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Wales 34-13 Canada

Wales (10) 34
Tries: Stoddart, Halfpenny 2, penalty tries 2 Cons: Biggar 3 Pen: Biggar

Canada (6) 13
Try: Smith Con: Pritchard Pens: Pritchard 2

By Gareth Roberts

Morgan Stoddart scores against Canada
Morgan Stoddart scores Wales' opening try against Canada

An injury to James Hook added to Wales's worries after a lacklustre win over Canada at the Millennium Stadium.

The Ospreys player lasted just 19 minutes before coming off with a knee tendon problem, allowing club colleague Dan Biggar to earn his first cap.

In his absence, Wales scored tries through Morgan Stoddart, Leigh Halfpenny (2) and two penalty tries.

Ryan Smith intercepted a Biggar pass for Canada's try as they regained some pride after losing 55-0 to Ireland.

Wales were clearly over-eager and nervous at the start, the most obvious manifestations being full-back Stoddart's snatched failure to deal with early Canadian kicks.

Jones was unimpressed with his side

That lack of composure was evident throughout the first quarter as Wales failed to impose themselves and Canada took every opportunity to make their presence felt - albeit often illegally - at the breakdown.

Canada's early determination got its reward when Bedford full-back James Pritchard's penalty gave them an early lead.

Hook limped out of the action after less than 20 minutes, meaning Wales had a debutant half-back pairing - Scarlet Martin Roberts having started the contest.

Ryan Jones attempted to provide some focus by carrying the ball on several occasions into the visitors' midfield and while Wales were keen to use the pace at their disposal out wide, the skipper's example was what the hosts needed.

But after going ahead thanks to Stoddart's well-worked try, set up by Tom Shanklin, Wales were punished for their pedestian ways.

Pritchard's second penalty restored Canada's lead and it fell to Welsh rugby's latest young hero to get his side back into the game.

James Hook grimaces in pain in the tackle that caused his early departure
James Hook grimaces in pain in the tackle that caused his early departure
Halfpenny had a glut of defenders between him and the line when he gathered near the visitors' 22, but that did not deter him.

The Cardiff Blues wing swerved inside and out in a manner Shane Williams would have been proud of before Shanklin added his strength at the line to help the winger ground the ball.

Biggar's second missed conversion meant Wales only led 10-6 at the break, but the debutant recorded his first points for his country early in the second half with a well-struck penalty.

Australian referee Stuart Dickinson's sin-bin warning three minutes later to Ryan Jones and his team over their tactics at the breakdown put Wales on notice that Canada were by no means finished.

Wales were still in a rut of their own making and 11 minutes after the break, coach Warren Gatland showed his ruthless streak, replacing the skipper with the previous weekend's hero Andy Powell, while Roberts made way for Dwayne Peel.

The moves had an immediate effect with Powell breaking the Canada defence at the first time of asking, almost setting up a try for Ian Gough.

At the second attempt, Powell's power-drive from a close-range scrum drew Canada offside and Wales called to pack down again.

Wales then needed three goes to make their scrummaging advantage pay, and it came when referee Dickinson lost his patience and awarded a penalty try, converted by Biggar.

A similar chain of events resulted in a second penalty try on 72 minutes, with Biggar converting again.

But he then committed the same error Hook made against South Africa last week, gifting centre Smith an interception try.

The Canadian ran in to score from around 45 metres, with Pritchard converting, but it was Halfpenny who claimed the final score of the night, with his second try, again converted by Biggar.

Wales: Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets); Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Mark Jones (Scarlets); James Hook (Ospreys), Martin Roberts (Scarlets); John Yapp (Cardiff Blues), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), Rhys Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), Ian Gough (Ospreys) , Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Robin Sowden-Taylor (Cardiff Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt).
Replacements: Dan Biggar for James Hook (18); Jamie Roberts for Tom Shanklin (45); Andy Powell for Ryan Jones (52); Dwayne Peel for Martin Roberts (52); Eifion Lewis-Roberts for Rhys Thomas (64).

Canada: James Pritchard; Ciaran Hearn, Bryn Keys, Ryan Smith, Justin Mensah-Coker; Ander Monro (M Evans 73), Ed Fairhurst (M Williams 23-35/57); Kevin Tkachuk, Pat Riordan (capt), John Thiel, Tyler Hotson (M Burak 60), Josh Jackson, Jebb Sinclair, Adam Kleeberger, Aaron Carpenter (S Michael-Stephen 54).
Replacements: Mike Pletch, Frank Walsh, Mike Burak, Sean Stephen, Morgan Williams, Matt Evans, Dean Van Camp.

Ref: Stuart Dickinson (Australia).

Att: 59,326

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see also
Jones underwhelmed with win
14 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales v Canada as it happened
14 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 15-20 South Africa
08 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Ireland 55-0 Canada
08 Nov 08 |  Irish
Northern rocks: Canadian rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
28 Oct 08 |  Wales

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