Canada senior men’s XVs head coach Kingsley Jones has announced his long list ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Canada kicks off their campaign on September 26th with a match against Italy and will prepare for the tournament with a series of warm-up fixtures in Canada. Two of the three pre-tournament matches will be played in BC, a very familiar setting for 12 of the players selected.
A challenging Pacific Nations Cup campaign went against Canada on the scoresheet but was of held value for Jones and his team—using it as an opportunity for selection and development as they continue their build-up to the Japan.
“The Pacific Nations Cup was our first set of tests together following a tight training camp in Langford. Competing against some tough teams provided us a lot of really good experience and was a great opportunity for the team to get to know each other and start to gel as a unit,” said Jones. “We were competitive enough for periods in the Fiji and Tonga tests, but we failed to get the results we may have wanted. We have to stay focused on the bigger picture of the Rugby World Cup.”
Many of the BC players named are set to make their World Cup debuts, including brothers and Austin Elite teammates Josh and Travis Larsen, as well as former UBC Thunderbirds Nakai Penny and Theo Sauder. Other newcomers to the World Cup include BC Bears Guiseppe Du Toit and Noah Barker, who suited up alongside Travis Larsen at the Best of the West in July as the Bears won a wild second leg to triumph over the Prairie Wolf Pack.
The 2019 selection marks the third World Cup appearance for Vancouver’s Conor Trainor, the sole BC player named to both the 2011 and 2019 squads. Trainor was also a part of Canada’s 2015 team alongside BC’s Phil Mack, Jake Ilnicki and Evan Olmstead who all received selections to the 2019 longlist. Mack and Ilnicki are coming off a second consecutive Major League Rugby Championship with the Seattle Seawolves alongside Nakai Penny.
Canada will play against Irish club Leinster Rugby in Hamilton, ON on August 24th, against the BC All Stars in Langford, BC on August 30th and against the USA in Vancouver, BC on September 7th in a series of warm-up matches to prepare for the World Cup.
“This next phase is where we really ramp up our preparations for the World Cup. We’ve got a strong group of players that can play several positions at a good level which bodes well for us,” Jones added. “With this team now, we’ve seen a bit of what they can do and these warm-up matches will really test us for what we’re going to face in Japan. We’ve got some tough challenges ahead of us but there’s a good energy in the team and we’ll come at it with everything we’ve got.”
Pre-Rugby World Cup:
Canada vs. Leinster
Tim Hortons Field – Hamilton, ON
Kick-off: 3pm ET/ 12pm PT
Canada vs BC All-Stars
August 30, 2019
Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
Kick-off: 9:30pm ET / 6:30pm PT
Canada vs. USA
BC Place – Vancouver, BC
Kick-off: 10pm ET/ 7pm PT
Rugby World Cup:
Canada vs. Italy
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium
Kick-off: 12:45 AM PST
Canada vs. New Zealand
Kick-off: 3:15 AM PST
Canada vs. South Africa
Kick-off: 3:15 AM PST
Canada vs. Namibia
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
Kick-off: 8:15 PM PST