Kingsley Jones Names 31 Player RWC Squad - 17 Forwards and 14 Backs
Kingsley Jones announced his 31 players for the World Cup and perhaps the biggest surprise is the omission of Theo Sauder. He has been one of the few players to bring an X factor to the team with the ability to turn a counter attack into points from a back three position. Sauders recent return from injury may have been a factor as his last test was March 8th 2019 when he started at fullback against the USA, Canada narrowly lost that match 30-25.
Canada have gone with 5 props, 3 hookers, 6 loose forwards, 3 second row in the forwards and 3 scrumhalfs, 2 flyhalfs, 4 centres, 5 back three players in the backs. Although there are a number of players who can shift between positions.
Jones has gone with veterans over youth in his selections which has been his model since starting his role with Canada. Three of the four centres are in the 30 year range Hearn (33), Blevins (30), Trainor (29) - LeSage at 23 is one of the younger players on the team, along with Andrew Coe, Andrew Quattrin, Matt Tierney and Conor Keys. Cole Keith at 22 is the youngest player.
Buydens at 37 may be the oldest on the team but there are plenty of 30+ players like DTH (33), Baillie (31), Mack (33), McRorie (31), Mackenzie (30), Piffero (32), Sheppard (30).
In comparison, Namibia, which will be the game Canada targets for at least one win, has 8 players in their 30s with the oldest at 35, their 2nd row PJ van Lill. They have three 21 years olds and three 22 year olds. Italy, another match Canada will hope for a positive result, although at long odds, have 8 players in their 30s with the oldest player being Sergio Parisse at 36. They have two players at 23 as their youngest.
There are two 19 year olds in the tournament so far in the 31 player squads named, Australia with one wing and Georgia with one hooker.
It's interesting to look at the age distribution for other 31 player rosters declared so far.
Ireland have 10 30+ players, youngest is 22.
Japan have 13 30+ players, youngest is 23.
Samoa have 14 players 30+, youngest is 23.
Scotland have 9 30+ players, youngest is 22.
Russia has 15 30+ players, youngest is 24.
Canada have 10 30+ players, youngest is 22.
Italy have 8 30+ players, youngest is 21.
Namibia have 8 30+ players, youngest is 21.
NZ have 9 30+ players, youngest is 22.
South Africa have 7 30+ players, youngest is 23
Argentina have 8 30+ players, youngest is 21
England have 4 30+ players, youngest is 21
France have 10 30+ players, youngest is 20
Tonga have 14 30+ players, youngest is 23
Australia have 10 30+ players, youngest is 19
Fiji have 13 30+ players, youngest is 21
Georgia have 9 30+ players, youngest is 19.
Uruguay have 6 30+ players, youngest is 21
Wales have 7 30+ players, youngest is 21.
The team with the most 30+ veterans, Russia at 15, the team with the least England at 4. Uruguay have an interesting age profile as Tier 2 nations seem to rely heavily on their 30+ veterans, Uruguay only have 6 30+ veterans plus have 3 21 year olds, 4 22 years olds, 4 23 year olds.
