Canada made an impressive start to the new America’s Championship, with a comprehensive, seven-try win over the Reggae Warriors in Levittown, Pennsylvania, USA, home of the Bucks County Sharks.
Both sides were very different to the squads that played in the World Cup Qualifiers seven months ago. The Wolverines having been forced into further last minute changes which saw coach Jamie Lester come out of retirement, after young half Barak Pauls failed his fitness test at the captain’s run a few hours before the game.
“Our forwards laid the platform with some strong running and the whole team defended well which was most pleasing,” said Lester. “To keep your opposition from scoring a try is always what you hope to achieve.”
The match was disrupted by a thunderstorm which forced the sides to leave the field for half an hour, by which time Canada were 24-0 ahead. The wet ball proved to be a problem for both sides thereafter, affecting handling, and the Jamaicans – despite some strong running from their forwards – were unable to find the last pass to capitalise.
In the last ten minutes the Wolverines extended their advantage, skipper for the day Christian Miller bursting through tackles to score out wide, Kelly landing his fifth conversion.
Lester was sin binned in the last minute for talking back to American referee Vince Lawson and, with the final action, Adrian Myers stepped up to kick the penalty goal to ensure the Jamaicans weren’t nilled.
JRLA head coach Romeo Monteith commented: “Our forwards worked hard but we couldn’t get over the try line despite the opportunities we created out wide. We are a team in transition, but we’ll have to come out again next week and lift ourselves against a very tough USA team.”
Game 2 will see USA Hawks take on Jamaica next weekend in Philadelphia.