Russia notched its first-ever victory over Canada in men’s rugby with a 43-20 win Saturday afternoon at Twin Elm Rugby Park.
The match was the second of three test games as part of Canada’s June International Series.
Canada is now 0-2-0 after losing its first match 48-10 to Scotland in Edmonton last weekend and wraps up the series against the United States in Halifax, N.S., on June 23. Russia is 1-1-0 as it lost its opening match to the U.S. 62-13.
Canada had a perfect 4-0 record against Russia going back to its first meeting in 2009, but struggled mightily on this day.
Leading 26-10, Russia continued to dominate right from the start of the second half when Aleksei Mikhaltsov scored his second try of the game as he chased a kick down and dove across the line. With a successful conversion, Russia took a commanding 33-10 lead.
Anton Rudoi picked up his third try of the day early in the second half to put the game well out of reach as Russia led 40-13 to the disappointment of the 3,312 on hand. A penalty kick in the 68th minute rounded out the scoring for Russia.
Canada was able to give fans something to cheer about in the dying minutes as Nick Blevins beat his defender to score his first and the team’s second try of the game.
Canada also scored on a penalty kick in the second half.
The home side got off to a good start taking a 3-0 lead on a penalty kick early in the game, but from that point on it was all Russia.
The Russians went on to score four tries and jump out to a 19-3 lead before Canada was able to score its first try late in the half as Luke Campbell powered through the defence and punched his way in, while Brock Staller was successful on the conversion to make it a 19-10 game.
The Russians came right back and scored yet again through left wing Mikhaltsov to take a 26-10 lead at the half.
Canada now has a 4-5-0 record when playing at Twin Elm Rugby Park.
The Canadian men, ranked 21st in the world, are using the June internationals to gear up for a four-team repechage tournament in November that represents its last chance to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press