August 24, 2013, Toronto, ON (ISN) – Canada head coach Kieran Crowley has named a strong 23-man squad ahead of the biggest game of the year on Saturday. Win, tie or less than 17-point loss on Saturday secures berth into 2015 Rugby World Cup for Canada’s Men
Following a 27-9 victory last Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina, Canada holds an 18-point advantage over their North American rivals, USA, heading into the finale of the two-game Rugby World Cup Qualifying Series at Toronto’s BMO Field. A win, tie or loss by 17-points or less on Saturday will secure the Americas one seed at the 2015 Rugby World Cup for Canada.
Phil Mack, Harry Jones and DTH van der Merwe each scored tries and James Pritchard was good for 12 points off the boot to secure the advantage for Canada, while USA’s nine points came from Chris Wyles.
Saturday’s victory at Blackbaud Stadium came with a price, however; Rugby World Cup veterans Jamie Cudmore (2003, 2007 and 2011) and Ryan Hamilton (2011) have been deemed unavailable for Saturday’s test due to injuries received last weekend.
Nevertheless, Crowley has named a relatively unchanged side for the clash at BMO Field, sticking with a similar recipe from Charleston.
Niagara Falls native, Ray Barkwill slots into hooker to replace injured Ryan Hamilton and Vancouver product, Tyler Hotson returns to Canada’s second-row in place of the unavailable Jamie Cudmore.
Alongside Barkwill, Andrew Tiedemann, Jason Marshall, Jebb Sinclair, John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron and captain Aaron Carpenter round out the forward pack. Canada’s backs – who scored all 27 points in Saturday’s victory – boast an unchanged starting seven.
Joining Canada’s subs will be Montreal native, Jon Phelan – who recently signed his first pro contract with Lille Metropole Rugby in France – and Abbotsford product, Aaron Flagg. The remainder of the subs stays the same from the first test.
All eyes will be on BMO Field on Saturday for what surely will be the biggest game of the year for Canada’s Men’s Team, with a berth in the 2015 Rugby World Cup on the line.