The music stage next to the pitch was bashing out some good rock and roll numbers at sunny Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton ahead of the international rugby test match between Canada and Romania. Alas for Canada, it was the European visitors who picked up the groove with three try-scoring moves to win the game, 25-9.
It looked as though Canada had taken an early lead with a try in the right corner by DTH Vandermerwe, but on closer scrutiny between the officials and the big screen, he was judged to have put a foot in touch. Canada took the lead temporarily with a penalty kick then 17 minutes into the game, the Romanian forwards got their sprinting legs into action. Second row Johannes Van Heerden broke through a tackle then loaded off the ball to wing forward Viorel Lucaci who crashed over the line uncontested. With the conversion, it was 7-3 to Romania.
Both teams then lost players for different reasons. After another lengthy examination of the big screen replay, the referee pulled out the red card for a Romanian forward who could be seen (on the screen) throwing a punch and downing a Canadian away from the play. Canada took three points from the penalty kick but soon after Conor Trainor had to be helped off the pitch, clearly in a lot of pain with a leg injury. Just before half time, Romania’s stand-off, Florian Vlaicu, kicked a huge one from the centre line but the ball landed just underneath the crossbar. Half-time score: Romania 7-6 Canada.
Romania reinforced their lead with another breakout from a ruck on their own 22 line. The ball was spun out right into the hands of centre Fakaosilea Sione who fed winger Fonovai Tangimana to go over in the corner. Vlaicu was successful with the challenging conversion, making it 14-6.
After Canada and Romania both picked up points from penalty kicks it looked as though the home side had a try from Tyler Ardron. His swan dive over the line would have earned a ten in another sport but to his great disappointment, it didn’t even land five. Yet another long conversation between the officials resulted in the score being turned down due to what appeared to be a high tackle infringement on the touchline.
Romania’s Tangimana got his second try of the game after 62 minutes and with a penalty kick ten minutes later it was 25-9. Despite deep efforts by the Canadian pack in the final three minutes of the game, the Romanian defense held strong and sealed the game.
Final score: Romania 25-9 Canada.
For more photographs from the game, please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography