Sports
Canadian rugby team falls to Scotland in international friendly

FILE PHOTO

Credits: QMI AGENCY

RICHARD MAUNTAH | TORONTO SUN

And you thought controversial refereeing decisions only happened in Brazil.

Canada's national rugby team felt the brunt of a questionable call late in its international match against Scotland, which cost it a chance to pull out a win on Saturday

The 19-17 loss was disappointing, especially after its 34-25 loss to Japan last weekend. Still, the home side did put on an entertaining show for the 18,788 in the seats at BMO field.

With less than five minutes remaining in the match, Canada was awarded a penalty but the referee reviewed an incident where Canadian flanker Jebb Sinclair came into contact with Scottish player Alasdair Strokosch.

After a few minutes, it was ruled that Sinclair had committed a dangerous play and was red-carded. The penalty opportunity was also taken away.

"I don't know what you can do in a situation where a guy's head gets on the wrong side of an elbow," Canadian head coach Kieran Crowley said. "I thought it was the wrong decision but that's the way he sees it."

Scotland, which has sent a team to North America and a second team to South Africa this summer to evaluate its talent pool for the 2015 World Cup, built a 13-8 lead after the first half. Captain Greig Laidlaw opened the scoring with a penalty three minutes in.

The Canadians were never outmatched and equalled the score with James Pritchard's first penalty kick.

The only try for Canada came off a good run by Ciaran Hearn, who found space 25 metres from the Scottish line. He found Jeff Hassler, who rolled in from five metres out to give Canada an 8-3 lead.

But that score was answered with strong Scottish play inside the Canadian end, finished off by Grant Gilchrist, which was converted. Another penalty kick by Laidlaw increased the lead to five.

Pritchard converted penalty kicks of 17 and 30 metres to give Canada its second lead at 14-13 but while the crowd appreciated the strong defensive effort of the Canadians, Stuart Hogg added another penalty kick to restore Scotland's lead.

Pritchard and Laidlaw would trade penalty kicks midway through the period to complete the scoring.

"I'm gutted for the guys," Crowley said. "We hung in there tough. It came down to the last few minutes and it didn't go our way."

"We've got 80 minutes of competitive rugby to go back and watch," Canadian captain Tyler Ardron said. "We just have to watch it, talk about it, and learn a ton of things from it."

Canada continues its summer schedule next Saturday in Sacramento with a Pacific Nations Cup match against the United States.

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