George Barton

Canada’s men’s U20 head coach Jeff Williams has named a 35-man training camp squad ahead of next month’s World Rugby Junior Trophy qualifier against the USA.

The squad features just two returning players from last year’s qualifier in George Barton and Connor Sampson. Matt Beukeboom, also a member of last year’s team, is currently unavailable for the training camp due to club commitments with Section Paloise.

However, the team does feature four members of Canada’s U19 team that played in the 2017 International Series last month in Elias Ergas, Brennig Prevost, Emerson Prior and Matthew Ye.

Kevin Vertkas is also selected after playing for Canada’s U18 team at the recent Rugby Europe Open Championships in Quimper, France.

“I am really excited as are the other coaches,” Williams said. “To tell you the truth the players are excited as well. Many have had a long club or university season and they have been itching to show well at this camp with the goal to make the team and represent their country.

“Coaches always rely to some degree on returning players to help foster the culture you are looking for but we have stressed to all the players that everyone is starting from the same spot. They are all competing and the reality is there are only 26 spots available. We want this camp to be highly competitive and the emphasis is to put the players under pressure and see how they react and how they play as a team.”

Canada will square off against the USA in a two-game series on June 13 and June 17 in Edmonton, Alb., at Ellerslie Rugby Park. The aggregate score winner will advance to the World Rugby Junior Trophy at the end of August in Uruguay.

Last year’s qualifier was a one game playoff that the USA won 19-18 on an 80th minute penalty in Texas. In 2015, Canada reached the tournament final but were beaten 49-24 by Georgia. The winner of the World Rugby Junior Trophy qualifies for the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship.

Admission to the first game on June 13 is free, however, a ticket must be purchased for Canada’s senior men’s test match against Romania on June 17 to gain entry for the second game of the U20 qualifier. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Canada’s Men’s U20 Training Camp Roster (Name, club, hometown):

George Barton (Clermont) Duncan, BC

Donald Carson (UBC Thunderbirds) Tsawwassen, BC

Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia

Thomas Davidson (Toronto Scottish RFC), Chelsea, QC

Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB

Nicholas De Lallo (Bytown Blues) Ottawa, ON

Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC

Elias Ergas (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

Nicholas Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

Aaron Hersant (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC

Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

Sebastian Iaricci (Beaconsfield RFC) Ste-Dorothée, QC

Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON

Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB

Jason Lines (Druids) Stoney Plain, ON

Aidan McCleary (Westshore RFC) Burlington, ON

Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC

Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON

Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON

Erich Milne (Oshawa Vikings) Uxbridge, ON

Darian Morrison (UVic Vikes) Lethbridge, AB

Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC

Steven Ng (Capilano RFC) Ottawa, ON

Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC

James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB

Carson O’Sullivan (UVic Vikes) Buena Vista, SK

Dylan Parson (Oshawa Vikings) Caesarea, ON

Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC

Emerson Prior (Trent University) Gananoque, ON

Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC

Cameron Sandison (Oakville Crusaders) Oakville, ON

Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC

Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC

Kevin Vertkas (Toronto Nomads) Mississauga, ON

Matthew Ye (UBC Thunderbirds) Markham, ON

Unavailable due to club commitments:

Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON

Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB

Canada’s Men’s U20 Schedule:

Canada vs. USA — June 13 — Ellerslie Rugby Park, 9pm ET, 6pm PT

Canada vs. USA — June 17 — Ellerslie Rugby Park, 2pm ET/11am PT