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Canada 23-32 Wales

Canada (9) 23
Tries: Duke, Fairhurst Cons: Pritchard (2) Pens: Pritchard (3)
Wales (16) 32
Tries: Czekaj, James Cons: Biggar (2) Pens: Biggar (6)


Chris Czekaj crosses against Canada for the first try of Wales' summer tour
Chris Czekaj crosses for the first try of Wales' summer tour

Wales opened their summer tour of North America with a hard-fought win over Canada at York University, Toronto.

Chris Czekaj's early try raised the hope of the inexperienced tourists, but James Pritchard kept Canada in touch with 13 points in a 100% kicking show.

A Sean Duke score shook Wales after the break, Tom James responding with a try before an excellent Ed Fairhurst strike kept things alive in the final quarter.

Wales were thankful for Dan Biggar's 22 points in a flawless goal-kicking show.

Wales - who have lost just once to Canada in 13 games - looked rusty in the opening exchanges and centre Ryan Smith penetrated the visitors' midfield defence with a fifth-minute break.

606: DEBATE

That resulted in a penalty in front of the posts for Pritchard, the Bedford full-back successful with that kick and a second shot at goal five minutes later.

Turnover ball sparked the first Wales score, Gareth Cooper spotting space behind and putting in a long kick over the defence.

Duke covered on his own line but fumbled under pressure from Andrew Bishop, allowing Czekaj - winning his first cap since a serious leg injury on the 2007 summer tour - the simplest of tries, converted superbly by Biggar.

A lost line-out in their own 22 piled the pressure on the Maple Leaves, Luke Tait killing the ball and being sent to the sin bin, allowing Biggar to extend the lead to 10-6.

The fly-half added two more penalties against one from Pritchard during Tait's absence, then - with half-time looming - Wales put together their best move of the match.

Gareth Cooper leaves the pitch at half-time against Canada after picking up an injury
Gareth Cooper was injured on the stroke of half-time

Young Scarlets debutants Daniel Evans and Jonathan Davies combined well down the right as Wales drove to the Canucks' line.

The home side conceded a penalty, Wales choosing to go for a scrum, only to see Cooper just denied a try in the corner.

The scrum-half took a heavy knock in his attempt to score and was replaced at the break by Dwayne Peel.

The tourists opened the second period brightly, before Robin Sowden-Taylor attempted to exploit a huge overlap with a loose pass to the wing.

The ball went astray, Canada quickly counter-attacking as Fairhurst found Duke on the right wing.

The University of Victoria three-quarter made up for his first-half error with a stunning sprint to the line, Pritchard's conversion levelling the game at 16-16.

James soon got Wales back on the front foot with a superb midfield break, the forwards maintaining the pressure with excellent direct driving to create the space for James to cross for his first international try.

Biggar maintained his perfect kicking return with the conversion and two more penalties.

Tom James crosses for his first international try to ease Wales' nerves
Winger Tom James scored at a crucial time for Wales

But the home side hit back with a delightful break down the blind-side, sweet handling getting the ball to captain Pat Riordan whose pass back inside sent Fairhurst over for the try.

Pritchard converted with style to get his team back to within a score at 29-23.

Wales brought on Craig Mitchell for his first cap as they encamped in the Canada half, and the Ospreys prop was denied a debut try by the video referee as he knocked on as he crossed the line following a period of intense pressure.

But Wales had already been awarded a penalty, Biggar's kick taking the lead to nine points with seven minutes remaining.

That allowed Wales breathing space and Jonathan Spratt was brought on for his first cap.

But the buoyant home side - boosted by a lively crowd of over 8,000 - kept battling to the end, denying James a second score from long range.

Wales' two-Test tour concludes with a game against the USA in Chicago next Saturday.


Canada: Pritchard, Hearn, van der Merwe, Smith, Duke, Monro, Fairhurst, Tkachuk, Riordan, Tiedemann, Burak, Tait, Dala, Kleeberger, Carpenter.
Replacements: Spicer for Duke (62), Sinclair for Monro (40), Evans for Fairhurst (73), Pletch for Tiedemann (60), Hotson for Tait (61), Wooldridge for Dala (69). Not Used: Mack.

Sin Bin: Tait (21)

Wales: Evans, T. James, J. Davies, Bishop, Czekaj, Biggar, Cooper, Duncan Jones, Hibbard, Yapp, B. Davies, Deiniol Jones, Dafydd Jones, Sowden-Taylor, R. Jones.
Replacements: Peel for Cooper (40), Williams for Hibbard (76), Mitchell for Yapp (61), Spratt. Not Used: Gough, Warburton, Robinson.

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Att: 8,450



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see also
Canadian tactics frustrate Wales
30 May 09 |  Welsh
Wales' summer tour in photos
28 May 09 |  Welsh
Northern rocks: Canadian rugby
21 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Arrested development: USA rugby
29 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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