Rugby Canada Finalize Pre-World Cup Buildup with Match at BC Place vs USA: A Look at the Probables and Possibles for Canada Squad
Canada have finalized their pre-World Cup buildup with matches vs Leinster in Hamilton on August 24th and then 2 weeks later at BC Place on September 7th. Nineteen days later they kickoff at the World Cup vs Italy.
Canada start their preparations with three matches in the Pacific Nations Cup starting July 27th in Glendale against USA. They then have two matches in Fiji versus Fiji and Tonga.
Several countries have already named their World Cup training squads, Wales named 42 players over two weeks ago. France named a 65 player Preliminary Squad two days ago. A week ago Scotland named 42 players for their training squad with a twist, coach Gregor Townshend has added two spots to be filled by club players who impress during the final weeks of league play.
In 2011 Kieran Crowley named a 50 man provisional squad in June for the RWC 2011. In 2015 Crowley assembled 36 players at Shawnigan prior to the PNC. It will be interesting to see if and when Kingsley Jones announces a training squad and how wide will the net be cast. Based on previous form Jones has been fairly conservative in his selections and stuck with players he knows and trusts.
Looking at the RWCQ in November gives a good idea of who Jones trusts for the World Cup. Hubert Buydens, Tyler Ardron, Evan Olmstead, Phil Mack, DTH have to be the core of high performance veterans. Players like Rumball, Baillie, Sheppard, Blevins, Hearn all looking good, Ben Lesage has been a go to centre even though not playing in the MLR. Ray Barkwill retired so Eric Howard seems a certainty at hooker. The other props besides Buydens - Djustice, Tierney, Ilnicki, perhaps Noah Barker and Cole Keith who played in the ARC matches. At #10 McRorie was the starter in November, Parfrey in the ARC but what about Shane O'Leary? Theo Sauder and Taylor Paris high performance backline players that Jones trusts and selected at the RWCQ. Matt Heaton - will he keep his spot as reserve Flanker used in the RWCQ?
It brings up questions about players like the Larsen brothers, Brock Staller who is leading scorer in the MLR, Nakai Penny who has earned a starting spot with the Seawolves, do they have a shot at the final 31 going to the World Cup. Then a couple of BC Premier players who have been outstanding, Aaron McLelland in the backs and Chris Taylor in the front row, will they get a chance to participate in the larger training squad and make their case?
Lots of questions but in the end will the RWC squad look much different from the 23 that started the last RWCQ against Hong Kong?
15 FB Theo Sauder
14 W Taylor Paris
13 C Ben LeSage
12 C Ciaran Hearn
11 W DTH van der Merwe
10 FH Gordon McRorie
9 SH Phil Mack (c)
1 P Hubert Buydens
2 H Ray Barkwill (retired)
3 P Matt Tierney
4 L Mike Sheppard
5 L Evan Olmstead
6 F Kyle Baillie
7 F Lucas Rumball
8 N8 Tyler Ardron
16 H Eric Howard
17 P Djustice Sears-Duru
18 P Jake Ilnicki
19 L Brett Beukeboom
20 F Matt Heaton
21 SH Jamie Mackenzie
22 C Nick Blevins
23 W Conor Trainor from Rugby Canada
CANADA TO TAKE ON RIVALS USA FOR LAST MATCH BEFORE THE 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP
VANCOUVER, BC (May 16, 2019) – Rugby Canada is delighted to announce that international rugby will return to British Columbia this Summer as Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team will host a second pre-Rugby World Cup match, presented by DHL, versus historical rivals the United Sates on September 7 at BC Place in Vancouver – kickoff will be 7:00pm PT. The team will play Irish Provincial Club Leinster on August 24 in Hamilton, as previously announced.
BC Place stadium is the home of the HSBC Canada Sevens, and also played host to a sold-out crowd of over 29,000 when Canada played the Maori All-Blacks in November, 2017. The venue will be set to a lower-bowl configuration for the match, and fans are encouraged to buy their tickets early to avoid missing out.
“This fixture is the final important step in our preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Canada have a long history playing against the USA. The Americans have had some good results of late, and they will provide a stern test prior to our departure for Japan three days later. The Canadian rugby community has continued to support our journey to the World Cup, and we are hoping to see another big rugby crowd in BC Place," said Kingsley Jones, Head Coach of Canada.
The USA are ranked 15th in the current World Rankings, sitting directly behind Italy, Canada’s first opponents at the Rugby World Cup in Japan on September 26.
“The last match prior to going to Rugby World Cup 2019 will be important for us to test all of our systems and preparations from the summer,” said Dave Hodges, USA Rugby’s General Manager of Men’s 15s Programs. “Canada’s improvement over the last year and that fact that it will be our 3rd time playing against our northern rivals should make for a fiercely contested game as both teams will want to finish on a positive note before getting on the plane to Japan.”
USA Rugby CEO, Ross Young added, "Very pleased to add a pre-tournament fixture ahead of the team’s departure for Japan. These two teams prove to bring out the best in each other’s competition over the years, so it sets up perfectly for a Rugby World Cup send-off challenge on the road.”
Members of the British Columbia and Canadian Rugby community will also have the opportunity to mix-and-mingle with the team, and support Canada’s journey to Japan, at a fundraising “Suits and Scrums” event on September 5th at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Vancouver.
“Rugby Canada is excited to bring international XV’s rugby back to Vancouver and BC Place on the Road to the Rugby World Cup, and we thank our presenting sponsor DHL for their support,” said Allen Vansen, Rugby Canada Chief Executive Officer.
“The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of our sport and it’s vitally important for us to properly send off our men’s team so that they know the entire Canadian Rugby and sporting community has their backs,” he added.
Tickets will go on-sale at 10:00am ET on May 29th via www.rugby.ca.
At the Rugby World Cup, Canada has been drawn into Pool B and will face Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Namibia between September 26 to October 13 in various locations around Japan.
Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team upcoming schedule:
Pacific Nations Cup:
Canada vs. USA
Infinity Park – Glendale, Colorado
Kick-off: 8pm ET/ 5pm PT
Canada vs. Fiji
ANZ Stadium – Suva, Fiji
Kick-off: 1:15am ET(Aug 4)/ 10:15pm PT
Canada vs. Tonga
Churchill Park – Lautoka, Fiji
Kick-off: 12am ET (August 10)/9pm PT
Pre-Rugby World Cup:
Canada vs. Leinster
Tim Hortons Field – Hamilton, ON
Kick-off: 3:00pm ET
Canada vs. USA
BC Place – Vancouver, BC
Kick-off: 7:00pm PT
Rugby World Cup:
Canada vs. Italy
Fukuoka Hakatanomori Stadium
Kick-off: 16:45pm local time (2:45am ET/11:45pm PT on Sep. 25)
Canada vs. New Zealand
Kick-off: 19:15pm local time (5:15am ET/2:15am PT)
Canada vs. South Africa
Kick-off: 19:15pm local time (5:15am ET/2:15am PT)
Canada vs. Namibia
Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium
Kick-off: 16:45pm local time (2:45am ET/11:45pm PT on Oct. 12)