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Canada men’s rugby held winless after tight match with Samoa

Rugby Canada team member Jamie Cudmore wears his new uniform at the team's practice facility in Burnaby, B.C. Tuesday, June, 3, 2014. Cudmore was sin-binned in the game against Samoa, which Canada lost. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Samoa unveiled a potential new star as teenage fly-half D'Angelo Leuila kicked 20 points to hold off Canada 25-23 and end their European rugby tour on a high on Friday.

Making his first start for Samoa, Leuila's expert goal-kicking proved the difference. He slotted four penalties, two dropped goals, and converted Samoa's only try.

Canada is ranked 18th in the world compared with No. 14 for Samoa.

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Leuila helped Samoa Under-20s win the second-tier Junior World Trophy in May and made his Samoa debut in June as a replacement against Georgia. He's turned 19 since then and was picked to tour Europe after regular fly-half Tusi Pisi was sidelined by a groin injury.

Following losses to France (52-8) and Georgia (20-16), Samoa was made to counterattack early for centre Paul Perez's try. Leuila converted, dropped a goal and hit a penalty for Samoa to lead 13-0 after 14 minutes.

Samoa led 16-6 by halftime, then 19-6 against the run of play. Soon after, lock Taiasina Tuifu'a was yellow-carded for a late tackle on fullback Matt Evans, and Canada scored its first try by driving over flanker Evan Olmstead from a line-out.

Even after veteran Canada lock Jamie Cudmore was sin-binned in the 62nd, his team notched its second try when winger and captain D.T.H. van der Merwe scooped up a perfect bounce from a Phil Mack box kick and ran in. The conversion was missed again.

With Tuifu'a restored, Leuila kicked over his second dropped goal, then his fourth penalty after he was hit late by counterpart Connor Braid.

When Cudmore returned, van der Merwe scored his second try from a cross kick by Braid, who also converted. But time ran out and Canada returned home winless on tour after defeats to No. 5 Ireland (52-21) and No. 16 Romania (21-14).

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