The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
25 November, 2010
The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Canada suffers first loss on European rugby tour, going down 22-15 to Georgia
The Canadian Press
TBILISI, Georgia - Canada suffered the first defeat on its European rugby tour Saturday, losing 22-15 to Georgia.
Canadian centre DTH van der Merwe almost threw the visitors a lifeline with a dramatic line break in the final seconds but the Glasgow Warriors speedster was stopped after a 30-metre run.
Georgia, which like Canada is headed to the World Cup next year, is ranked three places lower than No. 14 Canada. Going into the Test match, Canadian coach Kieran Crowley called the Georgians a “massive step up” from the first two games of the tour.
Crowley said Georgia’s ability to take away Canada’s set piece platform was the major reason for the loss.
“Our set play wasn’t great,” he said. “We put ourselves in a bad position - with some bad clearance kicks allowing Georgia to get close to our line and put us under pressure.”
Crowley said Canada didn’t start exerting pressure and spreading the ball to the balls until late in the contest.
“The last 20 minutes we played better but it was a bit too late,” Crowley said. “We have got to learn how to play teams around us in the rankings.
“That (Georgia) team was a pretty good sort of team so good on them to do what they did.”
The Canadians were coming off wins of 43-12 over No. 25 Belgium and 60-22 over No. 23 Spain. The tour ends next weekend against No. 22 Portugal.
Jason Marshall and Aaron Carpenter scored tries for Canada while James Pritchard added a penalty and a conversion.
The Canadians were down 10-0 in the first half before prop Marshall scored to make it 10-5. Georgia responded with another try led by the forwards, mauling over from one metre out to increase the lead to 15-5. Pritchard’s penalty made it 15-8 at the half.
The Georgians pressured Canada in the second half, scoring a try off a chip and chase that was gathered at the goal-line to make it 22-8 with 15 minutes to go.
A converted try by Aaron Carpenter, with time running down, cut the lead to 22-15.
Despite the result, Crowley said there were some bright spots for Canada, including the play of tight-head prop Marshall.
“He is certainly my choice for Canadian man of the match,” the coach said. “For him to play 60 minutes at tight-head prop on such a hard day and then slot over to hooker and make all his throws the way he did was impressive.
“With the ball in hand and defensively he just made a huge difference out there today.”

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