TORONTO, ON – Rugby Canada is pleased to announce that international men’s rugby will return to Toronto, Ontario next summer when Canada faces Italy in June as part of their 2016 June international series. 2016 will see Canada’s Senior Men’s Rugby Team begin a new World Cup cycle with eyes on qualification for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Next June’s test match against Italy will be a re-match of this year’s narrow 23-18 loss for Canada in the Rugby World Cup. Canada’s DTH van der Merwe and Matt Evans scored highlight reel tries in front of a sold-out crowd at Elland Road in Leeds in their second pool match.
While date and location are yet to be confirmed for next summer, the game will mark a return to Ontario after July’s Pacific Nations Cup contest against Samoa earlier this year that was part of a triple-header at BMO Field in Toronto. International rugby has featured yearly at the world-class venue in downtown Toronto since 2011, with sell out crowds of over 20,000 fans providing an excellent sporting atmosphere.
“The atmosphere in Toronto is outstanding and the players really enjoy playing in front of their home fans,” Senior Men’s head coach Kieran Crowley said.
“The support we receive on the field is a big lift for the players and hopefully we can get the win.”
Canada and Italy have met eight times since their inaugural clash in 1983 with Canada winning twice. Italy has won the last five matchups – including a 25-16 victory at BMO Field in June of 2012 – and are currently ranked 12th in the world.
“They’re a tier one nation that will be coming off the Six Nations competition and will provide us with a quality opposition,” Crowley said.
“We know how the Italians play, they have a very strong forward pack and we competed really well against them in the World Cup but we didn’t quite get there. We’ll be hoping this time that can we achieve the desired result against them.”
Despite a winless World Cup, Canada showed throughout the entire tournament that their fast, exciting brand of rugby can compete with the elite nations in the world. Ticket and broadcast information, as well as kickoff time and location, will be announced in the near future. Further senior men’s international fixtures will be released in the coming months.