Canada Name 43 Player Longlist for Pacific Nations Cup - One New Face from Ulster a Potential Flyhalf Candidate
The announcement came earlier than the Rugby Canada media department had predicted, perhaps the USA announcement last week had sped things along. With Bryan Kelly leaving the Rugby Canada media department there may be some temporary gaps to fill and a few knock-ons expected. Gareth Rees seems to have taken a lead on this with Kingsley Jones as their video interview (below) provided the most details, the write up by Bernadette Larose provided just the basics.
Perhaps the most interesting news is the new face, Peter Nelson, from Ulster. Described as a Utility Back, it was announced last month he wouldn't be returning to Ulster next season. The BBC article had this to say: "Back Peter Nelson will leave Ulster this summer after eight seasons with the province. Having made his debut against Leinster, Nelson landed the winning conversion against the same opposition in his final Ulster appearance last month... Nelson, who spent 14 months on the sidelines after suffering a foot injury in December 2015, earned 60 caps for the province. "His work ethic and resilience, particularly when coming back from some difficult injuries, are a great example to others, and he displayed no shortage of skill as well," said head coach Dan McFarland." He's listed in various articles as fullback, centre but also as #10. In Ulster's February 2019 win over Zebre, 54-7, Nelson played the full 80 at #10 and even scored a try. In terms of the professional level of competition at #10 he's already leading the pack, with Shane O'Leary playing a level down in English Tier 2 and McRorie and Parfrey both amateur players. It's a good find at a crucial time but expectations have to be tempered with past observations that drop-in professionals don't always enhance the team performance or even excel at their positions when playing at test level. Still it's another option at #10 or #15. Here's a video of him scoring from #15 in 2012 in the Ulster v Treviso match.
Next thing of interest is who is missing, Brock Staller's name stands out. All of the other Canadian players who suited up in Seattle's championship match, Mack, Hassler, Djustice, Ilnicki, Barton, Penny are in. What's the reason, some say defensive play, others point to a high risk decision making style, he's an exciting player and has been gold for the Seawolves. It doesn't appear injury concerns are a factor so at this point only Kingsley Jones and Brock Staller know the reasons. Another name missing is Theo Sauder but that is down to injury, a shoulder injury that won't see him ready until Aug/Sept. We wish him all the best and perhaps a rapid recovery will still see him in the mix for the World Cup.
It will be interesting to see the player management put in effect over the PNC as some of the top players have come off long professional seasons and the RWC is the real prize this year. Tyler Ardron has been named captain, does that mean he'll be used in all the PNC matches? Phil Mack will be a new father this summer/fall so will he be given some rest time after a strenuous MLR season. Is DTH needed for the PNC or should Moor, Lloyd, Hassler be given more playing time. Hassler definitely needs more playing time after dropping back into rugby for the last few weeks in a Seawolves jersey. All the upcoming matches, except the Leinster one, count for World Rugby ranking points and are against higher ranked teams so putting out a competitive side while managing the top players for peak performance at the World Cup will require some planning.
It should be an interesting buildup to the World Cup. Stay tuned!
Kingsley Jones interview by Gareth Rees
from Rugby Canada (Bernadette Larose)
LANGFORD, BC (June 18, 2019) - Head coach Kingsley Jones has named his 43-man longlist ahead of the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC), taking place from July 27-August 8th, 2019.
As part of Canada’s build to the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the PNC will be chance for the team to gain crucial test experience against the likes of USA, Fiji, and Tonga, while serving as a platform for players to showcase themselves in advance of the Rugby World Cup Canadian team selection.
“The PNC’s will be good preparation for us. It’s a great opportunity for guys to cement their place on that World Cup team but is also an opportunity for other guys to put their hand up and prove that their that right man to be selected,” said Jones.
The following list does not include players who are currently sidelined due to injury, or presently engaged with U20 and Sevens commitments. These players, however, remain in consideration for Canada’s final Rugby World Cup squad.
Canada’s Pacific Nations Cup Long List
Tyler Ardron- Chiefs/ Lakefield, ON (Captain) Kyle Baillie- New Orleans Gold/ Summerside, PEI Noah Barker- Glendale Raptors/ Courtenay, BC George Barton- Seattle Seawolves/ Duncan, BC Justin Blanchet- Unattached/ Montreal, QC Nick Blevins- Calgary Hornets/ Calgary, AB Rob Brouwer- Toronto Arrows/ Lindsay, ON Hubert Buydens- New Orleans Gold/ Saskatoon, SK Luke Campbell- JBAA / Toronto Arrows/ Victoria, BC Paul Ciulini- Toronto Arrows/ Toronto, ON Dustin Dobravsky- Castaway Wanderers/ Hanover, Germany Guiseppe du Toit- Toronto Arrows/ Maple Ridge, BC Andrew Ferguson- Toronto Arrows/ Mississauga, ON Doug Fraser- Austin Elite Rugby/ Ladysmith, BC Jeff Hassler- Seattle Seawolves/ Okotoks, AB Ciaran Hearn- Unattached/ Conception Bay South, NL Matt Heaton- Darlington Mowden Park/ Godmanchester, QC Eric Howard- New Orleans Gold/ Ottawa, ON Jake Ilnicki- Seattle Seawolves/ Williams Lake, BC Cole Keith- Toronto Arrows/ Sussex, NB Conor Keys- Unattached/ Stittsville, ON Josh Larsen- Austin Elite Rugby/ Parksville, BC Travis Larsen- Austin Elite Rugby/ Parksville, BC Ben LeSage- Calgary Canucks/ Calgary, AB Kainoa Lloyd- Toronto Arrows/ Mississauga, ON Phil Mack- Seattle Seawolves/ Victoria, BC (Vice Captain) Jamie Mackenzie- Toronto Arrows/ Oakville, ON Gordon McRorie- Calgary Hornets/ Calgary, AB Dan Moor- Toronto Arrows/ Toronto, ON Peter Nelson- Unattached/ Dungannon, UK Shane O'Leary- Nottingham Rugby/ Cambellton, NB Evan Olmstead- Unattached/ Vancouver, BC Patrick Parfrey- Toronto Arrows/ St. John's, NL Taylor Paris- Castres Olympiques/ Barrie, ON Nakai Penny- Seattle Seawolves/ Penticton, BC Benoit Piffero- Blagnac SCR/ Issoire, France Andrew Quattrin- Toronto Arrows/ Holland Landing, ON Lucas Rumball- Toronto Arrows/ Scarborough, ON (Vice Captain) Djustice Sears-Duru- Seattle Seawolves/ Oakville, ON Mike Sheppard- Toronto Arrows/ Brampton, ON Matt Tierney- Unattached/ Oakville, ON Conor Trainor- USON Nevers/ Vancouver, BC DTH van der Merwe- Glasgow Warriors/ Regina, SK
Canada's Pacific Nations Cup Schedule:
Canada vs. USA July 27 Infinity Park – Glendale, Colorado Kick-off: 8pm ET/ 5pm PT Broadcast: TBC
Canada vs. Fiji August 2 ANZ Stadium – Suva, Fiji Kick-off: 1:15am ET(Aug 3)/ 10:15pm PT Broadcast: TBC
Canada vs. Tonga August 8 Churchill Park – Lautoka, Fiji Kick-off: 11pm ET /8pm PT Broadcast: TBC