A 79-15 loss to the New Zealand All Blacks wasn't the way Canada had hoped to exit Rugby World Cup 2011, but the spirit and belief of the team has surely won countless new fans.
"Let's go Canada," shouted the contingent of Canadian fans as their team kicked for touch instead of kicking an easy penalty goal option.
"Ooh aah Canada," they cheered as their team piled from ruck to ruck, picking and driving toward New Zealand's try line.
"Canada, Canada," they screamed as the men representing their nation probed New Zealand's defence and put them on the back foot again and again.
This was a Canadian team not content to die wondering, this was a team that wanted to test their own ability and push their opponent to the limits, despite the overwhelming odds in New Zealand's favour.
New Zealand took the field as odds-on favourites, but Canada left as fan favourites, having came to Wellington Regional Stadium to prove to 37,000 that they knew how to play the game of rugby and that they played it with passion and with heart.
But they leave with sadness, as Tonga's shock win over France on Saturday night means Canada finishes fourth in Pool A, resulting in another necessary qualifying process and a long four years before the next World Cup.
For four minutes, Canada led the All Blacks as an Ander Monro penalty put his team in front 3-0 before Zac Guilford started New Zealand's scoring charge.
Canada's defence has been strong all tournament, but on Sunday it was their belief and ingenuity in attack that was most engaging.
"Certainly from a tournament perspective the first three games we've been pretty happy with and I couldn't fault the commitment today," Canada head coach Kieran Crowley said. "The effort was still there in the 80th minute. I've signed on with Rugby Canada for at least another 18 months and I'm very happy about that. Around 80 per cent of our current players should be around in 2015, so we'll be building toward that."
Canada entered the game with a passion to play what was in front of them and a belief in the systems they had established and this combined led to a 37-8 scoreline to New Zealand at half time, with Canada pushing throughout the half and eventually being rewarded with a try to wing Conor Trainor after a powerful five-metre scrum by Canada.
Throughout the first half, Canada's game plan was clear as they played an offensive kicking game, trying to spot weaknesses in the All Blacks backline to put their players into space.
Canada's defence was put to the test, but held fast as the All Blacks were forced to push the ball to the fringes or put it on the toe to score their points.
Throughout the half it was clear Canada was content to attack and that the belief was there that they belonged on the field with the All Blacks.
New Zealand led 37-8 at half time.
On the charge and Canada scored the first points of the second half, with Conor Trainor scoring his second of the game and only the third of his international career two minutes into the half.
All of a sudden, Canada chased just a 37-15 deficit.
But the All Blacks fired back with an early line break leading to a try to Jimmy Cowan and they continued to pressure with six tries in the second half.
But still the Canadians probed the All Blacks defence, made the necessary big hits to let their opponents know they were there and showed the heart that has always been the stalwart of Canadian rugby.
As the clock wound down, the Canadians' performance was typified by flanker Adam Kleeberger as he hurtled himself toward All Blacks loosehead prop Tony Woodcock five metres from the Canadian line, stopping the play and leaving both with a sore head and a long walk to the change rooms.
Canada leaves the Rugby World Cup in fourth place in Pool A, ahead of Japan and behind Tonga, France and New Zealand, but both the players and the coaching staff are eager for the next challenge and another shot at Web Ellis.
Messages of support for the team can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out the team's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rugbycanada, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rugbycanada. Videos of the team's journey at the Rugby World Cup can be found at www.youtube.com/rugcanada.
Canada substitution details - Sean White replaced DTH van der Merwe (31 min), Ryan Hamilton replaced Pat Riordan (48 min), Scott Franklin replaced Jason Marshall (53 min), Tyler Hotson replaced Jamie Cudmore (61 min), Nathan Hirayama replaced Ed Fairhurst (63 min), Andrew Tiedemann replaced Hubert Buydens (63 min), Nanyak Dala replaced Matt Evans (65 min), Jamie Cudmore replaced Adam Kleeberger (BLOOD BIN, 73 min).
Referee: Romain Poite.
Assistant referees: Steve Walsh, Carlo Damasco.
TV match official: Matt Goddard.
Canadian side versus New Zealand
1. Hubert Buydens (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
2. Pat Riordan (captain) (BC BEARS)
3. Jason Marshall (BC BEARS)
4. Jebb Sinclair (LONDON IRISH)
5. Jamie Cudmore (ASM CLERMONT AUVERGNE)
6. Adam Kleeberger (BC BEARS)
7. Chauncey O'Toole (OSPREYS)
8. Aaron Carpenter (PLYMOUTH ALBION)
9. Ed Fairhurst (UBC OLD BOYS RAVENS)
10. Ander Monro (vice captain) (ONTARIO BLUES)
11. Phil Mackenzie (ESHER)
12. Ryan Smith (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
13. DTH van der Merwe (GLASGOW WARRIORS)
14. Conor Trainor (BC BEARS)
15. Matt Evans (UNATTACHED)
16. Ryan Hamilton (BC BEARS)
17. Scott Franklin (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
18. Andrew Tiedemann (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
19. Tyler Hotson (PLYMOUTH ALBION)
20. Nanyak Dala (PRAIRIE WOLF PACK)
21. Sean White (BC BEARS)
22. Nathan Hirayama (BC BEARS)
Head coach - Kieran Crowley
Manager - Rodger Swany
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