Canada Under 20s have suffered a minor setback in their preparations for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy 2012 in June after suffering a second loss to their Romanian counterparts on Saturday to lose the series 2-0.
Romania failed to qualify for JWRT 2012 with Georgia and Romania claiming the two European spots in the eight-team event, but the experience of playing against a strong and physical outfit is something coach Mike Shelley believes will reap rewards for Canada.
“It’s an international competition, with us being so far away from other rugby playing countries, we don’t get this experience very often,” admitted Shelley. “We need more matches at the international level because it’s so much more competitive than anything else these players face.”
Romania had won the first match 30-22 at Shawnigan Lake and Canada were therefore keen to avenge that defeat before a packed stadium at Bear Mountain in Langford, British Columbia four days later.
The improvement in Canada’s defence was evident from the first match and while Romania controlled the scrum with their size and power, it was the Canadians who led through 6-3 before Marian Gorcioaia’s try just before half time.
The strength of Romania’s players continued to keep Canada on the back foot and resulted in another try for Tachel Justian just past the hour mark. Canada battled bravely, stopping three attempts on their own line, but Gorcioaia eventually broke through for his second try.
Canada will be looking to build on this series when they face neighbours USA in late May, the final chance to fine-tune preparations for the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Salt Lake City from 18-30 July.
The Canadians, whose best finish on the Junior World Rugby Trophy stage is fifth in 2011, have been drawn in Pool B with European champions Georgia, two-time runners-up Japan and African champions Zimbabwe.