Canada v Scotland: tourists stroll to 11-try victory

Ten players make their debuts as summer tour of the Americas gets off to morale-boosting start

Dylan Richardson
Dylan Richardson
on the attack for Scotland Image: Chris Tanouye/Getty Images/ Scottish Rugby.

Canada 12

Scotland 73

ANYONE who feared that Gregor Townsend had taken too big a risk by naming 10 uncapped players in his matchday 23 for this opening match of Scotland’s summer tour of the Americas did not have to wait too long for their anxiety to put at rest. 

True, the home team opened the scoring at the TD Place in Ottawa, but the tourists soon took over, ending up by scoring 11 tries. And, if Scotland showed the odd sign of unfamiliarity with each other in that opening spell, they soon began to play some entertaining continuity rugby – and continued to do so right until the end.

Edinburgh’s Harry Paterson was deservedly named man-of-the-match after an outstanding display in both defence and attack. The full-back had to leave the field temporarily in the first half for a cut to his face, and it remains to be seen if it is deemed better for him to be rested from next Friday’s game in Washington, DC against the USA. Otherwise, however, there were no immediately obvious injury concerns for Townsend.

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Scotland have only ever lost once to Canada – a shock 26-23 defeat in Vancouver back in 2002. The last time the teams met, on the American tour of 2018, a team including debutants Jamie Ritchie and Adam Hastings ran in a comfortable 48-10 win.

Canada have not shown much sign of improvement since then, and are currently world-ranked 21st to Scotland’s 6th, which partially explains Townsend’s willingness to give so many players their debuts.  The five who began the match were Glasgow forwards Max Williamson and Gregor Brown, Edinburgh centre Matt Currie and Sale pair Gus Warr and Arron Reed. And it was Reed who was the first to be involved in any significant action, nearly pulling off an interception try in the opening minutes as Canada took the game to the Scots.

Minutes later, the winger did manage an interception, only for play to be called back as the referee was playing advantage. Canada sent the penalty to touch deep inside the Scotland 22, and won clean ball from the lineout. The maul was stopped once, but captain Lucas Rumball kept going and ploughed over the line for the first score of the game. Peter Nelson failed with the conversion attempt.

But Scotland hit back within minutes, and by half-time had run in four tries to go in 24-5 ahead. Josh Bayliss was first on the scoresheet for the visitors, finishing off after Paterson and Matt Currie combined well on the left. Ross Thompson converted.

Just past the quarter-hour, Dylan Richardson got the second touchdown after a Thompson break following a scrum. The stand-off again added the two points to give his team a 12-5 lead.

Richardson was on the scoresheet again nearly ten minutes with a try that was almost a carbon copy of Canada’s. Thompson sent a penalty to the corner, and the lineout maul did the rest. 


Harry Paterson v Canada
Harry Paterson’s sublime offload put Arron Reed in for a try. Image: Chris Tanouye/Getty Images/Scottish Rugby.

The conversion was missed that time, and Thompson was also off target after half an hour when Reed scored his team’s fourth try. Richardson broke on the right, the move went left, and Paterson drew his defender before offloading to give the winger an easy score.  

Scotland were soon back on the front foot when the second half got under way, and five minutes in, Warr got their fifth try of the night. The scrum-half began the move himself from a tap penalty, Thompson was stopped just short, then Warr regathered and dotted down. Thompson converted.

Canada got their second, also started by a tap penalty, when Kyle Baillie finished off. Nelson converted to make it 12-31.

Scotland regained control after that, though, and just three minutes later Warr scored again, getting on the end of a Paterson break. Thompson added the two points.

Reed got his second after outstripping the defence on the left following a long pass from Jamie Dobie, and Thompson again converted.

Right on the hour mark, Paterson touched down – again from a Dobie assist – to bring up the half-century of points. 

Dobie got his own try with ten minutes to play, then Stafford McDowall got his team’s tenth of the night five minutes later. Ben Healy converted all three.

