheus (Nego) Claudio scored tries for Brazil. Lucas (Ze) Tranquez kicked two conversions.

Canada led 14-0 on tries by Morra and Coats in the third and 28th minute, respectively. Brazil cut the lead to 14-7 when Silva went over at the back of a maul but Povey dove over soon after to extend the Canadian lead to 12 points. A try by Claudio, who spent 10 minutes in the sin-bin earlier in the half, made it 19-14 at the break.

Canada added two more tries in a choppy second half that saw scrum half Jason Higgins helped off the field early on after taking a knock. He was replaced by Braude.

Braude upped the lead with a brilliant solo effort in the 61st minute, slashing through the Brazil defence for a try that made it 24-14.

Helped by a string of penalties that penned Brazil deep in its own end, the Canadians laid siege to the Brazilian try-line as the clock wound down. The six-foot-three 270-pound Vikilani eventually bulled his way over under the post in the 79th minute.

Veteran Kyle Baillie, shifting to lock from the back row, took over as captain from co-captains Lucas Rumball and Ben LeSage. Baillie missed both of Canada's July test matches due to injury.

Matthew Klimchuk was part of a new-look back row that also featured former UBC captain Owain Ruttan, the Toronto Arrows' recently signed first-round MLR draft pick, and fellow Arrow Vikilani.

University of Victoria back Gabe Casey, the Arrows' third-round pick in the August MLR draft, started at inside centre.

Kyle Steeves, like Klimchuk a member of Rugby Canada's Pacific Pride academy, started at prop.

Coats and Povey switched positions in the backs with Coats moving to fullback and Povey to fly half.

Alex Russell and D’Shawn Bowen started at centre and wing, respectively, joining fellow Canada sevens players Coats and Morra, who retained his wing position.

Twin brothers Takoda and Talon McMullin, who represented Canada at the under-20 level this summer, both came off the bench in the second half. Izzak Kelly, a six-foot-six 285-pound lock from the UBC Thunderbirds, and prop Emerson Prior also came on.

The Canadian men failed to make the 2023 Rugby World Cup after losing two-legged qualifying series to the 19th-ranked U.S. (59-50 on aggregate) and Chile (54-46). They are now looking ahead to the 2027 World Cup.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2022

The Canadian Press