Canada head coach Kingsley Jones has named his starting roster to open the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) on Saturday against Uruguay.
Canada will be captained by Toronto Arrows’ flanker Lucas Rumball, who, at just 23-years-of-age, has already racked up 26 test caps and scored four tries. Rumball, who was also recently named Captain of the newly-formed Arrows, made his debut against Uruguay three years ago as part of the ARC in Langford, BC.
“It’s always an exciting match when we play Uruguay. I think on Saturday’s we’re going to see a similar physical, exciting and back-and-forth game that we have in the past against Uruguay and I know the boys are excited,” said Rumball.
Leading into the fourth edition of the six-team ARC, Canada currently sits in 20thon the official World Rugby rankings, while Uruguay holds the 17thposition. However, if Canada can defeat Uruguay by 15 or more points on Saturday the two sides would switch positions in the rankings, giving Jones’ side their best seating in more than two and a half years.
“These ARC test matches are vitally important for us to continue building depth and momentum as a program as we work towards the Rugby World Cup,” said Jones. “Players have had meaningful rugby with their MLR clubs leading into this ARC tournament which will stand them in good stead. The biggest challenge is the fact that we have an away fixture to start the tournament. Which means we were only able to get the full squad together on Tuesday after extensive travel, leaving us with a few short days to prepare.”
Canada holds an 8-4 record all-time dating back to 1995 against Uruguay, however, the South Americans have won their last three matches including last year’s two-game aggregate Rugby World Cup qualifiers.
“We have a lot of respect for Uruguay and know they are a physical side that are tough to beat, especially at home,” said Jones. “I don’t think there’s a great deal between the two teams, however, Uruguay knows how to win a bit better than us at the moment, but we are getting there on the back of three test wins in November.”
Saturday could see two debutants on Canada’s Men’s Team, as 20-year-old scrum half Will Percillier and 22-year-old forward Nakai Penny have been named to the reserves bench.
Saturday’s test match kicks off a busy calendar year for Canada, with five matches during the ARC, three at the Pacific Nations Cup in July and August and a minimum of four matches RWC in September and October in Japan.
1. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Seattle Seawolves) Oakville, ON
2. Eric Howard – (NOLA Gold) Ottawa, ON
3. Matt Tierney – (Pau) Oakville, ON
4. Conor Keys – (Rotherham Titans) Stittsville, ON
5. Josh Larsen – (Austin Elite) Parskville, BC
6. Kyle Baillie – (NOLA Gold) Summerside, PEI
7. Lucas Rumball – Captain(Toronto Arrows) Mississauga, ON
8. Luke Campbell – (James Bay AA) Victoria, BC
9. Jamie Mackenzie – (Toronto Arrows) Oakville, ON
10. Pat Parfrey – (Unattached) St. John’s, NL
11. Kainoa Lloyd – (Toronto Arrows) Mississauga, ON
12. Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish) Conception Bay South, NL
13. Ben LeSage – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
14. Andrew Coe – (Markham Irish) Toronto, ON
15. Theo Sauder – (Toronto Arrows) Vancouver, BC
16. Noah Barker – (Utah Warriors) Courtenay, BC
17. Ryan Kotlewski – (Westshore RFC) Calgary, AB
18. Cole Keith – (Toronto Arrows) Sussex, NB
19. Mike Sheppard – (Toronto Arrows) Brampton, ON
20. Dustin Dobravsky – (Castaway Wanderers) Hanover, Germany
21. Nakai Penny – (Seattle Seawolves) Penticton, BC
22. Will Percillier – (Stade Francais) Mill Bay, BC
23. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets) Calgary, AB