Canada Overwhelms US in Pacific Rim Opener
(Vancouver, Canada) 10 May 1997 -- Two first-half tries from wing Winston Stanley paced Canada to a 32-7 halftime lead, en route to a surprising 53-14 victory over the United States today in each team's opening Pacific Rim Rugby Championship match at Vancouver's Thunderbird Stadium.

Canadian flyhalf Gareth opened the scoring with a penalty goal. But Stanley's first tally, a 65-yard intercept try at 13 minutes that made the count 10-0, set the tone for Canada's convincing triumph. Particularly in loose play, the hosts outhustled and outmuscled the US. The Eagles also failed to get much of their opportunities.

Although halfback Andre Bachelet earned the US a penalty try when he caught the goaline defense napping--Bachelet scored anyway, but the penalty try virtually ensured the conversion--Canada broke the 10-7 game open with tries at 31,36, and 41 minutes by replacement wing Bob Ross, flanker Al Charron, and Stanley again. Two conversions and a penalty goal from flyhalf Gareth Rees ballooned the halftime bulge to 25.

The United States gained the advantage of a stiff breeze after the turnaround, but an early tap-move try to flanker John Hutchinson effectively sealed the contest. Two more Canadian tries--one a rare second penalty try in one contest--and a breakaway score by US replacement center Mark Scharrenberg closed out the scoring.

"I want to credit Canada on an excellent display," US Head Coach Jack Clark commented after the game. "They got us on our back foot early. But it's a long summer, and we'll live to fight another day."

Canada's win makes their Pacific Rim record 1-0, while the US falls to 0-1. Hong Kong and Japan are the league's other two competitors. The US next takes the field on Saturday, May 17, against Hong Kong in Hong Kong, before wrapping up its difficult road trip with Japan in Osaka on Sunday, May 25.

United States: Tries: penalty, Scharrenberg

Conversions: Alexander (2)
Penalty goals: none

Canada: Tries: Stanley (2), Ross, Charron, Hutchinson, penalty, Snow

Conversions: Rees (6)
Penalty goals: Rees (2)