It was a searing lesson learned against one the legendary national teams in one of the cradles of rugby.
The Langford-based Canadian team was routed 68-12 by Wales before a capacity-limited crowd of 8,200 fans at 74,000-seat Principality (formerly Millennium) Stadium in Cardiff, on the site where the iconic Cardiff Arms Park once stood.
Canada was hoping to get off to a quick start and Quinn Ngawati of Victoria, among seven Canadian players earning their first caps, almost provided it with a bold steal in the first two minutes but it led to a missed penalty by Peter Nelson. Canada, however, still got its quick strike through a try by Kainoa Lloyd to go ahead 5-0.
But it didn’t get better than that for Canada, even with the Welsh team missing several players to a British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. The plucky Canadians kept sticking their noses in the thick of the battle and it paid off in the second half with a Cooper Coats try converted by Nelson.
“Full credit to Canada, they came at us in the second half,” Wales captain Jonathan Davies said in a statement.
The Canadian captain, Lucas Rumball, rued the several Canadian mistakes against the more accomplished Welsh.
“We gave them too many opportunities and a clinical team like that will take them,” said Rumball.
Rumball said the outmatched Canadians were game: “The effort … the boys always got up and were ready for the next tackle and we can build off that. We’ll continue to work on set pieces and some detail play and come back ready for England next week.”
That comes next Saturday at Twickenham, another hallowed home of rugby.
Island players on the tour with Canada are St. Michaels University School grad Ngawati, Josh Larsen of Nanaimo, University of Victoria Vikes and Castaways Wanderers product Ilnicki, Will Percillier of Victoria, Doug Fraser of Ladysmith, and senior national team debutantes Isaac Olsen and Lachlan Kratz of Victoria and Foster Dewitt of Courtenay. There are 11 uncapped players in total with Canada. No players from the Langford-based Canadian sevens team were picked because they are preparing for this month’s Tokyo Olympics.
The Canadian Tests against world No. 6 Wales and No. 3 England are in preparation for the upcoming 2023 World Cup regional qualifiers and are the first games for Canada since the 2019 World Cup in Japan.
Americas qualifying for the 2023 World Cup in France begins in the fall with Canada playing home games against the U.S. on Sept. 4 in St. John’s and South America No. 1 or No. 2 on Oct. 2 at Starlight Stadium in Langford.