LANGFORD, BC — Six players will make their Senior Men’s Team debuts for Canada on Saturday against Uruguay to open the 2016 Americas Rugby Championship at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC.
Interim Head Coach Francois Ratier has given Paul Ciulini, Lucas Rumball, Clay Panga, Gradyn Bowd, Dan Moor and Mozac Samson their first test cap. Six other players could potentially make their test debuts Saturday if they come off the bench, including Eric Howard, Rob Brouwer, Kyle Baillie, Alistair Clark, Andrew Ferguson and Duncan Maguire.
“The players are very excited to hit the field against Uruguay,” Ratier said. “It’s going to be a great experience. We’ve had a very good week of training at Shawnigan Lake School for our preparation.
“There is a great spirit right now in the team and they’re looking forward to the game. Everything is on the right track.”
The team is anchored by an experienced front row in Captain Hubert Buydens, Ray Barkwill and Jake Ilnicki, all of whom represented Canada at last year’s Rugby World Cup. Ciulini starts at lock with Victoria’s Callum Morrison while the back row is comprised of Rumball, Panga and Kyle Gilmour, who was called into the squad earlier this week from the Rotherham Titans.
Gordon McRorie gets the nod at scrum-half while Bowd will start at fly half. Nick Blevins, who had an exceptional 2015, will pair with Samson at centre with Moor and 29 cap veteran Phil Mackenzie occupying the wings. St. Johns, Newfoundland’s Pat Parfrey starts at fullback.
“We don’t care about the number of caps in the team,” Ratier said. “We care about our courage and heart.”
Canada is 7-1 all-time against Uruguay in official test matches, the last of which came in 2010 during the Churchill Cup when Canada won 48-6 in Denver, Colorado. Uruguay’s lone win came in 2002 on home soil in Montevideo. More recently, Canada ‘A’ tackled Uruguay at the previous version of the Americas Rugby Championship, winning matches in 2013 and 2014 in Langford.
“It’s important to start your campaign with a win and maintain that form since we’re playing international games and we can gain points in the rankings,” Ratier said. “The boys are excited and can’t wait to play in front of our home crowd.”
The ARC will give Canada four additional test matches a year as in addition to facing Uruguay, Canada will also tackle Brazil, Chile and the USA in the coming weeks. They will also travel to Argentina as part of the ARC but it won’t be classed as an official test match. Canada will also host Brazil on Feb. 20 at Westhills Stadium.
Tickets to Saturday’s game are still available and can be purchased online at http://events.rugbycanada.ca or at the gate at the Westhills Stadium.
The game will also be streamed LIVE at www.rugbycanada.ca beginning at 7pm ET / 4pm PT.
Canada’s Roster vs. Uruguay (Club), Hometown, Province
1. Hubert Buydens – Captain (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2. Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Jake Ilnicki – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
4. Paul Ciulini – (Aurora Barbarians/Ontario Blues) Vaughan, ON
5. Callum Morrison – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
6. Kyle Gilmour – (Rotherham Titans/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
7. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
8. Clay Panga – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
11. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Mozac Samson – (Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
14. Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
15. Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
16. Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
17. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18. Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19. Kyle Baillie – (Halifax Tars/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
20. Alistair Clark – (Bay Street Pigs/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
21. Michael Hamson – (Halifax Tars/Atlantic Rock) Halifax, NS
22. Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON
23. Duncan Maguire – (St. Albert RFCC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Canada’s Senior Men’s Coaching Staff:
Francois Ratier – Interim Head Coach
Jamie Cudmore – Forwards/defence coach
Graeme Moffat – Attack coach
Mike Shelley – Scrum coach
Chris Silverthorn – Forwards coach
Andy Evans – Strength and Conditioning coach
James Kent – Video analyst
Americas Rugby Championship | 2016 Competition Calendar
(Home v Away)
Round 1 – Weekend of Feb. 6 -7, 2016
Canada v Uruguay
USA v Argentina
Chile v Brazil
Round 2 – Weekend of Feb. 13 – 14, 2016
USA v Canada
Argentina v Chile
Brazil v Uruguay
Round 3 – Weekend of Feb. 20 -21, 2016
Canada v Brazil
USA v Chile
Uruguay v Argentina
Round 4 – Weekend of Feb. 27 – 28, 2016
Argentina v Canada
Brazil v USA
Chile v Uruguay
Round 5 – Weekend of March 5 – 6, 2016
Chile v Canada
Uruguay v USA
Brazil v Argentina