Kyle Steyn added an 11th try in time added on, with Healy’s conversion ending the match. By then the five other uncapped men who had begun the game on the bench were also on the pitch: Northampton’s Robbie Smith,  Nathan McBeth of Glasgow, Will Hurd of Leicester, Ewan Johnson from French club Oyonnax and new Edinburgh signing Ross McCann.

To be able to blood so many players while recording such an emphatic victory surely made the match doubly satisfying for Scotland, who now head south to prepare for the tougher challenge of the USA.



Canada: C Coats; A Coe, M Richardson, B LeSage, N Benn; P Nelson, J Higgins; L Murray, A Quattrin, C Young, C Keys, K Baillie, M Flesch, L Rumball (captain), S Vikilani.  Replacements: J Mackail, D Sears-Duru, C Keith, J Stockwood, S Parry, B Gallagher, Talon McMullin, Takoda McMullin.

Scotland: H Paterson; J Dobie, M Currie (K Steyn 64), S McDowall (co-captain), A Reed; R Thompson (B Healy 57), G Warr (R McCann 64); R Sutherland (N McBeth 51), D Richardson, E Millar Mills (W Hurd 51), M Williamson (E Johnson 57), G Young, G Brown, L Crosbie (co-captain, R Smith 57), J Bayliss (M Fagerson 74). 

Referee: Adam Leal (England).



Canada: Tries: Rumball, Baillie. Con: Nelson.

Scotland: Tries: Bayliss, Richardson 2, Reed 2, Warr 2, Paterson, Dobie, McDowall, Steyn. Cons: Thompson 5, Healy 4.

Scoring sequence (Canada first): 5-0; 5-5; 5-7; 5-12; 5-14; 5-19; 5-24 (h-t) 5-29; 5-31; 10-31; 12-31; 12-36; 12-38; 12-43; 12-45; 12-50; 12-52; 12-57; 12-59; 12-64; 12-66; 12-71; 12-73.

Attendance: 11,447.

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About Stuart Bathgate 1438 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. I really like this tour. We get to go toe to toe with the South in the autumn. It’s giving many of our players a rest. The other home nations are still flogging their top talent in what really are meaningless games, not providing adequate rest I think will come back and bite some of these teams. Resting a lot of our squad and increasing depth is a good option under lower intensity. Finally I think it’s great the a tier one nation tours lower teams, overall it’s better for the wider game

  2. Gus Warr was fantastic. His speed to the breakdown and moving the ball away really created a tempo that a very pedestrian Canada just couldn’t live with. Would love to see him in blue driving our back line against quality opposition.

  3. For the next game, would like to see McDowall at 13. Think he’s better suited there in the Scotland system.

    Would be good to see another run out for Reed, Dobie (at 9), Paterson, Richardson and Bayliss as well.

    Think we’ve seen enough of Glen Young now. Just not good or young enough so I’d start Johnson or Craig alongside Williamson and then bring in Cummings against Uruguay.

    • I’d like to see Currie start at 13 for everyone game, we need to develop our deity at 13 and he’s currently the only option. Stafford can play there but he’s a 12.
      Agree about Youngs, he’s 29 time to move on to the younger guys, we have some real potential coming through.

    • I think one of the things this tour may demonstrate is why our players seem to come through “slower” or “later” than other countries. Because we only have two pro teams we basically have two teams full of internationalists so to get in them you almost have to be test standard before you get a game.

      Here are Harry Paterson, Max Williamson, Gregor Brown all appearing comfortable in a Scotland shirt after very little game time in their professional teams shirt. I expect we will see Patrick Harrison prove the same later in the tour. Maybe even Ben Afshar in the South America part of the tour. This is why we need serious A fixtures- to give more game time to players at a decent level. Or IF we ever create a 3rd pro team it must be a development team to give people like Ben Muncaster, Alex Samuel, Gregor Hiddleston, Cameron Scott serious and consistent game time.

