Canadian junior ruggers settle for silver

A trio of Abbotsford rugby players helped the Canadian under-20 men’s team to a runner-up finish at the Junior World Rugby Trophy in Chile.

A trio of Abbotsford rugby players helped the Canadian under-20 men’s team to a runner-up finish at the Junior World Rugby Trophy tournament in Temuco, Chile.

Team Canada, featuring Robert Bateman Secondary grads Ryan March, Justin Douglas and Jorden Sandover-Best, dropped a 45-23 decision to Italy in the title game on Sunday.

The win put Italy back into the International Rugby Board’s elite Junior World Champion-ship next year, while Canada will try for promotion again at the second-tier Junior World Trophy.

Canada was within striking distance in the second half, trailing 17-16, but a pair of yellow cards paved the way for Italy to score two quick tries and stretch the lead to 31-16, and they cruised from there.

“Italy became more physically dominant in the second half,” Canadian coach Mike Shelley said. “It led to us going down to 13 players, where we gave up the points. Italy were strong and didn’t risk much.”

Canada had posted a perfect 3-0 record during round robin play to punch its ticket to the final, beating Tonga (24-6), Japan (39-15) and Uruguay (36-15) along the way.