QF: Canada 281 – 46 Wales

The second quarter final of the day saw Canada progress at the demise of Wales in a clash of the titans.

The game was a war of attrition for Wales, who had to fight hard for every point in a slow moving game with plenty of scrum starts. Midway through the first period Wales called a timeout to rob Canada of their momentum and it seemed to work, as they began to take lead jammer and arrest the Canadian advance, but it didn’t last long as Canada exercised all their might to exasperate the Welsh.

The Canadian jammers tended to outsmart rather than outskate the Welsh blockers. Red liked to tease them one way, go with their momentum but always with an eye on the growing gap on the opposite side of the track, which he’d be quick to exploit with a burst of speed. Bradass took a similarly thoughtful path through the pack, often patient and waiting for the best moment to strike with a jab of his shoulder or hip thrust to help him through.

The Canadian blockers at times struggled with the physicality of Wales’ jammer The Mechanic, who seemed to relish the opportunity to face off with six feet plus of muscle and beard. Iuean Meredith in contrast showed some fancy footwork around the tightest of gaps on the inside line, as did Ashton.

Both teams loved to throw their shoulders into the mix and Roll Call in particular bossed his Welsh blockers around and led by example, thumping any Canadian caught napping and kissing his teammates after a job well done. El Tannant was the equivalent for Canada, while Jeff Tichbourne also pulled off some exemplary face-to-face blocking and cheeky hip flicks off the outside line.

As a measure of the quality of blocking in the game one jam in the second period didn’t see either jammer complete their initial pass until there were ten seconds left, despite the Welsh jammer spending a minute in the box. In fact, Canada were content to use passive offence on the powerjams and let their blockers fight through the Welsh walls who were more than capable of soaking up the jammer and burning their time, but given their huge lead it was to no disadvantage.

On the blocking downside though, halfway through the second period Wales’ Hayes was expelled for what the referees deemed an intentional slide tackle while the frustration led to unnecessary penalties for his teammates throughout the second period. Canada kept their cool though and kept it simple to secure the win.

The victory for Canada means they will face the winners of the USA and Scotland game, while Wales drop into the Plate bracket.

Final score: Canada 281, Wales 46

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