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Rugby Canada shocks France with 33-27 Churchill Cup upset at Infinity Park

Canada (red) vs. France

Photo by Frank Berta
Canada (red) vs. France Photo by Frank Berta

In a battle to determine which team would meet England in the Cup Final, Rugby Canada and France A met in the final pool stage of the 2010 Churchill Cup International Rugby Tournament at Glendale’s Infinity Park Sunday.

France took the lead in the opening minute on a converted penalty kick. A second penalty conversion gave the French a six-point advantage until Canada’s Chauncey O’Toole broke through the French defense for a try. The conversion gave the Canadians a one-point lead, but France struck back immediately. A Romain Cabannes try and successful conversion put the French back on top, and France went on to take a 16-10 lead into the break.

2010 Churchill Cup - Pools
Saturday June 5 Infinity Park
Pool A Canada 48
  Uruguay 6
Pool B United States 39
  Russia 22
Wednesday June 9 Infinity Park
Pool A England Saxons 49
  Russia 17
Pool B France A 43
  Uruguay 10
Sunday June 13 Infinity Park
Pool A England Saxons 32
  United States 9
Pool B Canada 33
  France A 27
2010 Churchill Cup - Finals
Saturday, June 19
Red Bull Arena Harrison, NJ
Bowl Russia  
Final Uruguay  
Plate United States  
Final France A  
Cup England Saxons  
Final Canada  

In the second half, Canada whittled away at the French lead. Following a Matte Evens try (converted) in the fifty-second minute, the Canadians found themselves in the lead by a 23-19 margin, and the fans at Infinity Park were starting to believe that the unthinkable could happen.

In a game where the lead changed hands seven times, it came down to a final try (converted) by Brian Erichsen with eight minutes remaining to put Canada on top by a score of 33-27. A stiff Canadian defense kept the French off balance and ensured that the score remained in Canada’s favor until the final whistle.

The win advanced Rugby Canada to its first Cup Final in the Churchill Cup Tournament where they will face the England Saxons. The Saxons earned a berth in the Cup Final by defeating the United States earlier Sunday (see story). The USA and France A will meet in the Plate Final.

About Churchill Cup
The Churchill Cup is named for British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Established in 2003, the alliance between the English Rugby Football Union (RFU), Rugby Canada, and USA Rugby was created to help develop the sport in North America following a successful tour of the continent by the English National Team in 2001.

The Churchill Cup has traditionally been a traveling tournament with matches held in multiple cities, but the loss of a major sponsor, Barclays, prompted the Alliance to entertain the idea of a consolidating the tournament to one city. In 2009, the Alliance selected Denver since the city is considered an enthusiastic sports town with a growing appetite for rugby.

USA Rugby’s CEO & President of Rugby Operations Nigel Melville is hopeful that one day Denver will become the tournament’s permanent home.

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