A. Johnson (3), G. Johnson, P. White, A. Brown
Geoff Byland, Adam Moody, Matt Wyles
P. White 4/6
HOTELS OF JACKSONVILLE ATLANTIC CUP 2010
Jamaica bounced back from their opening round loss to beat Canada 32-12 in the second game of the Atlantic Cup on Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida. The Johnson cousins, strong-running Greg and pacy custodian Ashley, scored four of Jamaica’s six tries to pave the way for the win.
On a cool night at Hodges Stadium, Canada struck first when centre Geoff Byland crashed over for the opening try of the match within the first 10 minutes. It followed some enterprising play and completion of sets by the Canadians, who looked good early on. Their defensive lines were solid and the Jamaicans had some tough sledding through the first quarter, however, in the 23rd minute Ashley Johnson broke through for the equalizer and from that point on Jamaica was in control.
A try by Greg Johnson in the 32nd minute and another by Ashley as time was about to expire at the end of the first half, combined with two conversions by captain and stand-off Paul White, saw Jamaica go to the dressing room with a handy 16-4 lead. As they had done in the first forty, the Canadians were first to get on the board in the second period with two quick fire, unconverted tries, the second by skipper Matt Wyles to close the gap to 16-12, but that was as close as the Wolverines got.
Jamaica, despite playing two nights before against USA, found their second wind and lifted the tempo of the match. Canada began to get a bit loose around the rucks, enabling Jamaica to exploit some holes in the Canadian defensive patterns. Tries by Greg Johnson, White and centre Alex Brown, two of which were converted by White, sealed the win for rugby's reggae boys.
“Obviously we were disappointed with our effort against the USA and we wanted to put a few things right,” Jamaican captain Paul White told WeAreRugby. “Everybody was saying that Canada was going to be a pushover, but we made sure the boys knew that these boys were here to play and to be honest they are a really, really tough team and we were prepared for that. We knew we were going to be in a battle and luckily we came away with it in the end.”
Canada, coached by St Helens Assistant Keiron Purtill, looked good early on but lapses in concentration at certain times in the second period was their downfall. “We got off to a good start. We got on top and we tried to ride that momentum a bit, but we weren’t getting off the line on defence and ultimately that was our main problem throughout the game,” said Canadian captain Matt Wyles. “We slowed down and we weren’t getting back our ten quick enough so we could come up on our defence and our offense slowed down a little bit also, but we know what we did wrong and we’ll try to fix that.”
Canada now the USA on Saturday afternoon in the final game of the 2010 Atlantic Cup and victory for the hosts will bring them the trophy.