State of the Nation: Canada

Date published: November 6 2015

As we do at the end of a major tournament, we look at the state of affairs in each of the competing nations. Next up, Canada.

From a performance standpoint there were plenty of positives for head coach Kieran Crowley and Canada’s supporters to be pleased with but unfortunately the results column read four defeats. It could in all honesty have been two wins as they gave a good account of themselves.

The star player was wing DTH van der Merwe who achieved the incredible feat of scoring against all four pool opponents as he showed real tenacity with ball in hand, making him an excellent signing for the Scarlets and begs the question why Glasgow let him slip out the door.

Nathan Hirayama was also in excellent form at fly-half as his distribution was pinpoint while Ciaran Hearn was powerful with ball in hand, making 27 carries over the gainline. That saw him finish in eleventh place overall in the tournament, despite playing just four fixtures.

Unfortunately the absence of Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron for periods of the pool stage somewhat hindered the side but it won’t be their injuries that caused the most headaches, as they had wins over Italy and Romania in their grasp before they slipped through their fingers.

After losing heavily to Ireland in their opener, Canada’s next pool game against Italy saw them lead 15-13 approaching the hour mark before Gonzalo Garcia crossed for a decisive score in the 23-18 loss.

Another defeat followed, against France, before the one that will sting the most, their finale with Romania which they led 15-0 after 53 minutes until the wheels came off and they succumbed to a painful 17-15 loss.

Unfortunately this is not an uncommon occurrence for Canada over the past two years as they have struggled to close out matches, claiming just two wins in seventeen games in that time which, despite their aesthetically pleasing style of play, makes for grim reading for fans.

Will it cost Crowley his job? That remains to be seen as few can criticise Canada’s form and determination under the New Zealander.

They will now look to regroup and build on this form but unfortunately time together on the fifteen-man training field is limited due to the players now switching their focus to the World Sevens Series, with Canada possessing the most players at RWC 2015 with Sevens experience.

Many stress Sevens benefits the skill-set and it is hard to argue judging from the recent action in England and Wales. And it seems club sides around the world are impressed as Hearn and Djustice Sears-Duru joined the many now playing overseas.

That can only benefit Canada who will have already earmarked next year’s home match against Italy as a chance to not just exact revenge but get back to winning ways.