In front of a crowd of over 3,000 despite heavy rain, Jamaica just missed out on claiming the fourth annual Caribana Trophy, losing 24-20 to Canada in Toronto.
Nevertheless, JRLA head coach Romeo Monteith felt his team gave it their best effort. “The conditions were harsh with the wet ball but the boys dug deep and gave themselves a chance at the end,” he said.
“If a few calls had gone our way and we had been more careful with the ball we would have done better but it was an entertaining game for the fans and the Reggae Warriors continue to improve. I’m very proud of this team and all Jamaica should be too.”
Jamaica started strongly when second rower Nathan Campbell bust through three tackles and sprinted 40 metres for a try after 20 minutes, Ryan Grant landing the conversion.
Canada responded soon after through Tom Clancy with a sneak over from dummy half, Steve Piatek adding the extras.
There was controversy two minutes later when referee Paul Byrne allowed Canada a quick tap close to Jamaica’s line while the visitors were still retreating, Cam Grace racing over despite the protests and Piatek goaling.
Joe Perez-Bangay scampered through a tiring Jamaica defence and again Piatek kicked the conversion to give Canada a commanding 18-6 lead but Jamaica responded in the run up to the break, through centre Hamish Barnes, with a blistering long range run to make it 18-10.
Canada scored the final points of the half when Piatek slotted over a penalty.
Canada opened strongly in the second period when speedy winger Brett King latched on to a grubber kick from Matt Wyles in the 54th minute to make it 24-10.
Jamaica then had the lion share of possession but were thwarted by strong defence from the Wolverines and handling errors.
In the final 10 minutes, Sheffield Eagles’ Corey Hanson powered over in the right corner and Renaldo Wade scored on the left hand side, with Hanson converting to make it 24-20 and set up a nervy finish.
Canada 24 (20)
Tries: Tom Clancy, Cam Grace, Joe Perez-Bangay, Brett King
Goals: Steve Piatek 4
Danny Tupou, Brett King, Christian Miller, Lukas Silver, Tony Felix, Matt Wyles, Steve Piatek, Rob Autagavaia, Adam Moody, Cam Grace, Tom Clancy, Billy Skidgmore, Denny McCarthy (Subs – all used) Chad Bain, Erick Alvarado, Braden Stubel, Joe Perez-Bangay
Jamaica 20 (10)
Tries: Nathan Campbell, Hamish Barnes, Corey Hanson, Renaldo Wade
Goals: Ryan Grant 1, Corey Hanson 1
Joseph Shae, Adrian Mckenzie, Hamish Barnes, Corey Hanson, Renaldo Wade, Ryan Grant, Robert Rodney, Antonio Baker, Marvin Thompson, Alec Harris, Nathan Campbell, Khamisi McKain, Jermaine Pinnock (Subs – all used) Chevaughn Bailey, Greg Hall, Tyrone Rowe, Kenardo Morgan
Referee – Paul Byrne (Eng)
Attendance – 3,129