Canada West claim NA4 series
July 30, 2006

Canada West made history in front of 700 fans here Saturday night as the first team to claim the cross border North America Four Rugby Series title with a 31-20 showing over runner-up finisher USA Falcons. In the consolation final, Rugby Canada made it a sweep over USA Rugby teams as Canada East held off the USA Hawks, 34-18.

A competition designed to strengthen the pathways to both nations? national teams, this year's inaugural event did that, and more, according to USA Rugby Interim Men?s National Team Head Coach Peter Thorburn.

"This was an incredibly successful NA4," he said. ?It clearly defined the steps that USA Rugby needs to take next and identified some very good, young, prospects for future national team sides."

Hawks head coach Peter Steinberg said, "Players are selected based on how they play on the field, and for a lot of them, on the NA4 fields. We have players on these teams that two months ago didn't know how to make the national team. Now they understand that if they can get to the NA4, that they have the chance to represent their country."

The USA Falcons used a 10-0 run in the second half to mount a comeback in that stanza, but it wasn't enough to hold off a determined West team that came out the victors of a 31-22 championship final.

Canada West's Ed Fairhurst converted a DTH Van der Merwe try in the 11th minute to jump out to the early 7-0 lead, but the Falcons responded four minutes later when Patrick Bell slotted a penalty to get the Americans on the board, 7-3.

Back-to-back tries by Canadians Tony LaCarte and Garth Cooke, the latter converted by Fairhurst, had the Falcons on their heels going into halftime, 19-3.

Canada West kept the pressure on with Van der Merwe scoring his second try of the match in the 46th minute to build a 21-point lead (24-3) when the Americans began to pick up steam.

Jason Pye's try in the corner in the 52nd minute got the ball rolling, but set up a tough conversion attempt for Bell whose kick had the distance, but not the angle, as the ball grazed the outside of the post. Three minutes later, Mark Aylor brought the Falcons within 11, 24-13. The run was halted in the 61st minute when Akio Tyler's try and Chuck Baumberg?s conversion gave Canada West some breathing room, 31-13.

Twelve minutes ticked without a score by either side when Chad Erskine scored on a big run through the middle that was converted by Alipate Tuilevuka to pull within 11 for the second time of the half, 31-20, but the effort wasn't enough to make up for a slow first half start and the Falcons settled for a runner-up finish in the inaugural series.

Lock Stu Ault and flyhalf Derek Daypuck combined for 17 first half points as Canada East came out with a 22-0 run and never looked back in defeating the USA Hawks 34-18 to take the consolation final of this year's NA4.

"It was a game that we played well enough to win, and we showed some dominant moments, but didn?t score enough points," said Steinberg. "I think this was our best game yet, but we weren't able to execute patterns and plays inside their line, which is where our lack of experience showed through against a more experienced side."

Daypuck had the Canadians on the scoreboard in the fourth minute when he connected on a 22-meter penalty. He went on to convert back-to-back Ault tries in the 17th and 27th minutes to build a 17-0 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the half.

Flanker Kevin Parfrey added five more on a loose play try for the 22-0 advantage before the Americans would answer back when Jason Kelly converted a 30-meter penalty to prevent the shutout. Gameday captain Salesi Sika made it a 22-8 game following a big run up the middle and the conversion by Kelly in the 36th minute gave the Hawks new life going into halftime.

There was a scoring stalemate that lasted 11 minutes to open the second half before Kelly converted his second penalty of the game to bring the Hawks within nine points, 22-13. The momentum was short lived as Rob Wilson scored the West's bonus try in the 59th minute, just as teammate Dan Pletch was re-entering the game after being sin-binned in the 49th. Daypuck sealed the score with his third conversion of the evening to distance the Canadians, 29-13.

Two minutes later the Hawks' own Chris Moreno was sent to the sin bin. Capitalizing on the man-up advantage, Daypuck ran for a score, 34-13 East.

The Hawks? Tyson Meek, who came off the bench in the 63rd minute, scored the Hawks last try of the series with three minutes remaining in regulation, but it wasn't enough as the U.S. came up 16 points shy.