  4. With the many of the comments in this and many other articles bringing the question of ‘lack of game time’ for emerging talent is there an argument at this time of financial problems for a third professional side: is it the definitive answer and if so could it fit into the URC competition?
    Perhaps the OSL would consider an article that brings that discussion to the fore, a bit like Dom Ward’s did a few weeks back.
    But that also brings to the discussion as many others have mentioned rather than an additional professional side why not ‘A’ team games BUT against whom?
    No use turning up against ineffectual local opposition so what about finding mutual benefits and discussing with the Welsh sides for A team fixtures, it would be beneficial to both and even though the subject has apparently been raised before, keep on asking or looking for alternative appropriate competition.
    At a time when the SRU is [and has been] bereft of leadership this is in some respects an ideal time to repeatedly discuss the priorities for Scottish Rugby going forward especially the essential aspect of developing our own players
    I think it is a subject that should be kept in discussion, did the SRU ever make an effort to answer any of the questions previously raised?
    If not why not, are they aware of the Hoi Polloi?
    Surely there is a Grade One Pain in the Rrrrrr’s out there to keep on at the SRU to answer the questions with substantiated facts rather than sound bites and wishful thinking.

  5. BTW my previous comment is not intended as any disrespect for the new/young playes who ARE getting the chance to play in these games – my issue is with the quality of the opposition on this tour and therefore the point of it. That’s an SRU / Toony question.
    Well done to the lads who played so well yesterday – I’d still rather see how Dobie / thompson / Warr/ Paterson et al got on against an Australia or even Argentina than playing Canada and Chile

    • I’ve said this lots of times recently, but this tour schedule was not some genius brainwave by the SRU or even Townsend.
      When these international tours were organised for all Nations Scotland were at a particularly low point in the Word Rankings. As a result none of the big boys wanted to play us and we were not left with many other options.

      • Sorry when were these organized then? We’ve been in the top 5 for the last year and top 8 before that – how low were we and at what point to get this ludicrous tour!

  6. I always worry when Townsend rabbits on about people “training well”!
    I have the best practice golf swing in the world. Problem comes when I have to connect with a ball!!

    • When questioned ‘why do you practice so much’ Gary Player replied “the more I practice the luckier I get”. Good luck keep on trying although I am with Oscar Wilde in that its the ruination of a good walk. Sorry.

      • Nearly right George but Player’s quote was in response to a spectator who commented that he had been lucky after playing a superb bunker shot.

        • Thanks AlanJ, I’m reminded of a Rugby Spectator in NZ on an old Lions tour shouting “Why don’t you use a Shovel” to Bob Hiller who had been meticulous with his ‘divot’ preparation, Hiller kicked the conversation from way out on the touchline, put the divot back in with his heel, looked at the spectator and said “If my mouth was as big as yours I wouldn’t need a Shovel” all in good humour mind you.

  7. I’m intrigued to see the selection for the US game. I still think that having blooded some new players, who by all accounts have done well against admittedly a weaker nation, we shouldn’t then be going massively conservative against US by playing say Tuipolotu and Jones in the centres. We need to mentor emerging talent and not go for feast or famine in terms of the game time they’re subjected to. Maybe some of the more senior players are there to offer support off-field rather than reclaim their shirt once the opposition is deemed too strong to risk a newbie making a mistake. On the matter of caps, if you play for your chosen nation, you should be capped, end of. Are some really thinking that some RWC pool matches should be capped and others not because the opposition is deemed too lowly?? You get picked to wear the thistle, you deserve a cap.

  8. Despite all the mumping and grumping from some, this tour is a fantastic idea. Developing depth is crucial for us and this is the opportunity to do it.

    If we were facing the southern hemisphere giants then the squad would have to be ‘full bore’ – what a fantastic day for ten new caps and their families, and congratulations to all of them.

    Regardless of the opponent, I thought Scotland played really well for an essentially scratch team with limited preparation time. Richardson, Dobie and Paterson stood out in particular, but all the new faces deservce big credit.

    Completely different line-up incoming for the USA fixture, I expect.

    • Sorry but I disagree. It’s bloody embarrassing that every other Tier 1 nation (and a few of the Tier 2’s) are playing each other in exciting test matches around the globe while we are pissing about playing the 21st team in the world and a couple of Tier 3’s, to what end? Because apparently we’re incapable of blooding depth without it?

