Jamin Hodgkins and Canada end conference campaign in defeat
Jamin Hodgkins could not prevent Canada ending their Under-20 Canada Conference campaign in defeat after going down 45-28 to Uruguay at the University of Guelph.
A blistering first-half performance from Uruguay saw the visitors build a commanding 33-7 lead. David Scollon’s try, converted by Hodgkins, had pegged back the away side to 12-7 at one point but Uruguay re-established their dominance as the half wore on.
After the break, Canada came out the stronger team and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession. That translated into points on the board as Matthew Klimchuk finished off a well-worked team try, again converted by Hodgkins, a former Warwick Academy student.
A further Uruguay score made it 38-14, before Liam Bowman and James Bliss both hit back with tries, with the extras added by Hodgkins, to give Canada hope of a late comeback.
However, Uruguay completed the scoring with another late try to seal a 45-28 victory and their place atop the final standings to be crowned champions.
“It was a tough start,” said Adam Roberts, the Canada head coach. “The boys put themselves under extreme pressure. Discipline and costly errors at the set-piece put us down.
“But, again, our team’s resilience and character to come back, fight and stay in the battle is fantastic. It’s a tribute to them and it shows well for the future that these guys can do it.
“The gumption and the attack is there, it’s the mental side we need to keep working on and keep playing these games under that pressure.”
Those sentiments were echoed by scrum half Adam Doyle, who praised his side’s fighting spirit throughout the campaign.
“Early on we kind of got punched in the mouth,” he said.
“We found ourselves down to a pretty big score. I think the boys showed character, continued to fight as we did all tournament. It just shows the strength of character on this team and the bond that we have.”
Having previously lost 32-24 to Zimbabwe in their opening encounter before bouncing back with a hard-fought 25-24 victory over Chile, Canada finished the competition in third place overall.
Earlier in the day, Zimbabwe beat Chile 43-35 in a thrilling, high-scoring encounter to seal their spot in second place behind Uruguay.