Canada November Tour 2016

October 27 2016

Connor Braid - Canada

Anscombe Names 28 for November Tour to Face Ireland, Romania and Samoa

posted Oct 27 2016
[ed. comments below]

Anscombe has named the team he's taking to Europe for the November tour starting Nov 12th in Ireland. If you break down the squad by where they play, there's 16 domestic players, 12 playing overseas. Further breaking down the 16 domestic players, 12 are currently playing in BC. Looking at the 12 overseas players, 5 are playing for clubs in the top leagues and of those 5 only 2 are starting on a regular basis, Evan Olmstead with Newcastle and DTH with Scarlets. The props Jake Ilnicki with Manawatu, Djustice with Glasgow and Matt Tierney with Pau have had intermittent appearances with the top squad this season.

It's going to be a tall order to compete against a team like Ireland, Canada could have used the services of Jebb Sinclair, Tyler Ardron and Jamie Cudmore who are currently on the injured list. The Romania game will be the jewel of the tour in terms of measuring this team against previous Canadian teams. Romania sit two ranking spots and about 4.2 ranking points above Canada. Canada lost to Romania by 2 points at the World Cup in 2015, lost by 9 points in 2014, lost by 1 point in 2013, overall they have a 2-4 record against Romania. So this match result will be a good benchmark of where the Canada program is heading, a win will be an improvement, a close loss will be the status quo and a blowout loss will be trouble. Samoa will be another good test Canada losing the last matches by 1, 10 and 30 over the last 4 years.

A few other observations about the squad, Connor Braid and Phil Mack, two guys who stepped away from international rugby have been brought back into the fold for the tour. Phil announced his retirement from the 7s squad but left the door open for XVs, Braid has only played club rugby at James Bay recently (not the BC Bears or the CRC) but is still one of the best backline players domestically. He can cover any of the backline positions from #10 to #15.

Interesting to note that Rugby Canada have removed any club references to the PRO Rugby North America league. Barkwill, Buydens, Baillie, Blevins, Mackenzie all had their PRO Rugby teams mentioned in June for the summer tests. I'm hearing talks between Rugby Canada and PRO Rugby have stalled and RC are again going to put their faith in the CRC, so this omission may be another indication of the rift developing there.

It didn't seem too long ago that Canada had an abundance of loose forwards when Adam Kleeberger, Chauncey O'Toole, Nanyak Dala, Aaron Carpenter were battling it out for the starting position. That was the 2011 World Cup. Kleeberger and O'Toole have retired, Dala is still active but injured and Carpenter will be turning 34 in a few months but may still get the start because there's no one pushing him. When you add Clay Panga in the loose forward mix with Carpenter you have an average age coming up on 33. There's a real need for young loose forwards to step up in Canada. Lucas Rumball and Matt Heaton are the two young guns who will be tested on this tour and how they perform will be an important factor.

The leaders on the team in terms of professional performance would be Olmstead and DTH, they are playing well at the top level. Taylor Paris and Ciaran Hearn have returned from injury and are class players, Trainor is playing well in the French D2 with Vannes. Matt Evans is reliable at the back and it will be exciting to see what Connor Braid can do on his return to top level, also Ben LeSage who was the best back on the Uruguay tour. Canada should have a solid backline, especially when compared to a team like Romania. The key is how the forwards will match up against Romania and Samoa.

A final observation is that the coaching team is getting slightly more Canadian with at least assistant coaches having worked in Canada for a few years as Graeme Moffat and Mike Shelley are back in the mix. Paul Feeney the backs coach flown in from Auckland isn't on the list.

We'll see how it goes and we'll look at having the matches archived in the members area for viewing if possible.

Rugby Canada media release

LANGFORD — 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’s November Tour Roster (Name, Club, Roster):

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
Patrick Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Lucas Rumball – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
Djustice Sears Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (RC Vannes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
DTH van Der Merwe – (Scarlets) Victoria, BC

Unavailable for selection:

Tyler Ardron – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Hubert Buydens – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Jamie Cudmore – (Oyonnax) Squamish, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Kyle Gilmour – (St. Albert RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Okotoks, AB
Jamie Mackenzie - (UBCOB Ravens/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Phil Mackenzie – (Unattached/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
Dan Moor – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Cam Pierce – (Section Paloise/Kelowna Crows) Vernon, BC
Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
Andrew Tiedemann – (Bourgoin/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Jordan Wilson-Ross - (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Alliston, ON

Men’s Coaching Staff:

Mark Anscombe – Head Coach
Graeme Moffat – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Scrum Coach
Aaron Takel – Performance Analyst
Michael Deasy – Strength and Conditioning Mallory White – Physiotherapist
Jessica Smith – Physiotherapist
Dr. Peet Du Toit – Doctor
Mark Winokur – Tour Manager
Alana Gattinger – Operations & Logistics Manager

Canada’s November Tour Schedule:

Canada vs. Ireland — Nov. 12 — Aviva Stadium, Dublin — 2:15pm ET/11:15am PT
Canada vs. Romania — Nov. 19 — Stadionul Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest — 1pm ET/10am PT
Canada vs. Samoa — Nov. 25 —Stade des Alpes, Grenoble — 3pm ET/12pm PT

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