Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON Photo credit Lorne Collicutt/Rugby Canada
Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team faces North American rivals in first of four Rugby World Cup preparation games
OTTAWA, ON – Canada’s senior men’s head coach Kieran Crowley has named his squad for Saturday’s test match against the USA at Twin Elm Rugby Park in Ottawa.
Aaron Carpenter will captain the side from the No.8 spot in Tyler Ardron’s absence. In addition to Carpenter, Hubert Buydens, John Moonlight and Harry Jones are the only other players to keep their spot in the line-up after Canada’s 15-13 loss to the USA in their final Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) game.
“There are a couple of guys who performed pretty well during PNC who deserve the opportunity again and a couple of guys who are carrying knocks who are better served to have a week off,” Crowley said from Ottawa.
“It’s a reward for performance. Some of the boys have played well who might not have considered themselves to be in this position at this time so they deserve another opportunity.”
Buydens will be joined by Ray Barkwill and Doug Wooldridge in the front row while Tyler Hotson and Jon Phelan will play at lock. Nanyak Dala will join Moonlight and Carpenter in the back row.
Gordon McRorie is back at scrum half after missing the USA game due to injury while Nathan Hirayama gets his second start of the summer at fly half.
Nick Blevins, who along with Carpenter was Canada’s top try scorer during the PNC with two tries, will play at centre with Conor Trainor. Phil Mackenzie and the returning Taylor Paris will man the wings with Jones at fullback.
Paris, who was an integral part of Agen’s promotion to the Top 14 this past season, missed the entire PNC due to injury but the 22-year-old has regained his fitness to be included in Saturday’s game.
“He’s been out for a while but had an outstanding season over in France,” Crowley said. “He’s probably got a little more of a skip than some of the other players so he brings a different sort of wing game. He’s obviously very keen to have a good one as we have a lot of competition out on those wide areas and on the back line.
“He’s been training well and recovered so we’re expecting him to do well.”
The team has spent the last week in Ottawa at their second training camp of the summer. The other took place at Shawnigan Lake ahead of the Pacific Nations Cup.
“We’ve been training at Ashbury College which has been outstanding,” Crowley said. “They have a great facility there for us. I’m quite pleased with where things are at right now. We have some new guys in the system so we need to get them squared away in terms of what we’re trying to do.”
Canada narrowly loss to the USA in Burnaby on August 3 as AJ MacGinty hit a last minute drop goal to push the States into the lead. At the conclusion of the Pacific Nations Cup, Canada announced its 35-man preliminary World Cup roster and will make a handful of cuts again Sundaymorning after Saturday’s game with Crowley and his coaching staff having a number of tough decisions to make.
However, players cut after the Pacific Nations Cup and before the World Cup will act as non-travelling reserves and may yet still be required to pull on the red and white again and contribute to Canada’s World Cup campaign if called upon.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast LIVE on TSN 5. Kickoff is 4pm ET / 1pm PT and tickets are still available at http://events.rugbycanada.ca.
Canada’s Roster vs. USA on the Road to the Rugby World Cup – (Club), Hometown, Province
1. Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2. Ray Barkwill – (Unattached/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
4. Tyler Hotson – (Doncaster Knights) Vancouver, BC
5. Jon Phelan – (Doncaster Knights/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QB
6. Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
7. John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8. Aaron Carpenter, Captain – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
11. Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14. Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
15. Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
16. Benoit Piffero – (Unattached/Atlantic Rock) Montreal QB
17. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18. Andrew Tiedemann – (Unattached/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
19. Evan Olmstead – (Parramatta Two Blues/Prairie Wolf Pack) North Vancouver, BC
20. Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
21. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22. Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
23. Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Unavailable due to injury:
Tyler Ardron – Captain (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Jamie Cudmore – (Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Tom Dolezel – (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
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)