      I could understand it if we’d achieved a bunch of things as an ageing team and it was time for a so-called transition under a new coach etc – but we’ve had the same management team for 7 years and given our squad, should be at the peak of our powers and we should be testing ourselves against, at the very least, away to the Wallabies, and learning more about how to win big test matches to help us in the 6 Nations and then onto the WC. That’s what the other teams are doing.

      We’ve beaten England 4 times in a row, but apparently we’re not good enough to have played the All blacks in NZ for years while they get a 2-game test series. Wales are utter mince and yet have 2 games against the wallabies, a traditional power with big crowds and proper coverage – they are the ones who should be in SA trying to bring through a wholly new team. I live in Australia and every other country has their test matches on Stan Sports, but absolutely nothing about Scotland’s tour – cos it’s pointless and no-one cares.
      What exactly does putting 70+ points on to Canada and chile tell us about our squad/players? Is it really any better than playing in a Super Series final equivalent? We’re not even playing Argentina on this tour, for some reason.
      We’re not likely to be making much money from this, so I”m not clear why we’re so isolated from all the other exciting test matches going on at the moment in our own bubble.
      Saying “we’d have to go full noise” against a proper rugby nation – as though that’s not desirable!? I know which games I’d rather watch!

      • Test tours are arranged years in advance, this wasn’t a choice it was all we could get around 2019 when they were sorted.
        Wales had just lost a RWC Semi, England will always get big tours as they generate way more revenue than we do.
        SRU making the best of the situation, its not that bad between a RWC and a Lions tour we should be well repsented on.

      • Had it not been for Covid Scotland would have played two tests in South Africa and one in New Zealand in summer 2020.

        As Adam states, these things are organised years in advance.

  9. All the newbies played very well, but it was young Harry Paterson returning from long-term injury who caught my eye most of all to win MOM. Gus Warr’s distribution was absolutely excellent, but even he was outshone by Dobie’s sharpness and quick-passing skills from all over the paddock. There is a long queue for the Scotland nine jersey and I hope to goodness Townsend has the good sense to promote him to to the front of it. Reed showed real pace and sleight of foot for his try, although he will find it hard to win a regular slot in the dark blue once we have a full crew. But he is a very useful back-up nonetheless.

    Max Williamson looks to me every inch a potential first pick for the national team, although there’s a gaggle of other guys who will press hard for that honour. Hurd and Miller-Mills were both solid and will provide welcome back-up at tight head for Zander. I’d been little impressed by what I’d seen of Dylan Richardson up until now but he looks like he could provide us with considerably more service in the two jersey than in the back row.

    Well played the lads and it’s the Americans up for the treatment next. I must admit I questioned the value of this tour, but I’m beginning to see that it has some very real benefits. The other Six Nations teams have much tougher assignments of course, but we will draw a bead on them as we grow our own squad and nurture upcoming talent. Next season will be crucial in determining whether Scotland can become a force at long, long last. The autumn internationals will provide a truer test of that, but it’s beginning to build nicely towards them.

  10. A good win against a limited side. No point going overboard on good individual performances better to simply say players did what was expected of them.

  11. Paterson and Richardson were tremendous. Edinburgh/SRU need to ensure Paterson gets serious game time next season. Richardson looks to be a real option for a full strength team.
    Dobie, Thompson had good games too.
    Canada were physically strong but severely limited.
    Very professional performance.

    • I’m sure they will if he (Paterson) can stay injury free! Only about 11 pro games in three years because of so many injuries so don’t think you can blame Edinburgh (albeit when everyone in back three fit he’d have been struggling for a spot).As you say though would be great if he can get an extended run next season as he could be a tremendous asset for Scotlandnotwithstanding Kinghorn’s form.

  12. good to get game time in the young team but i feel we’ve learnt very little from this except Canada are extremely poor. This was an ‘A’ fixture in all but name and 10 debutants really is devaluing the jersey.

    Hoping USA give a sterner test so we can actually see who is ready to step up for the autumn internationals

    • Sorry man but unless you’ve worn the jersey I don’t think you get to decide what devalues it. It’s statements like yours that led to dozens of players in previous years not getting the caps they deserved, which the SRU have only recently corrected.
      Also USA just lost at home to Romania so don’t hold your breath.

