KINGSTON, Ont. -- New skipper Aaron Carpenter scored the winning try and full back James Pritchard kicked in 13 points as Canada defeated the U.S. Eagles 28-25 in international Test rugby on Saturday.
In the first Test match for both nations since the 2011 World Cup, both sides scored three tries in a game that went from end to end.
"It was a tough game and a real nail-biter at the end, but we were happy to take the win," said Canada head coach Kieran Crowley in a release.
"That had us playing frantically and the U.S. made us pay for it. But it was a win in a Test match and we're happy for that."
Pritchard's goal kicking proved the difference and Carpenter was named man-of-the-match in his 43rd Test cap, but first as captain.
Canada scored first in the fourth minute when Evans ran straight through the U.S. defence from 22 metres out, scoring a try near the posts. Pritchard converted to make it 7-0 in front of 7,521 fans at Queen's University's Richardson Stadium.
The U.S. replied four minutes later when full back Chris Wyles got the ball to winger Luke Hume, who scored in the corner. Will Holder's conversion attempt came up short.
Canada hit back from a line out in the 12th minute. Carpenter picked up a bouncing pass and broke the line getting deep into the Americans' 22. From the ensuing ruck, Sean White passed to Ciaran Hearn who scored in the corner.
Pritchard made the touchline conversion to increase the lead to 14-5.
Two goals kicked by the Americans and one by the home side closed the gap to 17-11.
James Paterson's try for the Eagles in the 30th minute gave the U.S. the lead for the first time, 18-17.
Canada had the last say in the half when the U.S. conceded a penalty in the 34th minute. Pritchard kicked three more points to return the lead to Canada, 20-18 at the break.
Pritchard kicked another goal early in the second half to extend the lead to 23-18.
A missed penalty goal attempt for Canada in the 71st minute was caught by D.T.H. van der Merwe, who looked dangerous on the counter attack.
He broke into the U.S. 22, dummied right but then popped left allowing Carpenter to score in the corner after outrunning the cover defence. The conversion was missed as Canada increased the lead to 28-18.
The U.S. came back in the dying minutes and the Canadian defence held until the 78th when flanker Scott Lavalla barged over near the posts. Holder's conversion made it 28-25, but the Americans would not get any closer.
"We played in peaks and valleys and had some rusty moments," commented U.S. coach Mike Tolkin. "Like Canada, we are just getting back together for the first time.
"We will be looking for improvements over the next few games."
Up next for Canada is Italy in a night game on Friday at Toronto's BMO field.