Canada West 4 1 1 21
USA Falcons 3 3 0 17
Canada East 3 2 1 17
USA Hawks 1 5 0 5

Fred Beekman Park (Columbus)
Saturday, July 22
USA Falcons def. Canada East, 25-24
Canada West def. USA Hawks, 46-7
Wednesday, July 26
USA Falcons def. USA Hawks, 45-17
Canada East def. Canada West, 34-18
Saturday, July 29
Consolation: Canada East def. USA Hawks, 34-18
Championship: USA Falcons vs. Canada West, 31-20

Canada East def. USA Hawks, 34-18 (Halftime: Canada East, 22-10 )
Referee: Kevin McCaslin, United States
Canada East (34)
Tries: Ault (2), Parfrey (1), Daypuck (1), Wilson (1)
Conversions: Daypuck (3)
Penalty Goals: Daypuck (1)

USA Hawks (18)
Tries: Sika (1), Meek (1)
Conversions: Kelly (1)
Penalty Goals: Kelly (2)

CANADA EAST: 1. Dan Pletch; 2. Aaron Abrams; 3. Mike Pletch; 4. Scott Dunham; 5. Stu Ault (Koneraad Buseman @45); 6. Mike Webb; 7. Kevin Parfrey (Frank Kozina @40); 8. Aaron Carpenter (Frank Walsh @51); 9. Matt Weingart (Jordan Allers @79); 10. Derek Daypuck; 11. Jarod Selby; 12. Adam McClosky (Carl Pocock @45); 13. Rob Wilson (Mike Simpson @69); 14. Kris Witkowski; 15. Cairan Hearn.

USA HAWKS: 1. Brian Olmes (Chris Moreno @40); 2. Blake Burdette; 3. Kurt Nienberg (Andrew King @63); 4. Adam Casias; 5. Louis Stanfill; 6. Kevin Wiggins; 7. Owen Lentz; 8. Ben Sadgrove (Henry Bloomfield @40); 9. David Williams (Tyson Meek @63); 10. Jason Kelly; 11. Ed Stockunas; 12. Mike Graham; 13. Salesi Sika (capt.); 14. Ian Flanagan (Nathan Rogers @40); 15. Andrew Blair.

Canada West def. USA Falcons, 31-22 (Halftime: Canada West, 19-3)
Referee: Phil Smith, Canada
Canada West (31)
Tries: Van der Merwe (2), LaCarte (1), Cooke (1), Tyler (1)
Conversions: Fairhurst (2), Baumberg (1)

USA Falcons (20)
Tries: Pye (1), Aylor (1), Erskine (1)
Conversions: Bell (1), Tuilevuka (1)
Penalty Goals: Bell (1)

CANADA WEST: 1. Patrick Dessaulles (Ian Smortchevsky @51); 2. Mark Lawson (Pat Riordan @8); 3. Garth Cooke (Scott Franklin @47); 4. Scott Hunter; 5. Tyler Hotson (Daryl Hall @64); 6. Neil Meechan; 7, Adam Kleeberger; 8. Morgan Jones (David Biddle @56); 9. Ed Fairhurst (capt.); 10. David Spicer (Geoff Warden @40); 11. Tony LaCarte; 12. Chuck Baumberg (Hubert Buydens @78); 13. Akio Tyler; 14. Brodie Henderson; 15. DTH Van der Merwe.

USA FALCONS: 1. John Vitale; 2. Patrick Bell (capt.); 3. John Tarpoff; 4. Hayden Mexted (Brian Schoener @50); 5. Alec Parker; 6. Ronald Rosser (Matt Rader @68); 7. Jarvis Albury; 8. Mark Aylor (Mark Griffin @73); 9. Kimball Kjar (Chad Erskine @40); 10. Andrew Locke; 11. Scott Jones (Alipate Tuilevuka @47); 12. Vaha Esikia; 13. Andrew Osbourne; 14. Brian Barnard; 15. Jason Pye

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