LANGFORD, BC - Team Canada scored an impressive 28-10 win over Uruguay Tuesday evening in their opening match of the 2012 IRB Americas Rugby Championship at Westhill Stadium.
With an enthusiastic crowd of 1,745 looking on, Canada had the game won at halftime, leading 18-3 and then salting it away in the second half with a try and penalty goal.
Connor Braid led the Canadian scoring with three penalty goals and two converts. Canadian tries came from team captain Tyler Ardon, Patrick Parfrey and Liam Underwood.
Uruguay's lone try came late in the second half from Juan Diego Ormaechea, Felipe Berchesi converting. Berchesi also scored a game opening penalty goal four minutes into the game.
Canada twice was forced to play with just 14 players as tempers flared after nine minutes into the second half when centre Nick Blevins was handed a ten minute yellow card for a rough tackle on Uruguay Gaston Mieres and then again at ther 25 minute mark when Ardron was sent off for repeated infringement.
"I didn't think we played a lot or rugby in the first half,"said Canadian coach Kieran Crowley."But I think we put Uruguay under a lot of pressure. In the second half we played better but you can't play well when you lose two players like we did. but we did get the win which was good and now we have to look forward to Tuesday and the U.S.
Canada plays the US in the night (7:30 p.m.) game while Argentina and Uruguay meet in the 5:30 p.m. opener. Argentina, the two-time ARC defending champion, will also be looking for it second straight win after soundly defeating the US 39-3 in Friday's tournament opening match.
After Berchesi put Uruguay ahead 3-0 four minutes in, Canada took over when Ardron picked up an errant Berchesi pass and ran 50 yards into the end zone. After a Braid penalty goal, Parfrey put Canada ahead even further when he scored from ten yards out. Two more penalty goals from Braid late in the first half and then a second half try by Underhill and Braid's third penalty goal wrapped it up for Canada.
A similar performance against the US should put Canada in a solid position for a shot at the title on October 20 when they face Argentina in what looks like a winner take all game.