    • Disagree….it shows some players aren’t being given enough of a chance for club or country. Patterson especially is a cut above. It’s not trendy to let young Scottish players get game time when there are ordinary SA players available to make money for agents etc but hey the likes of Ireland seem to succeed by promoting their own young players why not try it??

      • Spot on Rugby Fan. If your good enough or an exceptional talent you should be playing, no matter your age,just as Ireland manage to do. Just look at the success they have achieved with this system.

      • You know Patterson spent nearly all the season injured and has just recovered? Squads are so large in club rugby there is always going to be fringe players not getting game time in the current set up. More A matches at club and country required. This tour is a good start and was good to see a few Edin and Glasgow A matches last season but with the end of the Super 6 an alternative route needs found,

        • Good point and I think this sort of tour is actually a good thing even though some seem concerned about it. If it was a full blooded tour against one of the top sides then most of these players wouldn’t get game time so its exactly what they need.

          • Agree.Personally think its great that Finn,Blair,Ben White,Redpath,Z Fagerson Dempsey,Gilchrist, Gray,Skinner and Darcy Graham etc are getting a summer off.
            QWhilst we may feel short changed not playing NZ,SA or Aus no harm giving everyone a break (against rather weaker opposition) from being battered all year round surely.

      • yep, we should promote young players like Aki, Lowe, Gibson-Park and Hansen. That’ll show ’em!
        Paterson has a career full of long term injuries. Townsend had no problem throwing him against France in this season’s 6N, despite almost no game time. Pretty conservative that. Then Paterson got injured, again

        Life ain’t black and white, Scotland have always been very good at capping young players – if good enough.

  13. Ok, Canada were limited and couldn’t prevent an offload if they tried, but you can only play what’s in front of you, and some of the tries were sublime. Paterson really does look the business and seems to punch way above his weight in contact, and Richardson looked a real powerhouse in the loose. Good runout for the team and newbies in particular, next week a sterner test but they should go in to that with a lot of confidence. Only down sides were the now seemingly typical high penalty count in the first half, and didn’t think that the defence was as tight as it should have been….

  14. Thought Richardson was really good in the loose and Paterson was excellent throughout. The speed of distribution from Warr at 9 was great and although it was only Canada, the performance was professional and we scored some great tries.

    • Warr has just ended Price’s international career
      Paterson should always be picked at 15 for Edinburgh and Bofelli can have time on the wing
      Richardson clearly has potential.
      Thompson looked lively and should get time ahead of Healy
      Younger players will learn a lot from this tour.

  15. Lots of flowing rugby and some good tries against a limited Canada side. The Canadians were stuffy in the forwards but didn’t have much else. Paterson, Dobie, Warr and Reid all excellent in the backs My man of the match was Richardson who was everywhere in both attack and defence. His switch to hooker looks a good move and he’s a powerful presence in the loose. Bayliss, Young also good in the forwards with Brown also doing well. Great to see him getting a cap after all his injury issues.

    • Ross, absolutely agree on Richardson he was great always wanting the ball and hit his lineout. There was definitely a drop when Smith took over at hooker.
      I am not so sure about Youngs, I was hoping for a big powerful performance but he seemed to get out muscled a few times around the fringes.

  16. When Canada scored first I thought O! no a banana skin here. In the end it was a comfortable win. I thought Paterson was deservedly MOM he was impressive and played really well. As the match went on the Scottish handling and passing became impressive for a team of guys who were playing together for the first time. A team of sometimes unfamiliar names in a Scotland jersey maybe but they jelled together well and produced some fine scores. I like the idea of this tour against 2nd tier teams to bring in new and unfamiliar guys and see what they can do.

  17. It felt like a training run at some points. Scotland were a hot knife through butter against the Canadian defence. Good to see the likes of Richardson back. Also Harry Paterson looks to be a very special talent! No one has done their stocks any harm in this game. Would like to see Ashman, Richardson as our hookers this autumn.


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