Charron sympathises with old team

Former Canada captain Al Charron has expressed his disappointment in his countrymen’s losses so far at the Rugby World Cup, but has praised the Canucks’ efforts nevertheless.

2007 is the first Rugby World Cup that the Canucks’ most capped player (76) has missed since 1991, and he knows what the winless Canadians are going through.

“It is tough for the players. I have lived it and it is tough,” Charron told the IRB.

Charron, who is part of Canada’s management team, is listed as a special ambassador but his unofficial role is to help keep the Canadians mentally sharp in the pressure-packed competition.

The Canadians led at the break in their opening game against Wales but lost 42-17. Then against Fiji in their second game, a late turnover propelled the Fijians to a 29-16 win, and the loss drove a stake through the Canucks’ hearts.

Canada play Japan next Tuesday and conclude their pool matches against Australia the following weekend.

“We could lose all four and play very well. We have lost two games and played well in two games,” said Charron, who was a member of the Canada team that lost 19-13 to France in the quarter-finals at RWC 1991.

“I would like to think we will beat Japan but I also thought we would beat Fiji by 20-plus points. My record as far as estimating wins is not going so well right now.

“Unfortunately, people will look at Canada’s record and see it is 0-2 and say it is a failure. I would not say it is a failure.

“There were some missed opportunities here and there but that does not mean the guys are out there not playing hard and not doing their best.”

Charron talked about how the less-fancied teams have been the chatter of tournament and how it bodes well for international rugby that the so-called weaker teams have raised their level of play.

But though Canada is grouped among these lesser lights, Charron said moral victories were not good enough for the Canucks.

“Portugal can take a moral victory because they had points against New Zealand but our expectations are higher,” he said.

With that, Charron headed to the bus to watch the players surf and hopefully wash the losses from their minds.

“I do not know what these guys are like but losses certainly haunt me,” said Charron. “It weighs on a player. There were losses in ’99 and ’91 that still haunt me.”

Members of Canada’s rugby team have headed to the coast for a day of surfing instead of another intense training session at the World Cup on Tuesday.

 

365 Digital

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