Canada win marred by injury to Al

  • Other Sport
  • Thursday, 30 Oct 2003

WOLLONGONG : Canada ended their World Cup with a convincing 24-7 win over Tonga yesterday in a bruising pool D match marred by a sickening injury to Al Charron. 

The Canadian skipper, playing his 76th and final international before retiring, was carried off the field after being knocked out cold by a tackle from Tonga flyhalf Pierre Hola. 

The Canadians complained to Irish referee Alain Rolland that the tackle was dangerous but the official disagreed, allowing play to continue once Charron had left the pitch. 

Canada centre Marco di Girolamo also departed with blood streaming from his face after being accidentally stamped on, and Tonga replacement David Palu was sin-binned in the last minute for a shoulder charge on James Pritchard. 

Tonga led 7-3 midway through the first half but the Canadians recovered to sneak ahead 9-7 at the break before piling up 15 unanswered points to end the tournament on a high and condemn the Tongans to bottom spot in the group. 

Canada, playing with the wind, grabbed an early lead when veteran flyhalf Bob Ross landed the first of his four penalties, but Tonga hit the front when their captain Inoke Afeaki stretched out to score from a rolling maul. 

Hola landed the conversion after missing with two earlier penalty attempts to put his side 7-3 in front but the Pacific Islanders missed their chance to increase the lead when flanker Nisifolo Naufahu dropped the ball over the line. 

Canada made the most of their let-off as Ross booted two late penalties to give his side a narrow lead at the break and they made a flying start to the second half with a try by winger Sean Fauth. 

The Canadians were held up after a spell of sustained pressure but scored from the ensuing scrum when they swung the ball wide for Fauth to dive over in the right corner. 

There were just seven points between the sides with five minutes remaining when Ross, who made his test debut in 1989 and is the longester serving international player in world rugby, calmly slotted over his fourth penalty shortly after Charron departed to give his team a 10-point buffer. – Reuters  

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