LANGFORD, BC — Canada’s Senior Men’s Head Coach Mark Anscombe has named a 28-man squad for next month’s test matches against Ireland, Romania and Samoa.
The squad features a wealth of experience but also a blend of youth including Admir Cejvanovic,Ben LeSage and Conor Keys who could all earn their first test caps on tour. Brett Beukeboom,Connor Braid, Phil Mack, Conor Trainor and DTH van der Merwe also rejoin the squad having not featured for Canada since last year’s Rugby World Cup.
Furthermore, 18 players return from Anscombe’s June RISEAsOne Summer Series squad in Kyle Baillie, Ray Barkwill, Nick Blevins, Aaron Carpenter, Matt Evans, Ciaran Hearn, Matt Heaton, Eric Howard, Jake Ilnicki, LeSage, Gordon McRorie, Evan Olmstead, Pat Parfrey, Taylor Paris, Lucas Rumball, Djustice Sears-Duru, Brock Staller and Matt Tierney. Rob Brouwer, Ryan Kotlewski and Clay Panga make up the rest of the squad.
“We’ve picked the best squad we can from the players available,” Anscombe said. “It’s unfortunate we’ve still got some guys out injured but we’ve brought back some quality players.”
Canada, ranked 18th in the world, will face sixth ranked Ireland at the Aviva Stadium on Nov. 12 before tackling 16th ranked Romania a week later in Bucharest. Canada concludes its tour against 14th ranked Samoa on Nov. 25 in Grenoble, France.
“Theses games are extremely vital,” Anscombe said. “We’re playing a Tier 1 nation in Dublin in front of a full house and we don’t get to do that very often so it’s a great opportunity for the guys to show what they are capable of. With ranking points on the line, the other two games are critical if we want to move up in the world rankings.”
Canada last faced Ireland at the 2015 Rugby World Cup with the Irish prevailing 50-7. Canada is 0-6-1 all-time against Ireland. At the same tournament, Canada were narrowly beaten 17-15 by Romania and have claimed victory in two of their six previous encounters.
Canada were also denied a win against Samoa last year as part of the Pacific Nations Cup as the visitors scored a last gasp try to steal a 21-20 win at BMO Field in Toronto. Canada has never beaten Samoa in five attempts.
The November tour continues what has been a busy 2016 for Canada’s senior men’s team. After playing five games in the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship, Canada played three tests against Japan, Russia and Italy as part of the RISEAsOne Summer Series. A Canada ‘A’ team then tackled the Doncaster Knights, Ulster and the Glasgow Warriors in an August tour before playing three games as part of the Americas Pacific Challenge in Uruguay earlier this month.
Broadcast details for all three games are still to be confirmed.
Canada Senior Men’s Roster for November Tour – Name, (Club/CRC) Hometown
Kyle Baillie – (Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Aaron Carpenter – (London Welsh/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock)Godmanchester, QC
Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
Jake Ilnicki – (Manawatu Turbos/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
Ryan Kotlewski – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, ON
Ben Lesage – (UBC Thunderbirds/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Gordon McRorie – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Evan Olmstead – (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
Clay Panga – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB