Gordon McRorie, Nick Blevins and Mozac Samson named to starting roster for Saturday’s 11-year return of men’s international rugby to Calgary when Canada faces Russia as part of June Summer Series
Calgary native Mozac Samson will start at outside centre in place of Brock Staller as Jamie Cudmore will once again captain a Canadian side that was narrowly beaten 26-22 by Japan at Vancouver’s BC Place last Saturday.
“We have a big task ahead of us against Russia,” Anscombe said. “They’re big boys, have a good pack so we have our work cut out but we look forward to the challenge.”
Ray Barkwill and Jake Ilnicki join Djustice Sears-Duru, who was named Man of the Match against Japan, in the front row while Evan Olmstead lines up next to Cudmore at lock.
Kyle Baillie and Lucas Rumball start at openside and blindside flanker respectively while Aaron Carpenter, whose 72 test caps are second all-time in Canadian test rugby history, starts at No. 8.
Calgary native Gordon McRorie starts at scrum-half with Pat Parfrey again getting the nod at fly-half. Taylor Paris, who had a try last weekend on his return to Canada’s lineup, starts on one wing with Toronto native Dan Moor lining up on the other side. It’ll be a Calgary duo in the centres as Nick Blevins pairs with Samson while Matt Evans starts at fullback.
“I’m looking forward to playing in front a home crowd, a boisterous crowd,” Cudmore said. “The people of Calgary are fired up to watch some good quality rugby and that’s what we hope to do on Saturday.”
There are a three changes to Canada’s bench however as Jordan Wilson-Ross, Cam Pierce and Liam Underwood, who has been given the green light by Canada’s sevens head coach Liam Middleton to join the senior team, are named as replacements.
Underwood last featured for Canada’s senior side at the 2015 Rugby World Cup but an injury against Ireland in Canada’s opening match forced him to miss the remainder of the tournament as well as the 2015-16 HSBC Sevens Series season.
Canada has a perfect 3-0 record against Russia with their last meeting coming in 2012 when Canada cruised to a 35-3 victory in Wales as part of their November tour, a match where Okotoks, AB., native Jeff Hassler had a pair of tries.
Canada also collected a 22-3 win in 2009 in Burnaby before winning 34-18 in the 2011 Churchill Cup in England.
Nineteenth ranked Russia has only competed in one Rugby World Cup (2011) and earlier this year finished third in the European Nations Cup after compiling a 3-2 record.
“We’ve got to be precise in defence,” Cudmore said. “I’ve played Russia a few times and they’re strong athletes but may lack a little bit in the rugby knowledge.
“But with rugby now being an Olympic sport they’ve put a lot of money into it and they have some good coaches over there and we’ve got to be very careful.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game, which kicks off at 5pm ET/2pm PT, are still available by clicking here. The match can also be seen LIVE on TSN 2.
Canada’s Roster vs. Russia (Name, Club, Hometown):
1. Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
2. Ray Barkwill – (Sacramento/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Jake Ilnicki – (San Diego/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
4. Jamie Cudmore, captain – (Oyonnax) Squamish, BC
5. Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
6. Kyle Baillie – (Ohio/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
7. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
8. Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
11. Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
12. Nick Blevins – (San Francisco/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Mozac Samson – (Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
14. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15. Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
16. Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
17. Tom Dolezel – (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
18. Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
19. Cam Pierce – (Section Paloise/Kelowna Crows) Vernon, BC
20. Alistair Clark – (Bay Street Pigs/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
21. Jamie Mackenzie – (UBCOB Ravens/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
22. Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
23. Jordan Wilson-Ross – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Alliston, ON
Unavailable for selection:
Tyler Ardron – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Kyle Gilmour – (St. Albert RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, AB
Phil Mackenzie – (San Diego/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Jason Marshall – (Agen/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Callum Morrison – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Benoit Piffero – (Avenir Castaneén Rugby XV/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Andrew Tiedemann – (Bourgoin/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
DTH van der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC
Doug Wooldridge – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Unavailable due to Rugby Sevens Olympic Repechage:
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Canada’s Senior Men’s Coaching Staff:
Head Coach – Mark Anscombe
Assistant Coach – Graeme Moffat
Assistant Coach, Forwards – Michael Shelley
Technical Consultant (Auckland Blues) – Paul Feeney
Head Strength & Conditioning – Michael Deasy
Analyst – Aaron Takel
Physiotherapist – Mallory White
Athletic Therapist – Jessica Smith
Tour Manager – Jim Kazakoff
Operations & Logistics Manager – Alana Gattinger
Canada’s RISEAsOne Summer Series Schedule:
Canada 22-26 Japan — BC Place, Vancouver
Canada vs. Russia, Calgary Rugby Park, 5pm ET/2pm PT
Canada vs. Italy, BMO Field, 12pm ET/9am PT