LONDON, ENGLAND – Jamie Cudmore will once again captain Canada as they face 9th ranked Fiji Sunday, September 6 in their final Rugby World Cup warm-up match at The Twickenham Stoop.
After a 16-15 win over 13th ranked Georgia Wednesday, head coach Kieran Crowley has made 13 changes to his starting XV with Cudmore and Phil Mackenzie the only players to keep their spots.
“Fiji is our last game before the World Cup so some other players will get an opportunity,” Crowley said. “We just need to keep building on our performances from the last couple of games.”
In the front row, Hubert Buydens and Jason Marshall will start either side of hooker Benoit Piffero. Sunday’s match will be Marshall’s first appearance of the summer after recovering from injury.
Cudmore will be paired with Evan Olmstead at lock while Kyle Gilmour, Nanyak Dala and Richard Thorpe make up the back row.
Gordon McRorie returns at scrum-half with Liam Underwood getting the nod at 10. Mackenzie and DTH Van Der Merwe will play on the wings with Connor Braid and Conor Trainor starting at centre with Harry Jones at fullback.
On the bench, Jake Ilnicki returns to the fold as he has been recalled from Australian club side NSW Country Eagles to help cover injuries in the front row. Ilnicki was named as a non-travelling reserve when Canada announced its RWC squad and will be part of Sunday’s test match to help support the team. The 23-year-old has seven test caps, the last of which came in Canada’s final Pacific Nations Cup match against the USA.
Canada enters Sunday’s game riding a two-game winning streak after beating the Glasgow Warriors 19-12 last Saturday in Halifax before Wednesday’s victory over Georgia in Esher.
Canada is 3-7 all-time against Fiji, who are in the so-called “Pool of Death” along with England, Wales, Australia and Uruguay at the RWC. Canada won their last meeting in Ottawa in 2013, 20-18. Fiji won this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, beating Samoa 39-29 in the final in Burnaby on August 3rd. Fiji are one of the world’s most dangerous teams on the attack, possessing potent try scorers within their backs.
Sunday’s game will give Crowley his final opportunity to assess his team in match conditions before Canada’s World Cup opener against Ireland on September 19th.
Sunday’s game kicks off at 9:30am ET / 6:30am PT and will be streamed LIVE at www.rugbycanada.ca
Canada’s Roster vs. Fiji (Club), Hometown, Province
1. Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2. Benoit Piffero – (Unattached/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
3. Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
4. Evan Olmstead – (Parramatta Two Blues/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
5. Jamie Cudmore, Captain – (Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
6. Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
7. Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
8. Richard Thorpe – (London Welsh) Beckenham, England
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
11. Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
12. Connor Braid – (Unattached/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
13. Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14. DTH van der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC
15. Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
16. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
17. Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
18. Jake Ilnicki – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
19. Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
20. John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
21. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22. Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
23. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Senior Men’s Coaching Staff:
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Forwards Coach: Neil Barnes
Assistant Coach: Leo Crowley
Scrum Coach: Mike Shelley
Skills Coach: Graeme Moffat
Manager: Gareth Rees
Road to the Rugby World Cup:
August 29 – Canada 19-12 Glasgow Warriors
September 2 – Canada 16-15 Georgia
September 6 – Canada vs. Fiji (The Stoop, England)
Kick off: 2:30pm local time
(9:30am ET/6:30am PT)
Watch LIVE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN_6BSr6yDA
Rugby World Cup Pool Matches:
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)