Newspaper article The Canadian Press

James Pritchard Contributes 21 Points as Canada Downs Georgia 31-12

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

James Pritchard Contributes 21 Points as Canada Downs Georgia 31-12

Article excerpt

Canada dumps Georgia 31-12 in rugby test


BURNABY, B.C. - James Pritchard was almost unstoppable Saturday.

The fullback contributed 21 points as Canada dumped Georgia 31-12 in an international rugby test before a crowd of 3,661 at Swangard Stadium.

"It's good when you have have a day like today when you can have those points and get them proper," said Pritchard. "It's a very satisfying day and it's up there with my top games."

He produced one try, two converts and four penalty goals on the day. Of his points, 16 came in the first half as Canada built a 23-7 lead and rarely looked back. He boosted his second-best all-time career Canadian point total to 445 and moved close to the record 491 held by Gareth Rees, who is now Rugby Canada's national program manager.

Rees watched the match from the sideline.

Pritchard, a 32-year-old Parkes, Australia native who is eligible to compete for Canada on the basis of a Canadian passport that stems from his grandfather's Ruthoida, Sask., birthplace, helped Canada conclude a three-game test series that included Italy and the U.S. with a 2-1 record.

The only loss came in a loss to the Italians eight days earlier.

"Every test match, we want to put our foot down and stamp our authority," said Pritchard. "We fight for games like this -- Georgia, and especially Italy. Those are the big teams coming after Canada. You're never going to get better competing against low teams. You want to compete with the best.

"To put in a good showing against the U.S. and just come up short against Italy is satisfying. We thought we could have done more against Italy, but we come out with two test wins and we hold our spot in the world rankings."

Canada, ranked 13th, was smaller, on the whole, than the 15th-ranked Georgians. But the Canadians outmuscled the visitors in scrums and on and near the goal-line as tighthead Jason Marshall and other forwards had a strong game literally and figuratively.

Early in the first half, Canada denied a try on its goal-line while preserving a precarious 10-0 lead. The Canadians caught a break when Tedor Zibzibadze crashed into a padded goal post while attemping a diving try, but still had to hold off the Georgians again before punting the ball out of trouble. …

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