Canada’s 2019 Rugby World Cup Roster:
Tyler Ardron (Lakefield, ON) Chiefs 'C'
Kyle Baillie (Summerside, PEI) New Orleans Gold
Justin Blanchet (Montreal, QC) Unattached
Nick Blevins (Calgary, AB) Calgary Hornets
Hubert Buydens (Saskatoon, SK) Unattached
Luke Campbell (Victoria, BC) Toronto Arrows / JBAA
Andrew Coe (Markham, ON) Markham Irish
Jeff Hassler (Okotoks, AB) Seattle Seawolves
Ciaran Hearn (Conception Bay South, NL) Unattached
Matt Heaton (Godmanchester, QC) Rugby ATL
Eric Howard (Ottawa, ON) New Orleans Gold
Jake Ilnicki (Williams Lake, BC) Seattle Seawolves
Cole Keith (Sussex, NB) Toronto Arrows
Conor Keys (Stittsville, ON) Unattached
Ben LeSage (Calgary, AB) Calgary Canucks
Phil Mack (Victoria, BC) Seattle Seawolves
Jamie Mackenzie (Oakville, ON) Toronto Arrows
Gordon McRorie (Calgary, AB) Calgary Hornets
Peter Nelson (Dungannon, UK) Unattached
Shane O'Leary (Cambellton, NB) Nottingham Rugby
Evan Olmstead (Vancouver, BC) Unattached
Patrick Parfrey (St. John's, NL) Toronto Arrows
Taylor Paris (Barrie, ON) Castres Olympiques
Benoit Piffero (Issoire, France) Blagnac SCR
Andrew Quattrin (Holland Landing, ON) Toronto Arrows
Lucas Rumball (Scarborough, ON) Toronto Arrows
Djustice Sears-Duru (Oakville, ON) Seattle Seawolves
Mike Sheppard (Brampton, ON) Toronto Arrows
Matthew Tierney (Oakville, ON) Castres Olympiques
Conor Trainor (Vancouver, BC) USON Nevers
DTH van der Merwe (Regina, SK) Glasgow Warriors from Rugby Canada
The 2019 Canadian squad is mix of veteran and young talent with players travelling back from various global leagues to prepare for RWC with the national team. The team is captained by talented forward Tyler Ardron who plays professionally in New Zealand with the Chiefs in the prestigious Super Rugby competition. Ardron made his debut for Canada in 2012. Veteran, and prolific try-scoring winger DTH van der Merwe, who plays professionally for Glasgow Warriors in the Pro14, will be making his fourth appearance at a Rugby World Cup. The roster consists of players who play both internationally and domestically, many from the newly formed Major League Rugby here in North America. In all, the squad features 17 forwards and 14 backs.
“It’s been a really tough selection but that’s what we wanted. The players made it difficult for us due to their commitment, and efforts over the last 18 months. I’d like to sincerely thank them all,” said head coach Kingsley Jones. “It’s always a challenge for coaches to find the right mix to be competitive as possible while also looking towards the future and ensuring we are in good position for 2023, and we feel we’ve achieved that. With only 10 months of preparation, it can of course be challenging - but the group is in a good space, and have met that challenge head on.
“Looking forward,” continued Jones, “there’s been a huge improvement and emphasis on development in the under 20 group and we saw the emergence of some really impressive young talent who will stay on our radar. We’re heading in the right direction not only for this World Cup but looking on to next one, particularly with the pool of young guys we’ve got coming through the age grade systems and sevens program.
No. 21 ranked Canada was the final nation to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with wins over Kenya, Germany, and Hong Kong in a 4-team repechage tournament that took place in November 2018 in Marseille, France.
Canada have participated in every Rugby World Cup since the tournament began in 1987, with their highest finish coming in the 1991 Rugby World Cup where they reached the quarterfinals. Canada and Japan are the only Tier 2 rugby nations to have taken part in every edition of the Rugby World Cup.
Canada, who have been drawn in Pool B, will get underway on Thursday, September 26th in Fukuoka City against No. 13 ranked Italy. They will go on to play No. 1 ranked and defending RWC Champions New Zealand on Wednesday, October 2nd; then No. 5 ranked South Africa on Tuesday, October 8th, and then wrap up their Pool play on Sunday October 13th against No. 23 ranked Namibia.
“On behalf of the entire Rugby Canada family, I’d like to congratulate this group of players on being selected to represent Canada on the worlds’ largest rugby stage. I also want to thank all of the players who have committed significant time and resources to be part of this exhaustive and challenging selection process,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada. “We wish this talented group of players the very best of luck this coming weekend in Vancouver, and look forward to cheering them on as they compete among the best rugby nations in the world in Japan later this month.”
In their final pre-World Cup match, the Canadian men will be taking on fellow RWC participants, USA Eagles at 7pm PT on Saturday, September 7th, at BC Place Stadium. Tickets, beginning at $20.00 for General Admission, are still available and can be purchased HERE. For fans across Canada, the match will be broadcast live on TSN 1 and 4, and streamed via tsn.ca and the TSN app.
Rugby World Cup Schedule:
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)
Note: A broadcast deal is being finalized by World Rugby for the Canadian coverage of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and information will be released once completed.