Rugby World Cup 2011: Review, Canada V. Tonga

Chris CarsonContributor ISeptember 14, 2011

WHANGAREI, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 14:  Adam Kleeberger of Canada looks on during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool A match between Tonga and Canada at Northland Events Centre on September 14, 2011 in Whangarei, New Zealand.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

For a large stretch of the second half, it looked as though the Canadians would be doomed to ask 'what if?" in the post game locker room. What if the officials called a foot trip, around the 49 minute mark which led to a Tonga try? What if Canada had been able to corral a few more loose balls?

Tonga battled back from an early 10--0 deficit to take the lead, and with penalty after penalty being called against Canada, it looked as though they were set to come away with the victory.

But a late try by Aaron Carpenter provided the spark needed for the Canadians to pull off the win. Ultimately, it was the Canadian maul, rolling and clanking along with the steely determination of a tank that led to the game winning try by Phil Mackenzie, making the final score 25--20.

For the Canucks, it was the play of the bearded Adam Kleeberger that set the tone of the game. His hard hitting play showed the Canadians would not be overpowered and Tonga would need to work for all they could get.

Although Tonga is a notoriously big and physical team, the Canadians were hardly scathed. Most of the Canuck tries came off of broken tackles, as Tonga missed 22 for the game.

The Canadians stellar defense kept them within striking distance all game. Not only did the Canadians lead the game in tackles, they caused a handful of turnovers from simply stripping the ball from the Tongans' hands.

It was a tough win for Canada, which should give them a nice boost of confidence as they prepare for their battle with France on the 18th.

Meanwhile, Tonga's chance at the quarterfinals seemed to be dashed, but they have a chance at a win on the 21st when they face Japan.