USA VS. CANADA: 2011 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
July 4 in Charleston, SC:
USA 12 Canada 6
July 11 in Edmonton, Alberta:
USA 18 Canada 41
Over the first two weekends in July, the national teams from Canada and the United States battled for a bid to compete in the next Rugby World Cup in 2011. The majority of the twenty teams in the World Cup tournament are earned through qualifiers such as the two games recently completed by the US and Canada.
At the completion of play on Independence Day, the US was in the driver’s seat with a 12-6 win.
It was a hard fought, well played match by the US National team, won by the kicking of fly-half Mike Hercus who made three penalty kicks and one drop goal to give the US its first victory over Canada since 2005.
The victory could not come on a better day for the Eagles of the US squad of course, and ended a four game losing streak to the Canadians. To solidify a position in the next World Cup, the US would need to beat Canada again a week later. Sadly, that would not be the case.
The team that took the pitch in Edmonton looked little like the group that played a week earlier in Charleston. Mistake after mistake led to a number of tries for the Canadians. About midway through the first half the US was forced to play a man down after outside center Paul Emerick committed a penalty and was red carded (ejected). While a valiant effort was mounted in the second half, it was too little too late.
Due to the point differential, the Canadians received the birth to the World Cup. The US will now have to play another qualifier against the team from Uruguay who is currently ranked 21st by the International Rugby Board (the US is ranked 18th). Dates for the matches have yet to be set.
After such a loss it would not be unusual for the Americans to want to down a few beers. After bouncing back in such a convincing manner, the Canadians will surely be in a celebratory mood. Lucky for both squads, Edmonton boasts one of the best craft breweries Canada has to offer.
Amber’s Brewing Company is fairly new having opened in 2007. So far they brew a pair of ales (Bub’s Lunch Pail Ale and Amber’s Pale Ale), lagers (Amber’s Australian Mountain Pepper Berry Lager and Amber’s Sap Vampire Maple Lager) and a stout (Amber’s Kenmount Road Chocolate Stout).
Bub’s Pail Ale has been heralded as one of the best ales in Canada placing in the top three at the 2008 International Beer fest in Edmonton. Crafted with a blend of four hops and four malts along with a little bit of wheat for head retention this light brew will go down easy for those looking to celebrate or drown their woes.
For a different taste, Amber’s Sap Vampire Maple Lager will appeal. While it does not possess the best aroma (honestly, after a few do you really smell the beer anymore?) its special blend of Canadian malts along with a bit of maple syrup give this lager a unique and memorable flavor.