RUGBY WORLD CUP Wales 41 Canada 10 Blues prop Kevin Tkachuk scored a seventy-first minute try as his native Canada collapsed to a 41-10 defeat at the hands of Wales in their opening fixture. The Canucks had been completely outplayed by their opposition when Tkachuk’s success offered a flicker of hope in an otherwise disappointing display. Things had looked decidedly promising when Bob Ross kicked a drop goal to give Canada the early lead. Yet Wales recovered and, despite the loss of Colin Charvis to the sin-bin, it was the Welsh, clad in their changed white strip, who took command through tries from Sonny Parker and Gareth Cooper before the interval. Further tries followed, with Iestyn Harris impeccable with the boot for all five of his conversions. Yet, from the Oxford perspective, it was Tkachuk who stole the show. Introduced in place of injured captain Al Charron on sixty minutes, the twenty-seven year old made the most of his opportunity on the global stage, flinging himself over the line after some good work by the Canadian forwards. Tkachuk was delighted on a personal level, but disappointed with the result as a whole. “The try was quite an exciting moment of my life but I must admit at the time it did not matter much as it was much too little too late,” he told Cherwell “More than anything I believe the result displays the unfortunate truth about how much the gap has widened between the amateur and professional countries at the World Cup. It does not get any easier with this Friday night’s match against the All Blacks so we must continue to persevere, work hard and probably most importantly enjoy every moment of it.” Meanwhile, Charron, whose problem is a reoccurrence of a serious knee injury, is doubtful for the forthcoming match: “I’d like to play against New Zealand but we have got to do what is best for the team,” said Charron. Should the Canadian skipper be ruled out, Tkachuk may be in line for a starting place. Elsewhere, former Blue Simon Danielli scored a seventy-ninth minute try as Scotland stuttered to an unconvincing 32-11 victory over Japan.ARCHIVE: 1st Week MT2003