Canadian rugby squad evokes national defence policy against U.S.

Members of Canada and U.S.A lock-up in a scrum during the second half of the Canada's 16-9 win at...

Members of Canada and U.S.A lock-up in a scrum during the second half of the Canada's 16-9 win at Ellerslie Rugby Park on Saturday,

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:19 AM ET

EDMONTON - It came down to the final minute, but Canada hung on for a 16-9 victory over the U.S. to open the Pacific Nations Cup on Saturday.

The 3,500 filling Ellerslie Rugby Park to capacity watched the home side come up with a pair of defensive stands in the 80th and final minute to keep the Canadian try-zone free of American boots for the entire game.

“They were down by seven they and knew they had to score,” said captain Aaron Carpenter, whose squad next takes on Fiji in Ottawa on June 5, before facing Tonga in Kingston, Ont., June 8.

“We just trust our defence to do a lot of work on defence, and we’re really proud of it.

“So to keep a clean sheet as far as tries are concerned, we’re pretty happy about that.”

The U.S. almost muddied it up 11 minutes in, threatening to overtake a 3-0 Canadian lead before centre Andrew Suniula fumbled the ball away on the doorstep of Canada’s try-zone.


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