The last time Ben Lessig played for Canada, he broke his hand. And he kept playing.
It happened four minutes after Canada’s opening game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with a 48-7 defeat to Italy on September 26 in Fukuoka. He had to deal with an Italian whose knee fell to his hand as he came down.
“I quickly realized there was something wrong with my hand, but as you do, you’re back in the game and waiting for the next stop,” the Toronto Arrows said.
It came in the eighth minute as Italy scored their first attempt in the match, allowing Lesage to try and tag a physicist for some attention.
WATCH Canada lost to Italy the last time LeSage played for the men’s national rugby team:
“The clinic ran right in front of me to (center) Nick Blevins who went head-to-head and broke his jaw 30 seconds ago. He was standing there holding his jaw. So all the attention went to Blevins and understandably said Lesage.
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Blevins was replaced by Ciaran Hearn. LeSage, aware of the substitute full-back’s options on the bench, gritted his teeth and carried on.
“I can say it’s over (and) if this is going to be my only World Cup match, I might try to get 80 minutes,” he said. “So I scored a little bit more goals in the first half, took my painkiller and tried to seize the moment.”
It was later revealed that he had fractured the third metatarsal bone in his right hand.
Back to the international stage
The 25-year-old LeSage donned the Maple Leaf jersey again on Saturday as the 23rd-seeded Canadian take on sixth-seeded Wales at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Third seed Canada will face England in Twickenham on July 10.
“What a challenge I have to face. I am very excited,” said LeSage of taking on such an outstanding challenge in Canada’s first game after the World Cup.
Coach Kingsley Jones’ other darts starting on Saturday 15 are forwards Lucas Rumbal, Andrew Quatrin, Saki Vekelani and middle Ross Broad. Alternates include fellow darts Tyler Rowland and Cole Keith.
Rampal will lead Canada with Lesage as deputy captain.
While Wales lost 10 players on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, coach Wayne Bevak fielded a squad that included veterans Jonathan Davies (88 games) and Lee Halfpenny (95). Pivac appointed two unfolded appetizers with three others on the bench.
“I don’t expect anyone on our team to expect to go out for a training session or anything like that,” LeSage said.
“You either go inside your shell or you really accept this challenge and understand the opportunity that lies ahead,” he added.
Saturday’s Canadian start includes Braude, Vikilani, Quinn Ngawati and Cooper Coats with Roland, Donald Carson and Michael Smith making their debuts on the bench.
Participation on Saturday will be limited to 8,200 people who will be able to attend Saturday’s match at the Emirate Stadium.
Three screws were inserted into the LeSage to align the bones
After Italy’s World Cup match, LeSage returned to Vancouver for surgery. After placing three screws in alignment with the bones, he returned to Japan to join friends and family who participated in the tournament.
“I thought instead of sitting on the couch at home and watching, I might come back to join then,” he said.
She proved to be an emotional rollercoaster for Calgary-born LeSage, who missed the chance to face the All Blacks and eventual world champions in South Africa.
“It goes without saying that professional sports can be tough at times and rugby in particular,” he said. “Maybe I felt a little sorry for myself there, sure, and was a little disappointed after the (Italy) game. But (I) somehow realized I was going back and hopefully there will be more worlds in my future. And things.
“I really had the best, and to be honest, traveling afterwards was one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had,” added LeSage, who spent time in Asia with some of his Canadian teammates after the tournament.
LeSage, who has made 16 appearances for Canada since his debut in November 2016, is still available.
Five feet tall, 215 pounds tall, he holds a bachelor’s degree in mechatronics – a subset of mechanical engineering focused on robotics – with a minor in commerce from the University of British Columbia, where he began his rugby career.
LeSage represented Canada with Under-18s and Under-20s, but rugby was suspended for a year when he tore an ACL in his knee while playing in New Zealand after his first year at UBC.
Life in New Zealand was another life experience. He shared a house with fellow Canadian rugby players Matt Mullins and Justice Sears Douro. LeSage and Sears-Duru, who will take home his 53rd Canadian title on Saturday, worked at a dairy when they weren’t playing rugby.
Two years later, LeSage was invited to his first camp in Canada.
Away from rugby, he works for a British company called Omnipresent, which specializes in helping companies with human resources around the world. He said that being a part-time engineer isn’t really a possibility.
Lesage and arrows called Marietta, Ja. , has been at home since mid-March with the Toronto team opting to share facilities with ATL rugby this season due to travel restrictions linked to the pandemic.
Despite “a few cuts to the face and stitches,” LeSage has been a constant presence in the Arrows lineup this season. He cut his forehead in the first game of the season, prompting him to wear a protective headgear. In the first match he removed, he injured his elbow which opened another wound under his right eyebrow.
He is believed to have had 22 stitches to repair his wounds.
“This is the internal joke that I came close to being top of the championship this year,” he said.