US and Canadian Rugby battle Euro nations with big crowds in tow
The last two weeks in North America have been enormous for the sport of rugby with Italy and Georgia touring to battle the United States and Canada.
Usually this time of the year teams such as Italy A, Argentina A and basically the practice squads of the world come down for a vacation err… rugby tour to Canada and the US.
For the North Americans to be treated with the Italian national side and the Georgians who many speculate will be the next side to expand the European Six Nations is something which the Canadian and American national teams have needed to gain more frequent ‘big game’ match experience.
Before the US and Canada met their European counterparts they resumed their old rivalry with a test match in Kingston, Ontario. The match was tight with Canada clawing back a half time deficit to win 28-25.
For the 1st week of this mini tour, despite being down at the break the Italians managed to grind their way back for a 25-16 victory over the Canadians before 12,220 spectators at BMO field in Toronto.
The Americans got the better of their European opponents defeating the gritty Georgians 36-20 giving them some confidence for a possible upset against the Azzurri.
The second week gave the Canadians a chance to finish with a win over a European side and did just that with a convincing win 31-12, a slightly better margin then the Americans which should be pleasing for them.
The USA were never going to be favourites against the Italians and weren’t helped in the game by being reduced to 13 men with players getting binned in the 44th and 65th minute. A penalty and a try towards the finish of the game gave Italy the 30-10 victory to silence the 17,214 fans watching at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas.
This was a huge crowd for rugby in the US making the event a success before the kick-off, Houston and USA rugby should be ecstatic with that figure.
It’s clear from this short tour that the players and spectators of rugby in the USA and Canada thrive from getting these home tests against stronger and more respectable sides and they will need to if they are to keep advancing forward in this sport.
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- Rugby Union