Brazil have made history again by defeating Canada by 24 points to 23 at the Estádio do Pacaembu on Friday evening. Rain in São Paulo made for tricky conditions and both teams struggled with their handling, but the Tupis earned full marks by outscoring Canada three tries to two.
In a scene eerily reminiscent of last year’s win over the USA at the same venue, Moisés Duque calmly converted a Lucas Tranquez try in the 79th minute of play to give Brazil the lead. With just one minute to play the restart was one by the Tupis but Lucas Duque bizarrely opted to kick downfield rather than keep the ball tight with the forwards. Canada moved the ball wide in attack as they Brazilian fans held their breath but a knock-on into touch gave the ball back to Brazil.
To everyone’s surprise the referee said there was still time on the clock so again tensions were at their maximum as the two sides packed down for the scrum. Duque, Lucas, put the ball in and with the ball hooked back to his side, he promptly hammered the ball into the stands with the referee’s whistle at last signalling full time.
The early moments of the match saw both sides committing errors, and it was Brazil who struck first through Daniel Sancery. The fullback ghosted through three tackles to run in for a seven-pointer. Not to be outdone, just three minutes later Nick Blevins scored a near carbon-copy on the other side of the pitch, using footwork and a fend to make his way to the line.
Moises Duque added a penalty goal to give Brazil a short lead but Gordon McRorie replied for Canada, tearing through a chasm in the Tupis defense at the back of a lineout to put Canada ahead. Duque himself replied with a brilliant team score. Sancery entered the line to create the overlap and after swerving to the outside, offloaded back to his inside to find Duque in support. The conversion made it an uncomfortable 17-14 for Brazil at the break.
Canada changed their approach in the second half, opting to keep the ball in the forwards rather than risk further handling errors out wide. The tactic paid off with two penalty goals and then a drop goal from McRorie after he had pushed out to flyhalf on the entrance of Phil Mack. The six-point lead looked safe heading into the final minutes but Canada could not take advantage of scoring position and instead it was Brazil who countered with another attacking move. The Duque brothers both made inroads and then Yan Rosetti broke free, stopped just short of the line. Tranquez was following up and took the short pass over the line to cue Duque’s historic conversion.
With that Canada will drop to 23rd in the World Rankings, their lowest point since the advent of the official rankings in 2003. Brazil climb two spots to 31st. The two sides finish the Americas Rugby Championship tied with 8 competition points and at the time of writing it’s not clear whether the tie-breaker is the head-on-head result or points differential. Brazil, however, will not care if they finish in 4th or 5th. They know who the real winners are this year.
[EDIT: The tie-breaker has now been confirmed to be head-to-head. Brazil finish 4th, Canada 5th.]
Tries – D. Sancery (10’), M. Duque (37’), L. Tranquez (78’)
Cons – M. Duque 3 (11’, 38’, 79’)
Pens – M. Duque (16’)
Yellow cards – D. Lopez (72’)
Tries – N. Blevins (13’), G. McRorie (26’)
Cons – G. McRorie 2 (14’, 27’)
Pens – G. McRorie 2 (48’, 55’)
Drop goals – G. McRorie (66’)
Yellow cards – B. Beukeboom (72’)
1 Jonatas Paulo (17 Wilton Rebolo 38’), 2 Yan Rosetti, 3 Pedro Bengaló (18 Matheus Rocha 45’), 4 Lucas Piero (19 Diego López 45’), 5 Luiz Vieira (20 João Luiz da Ros 74’), 6 André Arruda, 7 Arthur Bergo, 8 Nick Smith (capt.), 9 Lucas Duque, 10 Josh Reeves, 11 Lucas Tranquez, 12 Moisés Duque, 13 Felipe Sancery, 14 Ariel Rodrigues, 15 Daniel Sancery
Not used: 16 Luan Almeida, 21 Matheus Cruz, 22 Matheus Cláudio, 23 Stefano Giantorno
1 Rob Brouwer (17 Djustice Sears-Duru 53’), 2 Eric Howard (16 Ray Barkwill 49’), 3 Matt Tierney, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 5 Liam Chisholm (19 Reegan O’Gorman 64’), 6 Matt Beukeboom, 7 Lucas Rumball, 8 Admir Cejvanovic, 9 Gordon McRorie (capt.), 10 Gradyn Bowd (21 Phil Mack 49’), 11 Rory McDonell, 12 Nick Blevins, 13 Conor Trainor, 14 Dan Moor, 15 Guiseppe du Toit
Not used: 18 Cole Keith, 20 Clay Panga, 22 George Barton, 23 Brock Staller
Referee: Damián Schneider (UAR)
Assistants: Ricardo Sant’Anna (CBRu) & Murilo Bragotto (CBRu)