(Burlington, Vermont) 6 June 1998 -- Eight of nine goakicking from flyhalf and captain Gareth Rees carried visiting Canada to a 37-3 win over the United States in a Canterbury of New Zealand Pacific Rim Rugby Championship match today at Centennial Field.
In a stop-and-start game marred by penalties, Canada steadily moved to a 19-3 halftime lead on four penalty goals by Rees and a 25th-minute try by hooker Pat Dunkley, converted by Rees. US flyhalf Matt Alexander countered with a 21st-minute penalty goal, but missed on two other occasions. Led by flanker John Hutchinson, the visitors held most of the ball.
The US seemed to make a good start after the half, but persisted in unforced handling errors and penalties. Meanwhile, Canadian fullback Joe Pagano scored on a pretty passing movement, just about putting an end to American comeback hopes.
Two more Rees penalty goals silenced all but several hundred boisterous Canadian supporters in the crowd of 4,300, before replacement lock Nick Whkowski scored a last-gasp try to pad the scoreline. Although the US had a bit more possession in the second half, its best scoring chance--Kurt Shuman's 75th-minute break--ended when the replacement center stumbled and fell with an open path to the goalline.
"When we've got our heads in the game, we execute the pattern, score tires, and play entertaining rugby," commented captain Tom Billups. "When we let ourselves down, it doesn't happen."
Canada moves to 3-1 and 13 points in the Pacific Rim, while the US falls to 1-3 and remains at six point. Hong Kong (10 points) and Japan (6 points) play in Tokyo later today.
Final: Canada 37 United States 3 (halftime Canada 19-3)
United States: Pens: Alexander
Canada: Tries: Pat Dunkley, Joe Pagano, Nick Whkowski
Cons: Gareth Rees (2)
Pens: Gareth Rees (6)
Referee: Pablo Deluca (Argentina)