Thomas Blackburn, Evon McKay, Zack Payne, Zack Keen, Ari Stan
Max Radcliff 1/3, Connor Bryon 1/2
Canada’s Junior Wolverines came out on top 24-4 against Jamaica U17s in a tough and physical international test match at the Barbican Football Field in Kingston. The historic encounter marked the first time both nations fielded youth international teams.
“This was everything an international test match should be,” said Canadian team manager Andy Blackburn. “It was an intense end-to-end contest where the final score did not reflect how well matched the teams were. The only difference was that we took full advantage of our opportunities and defended our goal line repeatedly with a passion and physicality well beyond our boys rugby league playing experience, I couldn’t be more impressed with them.”
From the opening whistle, the Canadians were physical in their approach using their size advantage to out-muscle the nimble Jamaicans in midfield. The tourists were first on the board in the 20th minute when their quick-thinking hooker Thomas Blackburn scooted and dummied his way the try line from 20 metres out, Max Radcliff goaling. Evon McKay extended the lead, winger Romaine Dunn scoring Jamaica's only points when he outpaced the defensive from a scrum, Canada leading 10-4 at the break.
Zack Payne, Zack Keen and Ari Stan added tries for the visitors in the second half, Connor Bryon kicking a goal. Despite enjoying long periods of possession, the Young Reggae Warriors were unable to breach the tourists rearguard, too often opting to attack up the middle instead of spreading the ball wide to their speedy wingers and centres.
JRLA director of rugby, Romeo Monteith, commented: “Canada were deserving winners , they played organized and stuck to the simple tasks despite taking some heavy knocks. We played well in patches however an inability to move the ball around the park greatly affected our chances. The boys from both nations had a great experience and the fans were entertained by a fantastic game. Jamaica and Canada will continue to work together to create opportunities for our growing rugby league community; we hope to see many more events such as this.”
Pictured: Romaine Dunn outflanks Canada's defence to score.