Canada’s senior men’s head coach Mark Anscombe has named an extended squad featuring 29 players for the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship.
The squad features a wealth of experience with 20 players previously capped at the test level while nine other players without test experience are also included.
“Due to the nature of the long campaign we have named an extended squad in order to cover the full five week tour,” Anscombe said. “We have an extended squad named to get us through the early stages and we’ll reassess for the last two games when we travel to South America.”
Ray Barkwill, Nick Blevins, Phil Mack, Pat Parfrey, Benoit Piffero, Taylor Paris, Djustice Sears-Duru and Conor Trainor have all been capped more than 10 times for Canada and are joined by Gradyn Bowd, Rob Brouwer, Admir Cejvanovic, Liam Chisholm, Eric Howard, Ryan Kotlewski, Lucas Rumball, Dan Moor, Clay Panga, Brock Staller and Matt Tierney. In total, Canada’s 20 players with previous test experience have earned a combined 268 caps.
This year will also see the inclusion of overseas players highlighted by Trainor and Paris’ involvement, both of whom are having stellar seasons in France’s Pro D2. Oakville’s Sears-Duru has also been released from the Glasgow Warriors while Tierney also joins the squad from Top 14 side Pau. Matt Beukeboom and George Barton join up from their academy French sides.
Along with the uncapped Beukeboom and Barton, Cole Keith, Conor Keys, Rory McDonell, Ollie Nott, Reegan O’Gorman, Carl Pocock and Robbie Povey round out the squad.
“There’s nine guys in the squad that haven’t been capped and it’s exciting to see what these guys have,” Anscombe said. “It’s a good opportunity to see what we have in certain areas and if these guys can step up.
“Some of these young guys have good futures ahead of them so the sooner we can get them up and comfortable playing this level the better off we’ll be down the road.”
Canada will play its first three games of the tournament on home soil as they will face Argentina on Feb. 4 and Chile on Feb. 11 at Westhills Stadium in Langford, BC. They will then head to the mainland to face the USA on Feb. 18 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC, before heading to South America to face Uruguay and Brazil in the final two weeks.
Last year, Canada finished third after wins over Uruguay, Brazil and Chile. In last year’s tournament, 19 players earned their first test cap for Canada. The tournament has proven to be a quality breeding ground for players with many of last year’s debutants going on to play for Canada during their RISEAsOne Summer Series in June and the annual November Tour.
The Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) provides Canada with an additional four test matches a year. The game against Argentina is not a sanctioned test match. The competition provides more exposure and opportunity for Canada’s senior men’s squad as they work towards 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification.
“It’s all building to the qualifier,” Anscombe said. “We’ve got an opportunity to see what these young guys have got. By giving some guys opportunities here we’re extending the depth of our squad, seeing if guys can handle the step up and we’ve got to make sure we’re ready to go when the qualifier hits and they understand the level of rugby that’s going to be required from them to be successful.”
Tickets for Canada’s three home games can be purchased by clicking here. Broadcast details for all five of Canada’s 2017 ARC games are still being finalized.
Canada’s Men’s Extended Squad for 2017 Americas Rugby Championship
Players in BOLD are BC players (born and/or grew up in BC)
Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
George Barton – (Cowichan RFC/Clermont Espoirs) Duncan, BC
Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Matt Beukeboom – (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Red Deer, AB
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Liam Chisholm – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Kenora, ON
Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
Conor Keys – (UVic Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
Cole Keith – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) Sussex, NB
Ryan Kotlewski – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Rory McDonell – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
Gordon McRorie – (UBCOB Ravens/Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Oliver Nott – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears/BC Elite 7s) Qualicum, BC
Reegan O’Gorman – (Vancouver Rowing Club/Marist Albion) Vancouver, BC
Clay Panga – (Westshore RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Rugby Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
Carl Pocock – (Calgary Rams/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Robbie Povey – (Bedford Athletic/Prairie Wolf Pack) Northampton, England
Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears/Meraloma RC) Vancouver, BC
Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears/RC Vannes) Vancouver, BC
Canada’s 2017 Americas Rugby Championship Schedule:
Canada vs. Argentina — Feb. 4, Westhills Stadium, 8pm ET/5pm PT
Canada vs. Chile — Feb. 11, Westhills Stadium, 8pm ET/5pm PT
Canada vs. USA — Feb. 18, Swangard Stadium, 8pm ET/5pm PT
Uruguay vs. Canada — Feb. 25, Estadio Domingo Burgueno
Brazil vs. Canada — March 4, Pacaembu Stadium