Kieran Crowley has made three changes for Friday’s clash vs Tonga

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moonlight

Carpenter, Tiedemann and Moonlight boost Canada’s starting XV ahead of first home international match of 2015 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup on Friday

John Moonlight dives in 

BURNABY, BC – Head coach Kieran Crowley has made three changes for Friday’s World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) clash against Tonga at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia.

Aaron Carpenter, John Moonlight and Andrew Tiedemann have stepped into the pack while the backs remain unchanged after Canada’s 20-6 loss to Japan in San Jose Saturday in their PNC opener.

“We’re still looking at players and there’s a lot of competition within our squad,” Crowley said. “This allows guys to get opportunities at different times.”

Carpenter replaces Ray Barkwill at hooker with Tiedemann coming in for Doug Wooldridge while Hubert Buydens retains his place, as do Jon Phelan and Brett Beukeboom at lock.

Moonlight replaces last week’s debutant Thyssen de Goede and will line up alongside Richard Thorpe at flanker while captain Tyler Ardron will lead from the No. 8 spot.

Gordon McRorie, who kicked all of Canada’s points against Japan, will start at scrum half with Liam Underwood getting the start at fly half.

“I’m feeling confident,” Underwood said. “It feels good to have one [game] under your belt and it’s been a good couple of weeks of training. Things are going well.”

DTH van der Merwe and Jeff Hassler retain their spots on the wing while Matt Evans will play at fullback.

After missing out on selection against Japan, Benoit Piffero and Kyle Gilmour are named as replacements.

Canada created a number of chances against Japan but were unable to capitalize on them inside the opposition 22metre line. Heading into the game, Crowley had installed a new game plan and with a game under their belt now, the Canadians have pinpointed the areas they need to improve.

“A lot of learning had gone in in the weeks before [the Japan game],” Evans said. “It was nice to get some video review of that and pick up some specific areas to work on. It’s been a good learning week again.

“We created a lot of opportunities throughout the Japan game but just didn’t finish any of them and that’s down to the tiny one percent’s we talk about. Hopefully we can reproduce some of the situations we found ourselves in on Saturday and capitalize on them.”

Tonga also lost their opening 2015 PNC match as they fell 30-22 to Fiji in Suva in the opening game of the tournament. Canada is 5-1 all-time against Tonga and has won the last four match-ups.

“We know they have a big nine who likes to run and have a go,” Underwood said. “All of their backs are big, physical guys, they run hard and aren’t afraid of any collisions.”

Tonga is well regarded for their physical presence and Evans believes that Canada will have to match their attitude to have success.

“The more physical team gets a set piece dominance, game line dominance and that’s something we want to win,” Evans said. “Whenever you play the South Sea Islander sides you expect it but you’ve got to match it to put yourself in position to get your front foot on them.”

Canada’s Roster vs. Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup – (Club), Hometown, Province

1 – Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2 – Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
3 – Andrew Tiedemann – (Plymouth Albion/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
4 – Jon Phelan – (Doncaster Knights/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QB
5 – Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
6 – Richard Thorpe – (London Welsh) Beckenham, England
7 – John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8 – Tyler Ardron – Captain (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
9 – Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10 – Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
11 – DTH Van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Regina, SK
12 – Connor Braid – (Unattached/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
13 – Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14 – Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, AB
15 – Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
16 – Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac/Atlantic Rock) Montreal QB
17 – Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18 – Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19 – Callum Morrison – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
20 – Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
21 – Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22 – Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
23 – Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON

Unavailable:

Jamie Cudmore – (Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB

Canada Senior Men’s Schedule:

Pacific Nations Cup:

July 18 – Canada 6-20 Japan (San Jose, USA)
July 24 – Canada vs. Tonga (Swangard Stadium, Burnaby)
July 29 – Canada vs. Samoa (BMO Field, Toronto)
August 3 – Canada vs. TBD (Swangard Stadium, Burnaby)

Road to the Rugby World Cup:

August 22 – Canada vs. USA (Twin Elm Rugby Park, Ottawa)
August 29 – Canada vs. Glasgow Warriors (Wanderers Grounds, Halifax)
September 2 – Canada vs. Georgia (Esher, England)
September 6 – Canada vs. Fiji (The Stoop, England)

Rugby World Cup:

September 19 – Canada vs. Ireland (Cardiff, Wales)
September 26 – Canada vs. Italy (Leeds, England)
October 1 – Canada vs. France (Milton Keynes, England)
October 6 – Canada vs. Romania (Leicester, England)

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