Kingsley Jones Names 30 Player Squad for July Tests vs Wales and England
It’s an interesting selection, first of all two players who weren’t even on the extended list announced two weeks ago are now on the team. Lucas Albornoz and Reegan O’Gorman, both second rows, weren’t mentioned in the extended list but now find themselves in the tour squad. It could have to do with their recent MLR performances or the fact two established second row players, Evan Olmstead and Kyle Baillie, are now “Unavailable for Selection”.
The first surprise omission is Mason Flesch, even though Toronto play him at second row and blindside flanker, he’s really a potential international blindside flanker. He’s a little light, at this point in his development, he’s only 21, for a power second row. Kingsley Jones has gone all openside flankers in his loose forward selection so far, Lucas Rumball, Matt Heaton and Michael Smith. He’s likely waiting on the fitness of Corey Thomas of LA who can play blindside flanker and second row. There are two positions being left open.
Currently it looks like the props (5) are Djustice Sears-Duru, Liam Murray, Cole Keith, Tyler Rowland and Jake Ilnicki. No surprise there with Matt Tierney being injured.
Hookers (3) are Andrew Quattrin, Eric Howard and Foster Dewitt. Foster is truly a utility forward as he has also played prop and loose forward for Westshore in the BC Premier.
Second row (4) are Lucas Albornoz, Conor Keys, Reegan O’Gorman, Josh Larsen although Albornoz frequently was used at #8 by Burnaby in the BC Premier.
Loose forwards (3) are Matt Heaton, Michael Smith and Lucas Rumball. It’s almost a certainty that one of the extra two players TBA will be a loose forward.
Scrum halves (3) are Will Percillier, Ross Braude and Fraser Hurst. It should be a strength area for Canada moving forward.
Fly halves (2) are Peter Nelson and Will Kelly. Peter Nelson will likely start as #1 choice, continuing from the World Cup with Will Kelly as #2. Shane O’Leary wasn’t selected which may be a surpise to some. I’m not counting Rob Povey as #10 even though he is often used in that role by Houston, my bet is he’ll be used at fullback along with Pat Parfrey.
Centres (6), this is where it gets interesting as some will be used on the outside but generally all six are primarily used at centre by their clubs. Ben Lesage will certainly be the starting outside centre but who will be the distributor inside of him? Spencer Jones plays that position with Toronto, Quinn Ngawati was switched to that role by NY last match. Isaac Olsen played #12 for the Pride when Quinn Ngawati was #13. Interesting to note the back three on that Pride team are 3 capable players who weren’t named to the squad, Alex Russell, Thomas Isherwood and Brennig Prevost. The other centres are Doug Fraser and Lachlan Kratz. Both Fraser and Ngawati have been used on the wing by their MLR clubs. Lots of variations possible when the starting XV is announced.
Wingers (1), there’s only one specialist winger on the team in my opinion, someone with proven ability to finish on the outside, that’s Kainoa Lloyd. DTH, Hassler and Taylor Paris were the guys ahead of Lloyd on the depth chart at RWC 2019. DTH has retired, Paris is injured and Hassler is unknown status. It will be interesting to see who Kingsley utilizes on the outside against Wales and England.
Fullbacks (2), Pat Parfrey the sure handed veteran and Rob Povey the new kid who can also play #10. Fraser Hurst has also played fullback at the club level but is used at scrum half by Utah of the MLR.
There are a lot of key players not available, Tyler Ardron the big name, Evan Olmstead and Tyler Duguid. It’s good to see Nick Carson’s (UVic) name mentioned as he hasn’t been on any of the senior team lists to date.
from Rugby Canada
Head coach Kingsley Jones has named 30 players of a 32- man squad that will travel to the UK in July for two test matches against Wales and England. Two (2) spots on the roster remain unfilled pending fitness tests as players continue to return from injury. This will be the first action for the senior mens team since Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Canada will first play Wales on July 3rd at Principality Stadium in Cardiff. The following week on July 10th Canada will face England at Twickenham Stadium in London. Jones will use these games against two of the worlds top sides as preparation for upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification matches this Fall.
There is a heavy Major League Rugby (MLR) presence in the squad that features 25 players currently signed to MLR clubs. This includes 9 players from Canadas only MLR franchise the Toronto Arrows. Jones credits the continued growth and evolution of the league which provides a full-time professional training environment for Canadian players.
Jones said, The MLR is providing our players the opportunity to consistently train and play at a high level. We are very excited to assemble for the first time since our high-performance camp last November. Its been a massive undertaking in coordinating the logistics of assembling these players in a COVID-world, but we feel privileged and humbled to have the opportunity to play these critical Rugby World Cup qualification preparation matches.
Matt Heaton (Rugby ATL), Ben LeSage (Toronto Arrows), and Lucas Rumball (Toronto Arrows) have been named Captains for the July matches. Jones has selected 11 uncapped players to the squad including Foster DeWitt, Liam Murray, Reegan OGorman, Tyler Rowland, Michael Smith, Ross Braude, Fraser Hurst, Spencer Jones, Lachlan Kratz, Quinn Ngawati, and Isaac Olsen. There are 18 players in the national 7s program that have not been considered for selection as they focus on final Olympic preparation and selection.
Jones added, This is an outstanding opportunity for these young players to test themselves and perform against two very high-quality opponents. The July matches are critical for our team as we prepare for our long-term goal of Rugby World Cup qualification this Fall competing against USA and South American opponents.
The squad will assemble in a designated RFU venue in England where they will be based for the duration of the tour.
Canadian broadcast details will be announced at a later date.
CANADAS MENS RUGBY TEAMS 32 PLAYER TRAVELLING ROSTER:
Lucas Albornoz – Burnaby, BC – Houston SaberCats
Foster Dewitt – Courtenay, BC – RC National Development Academy
Matt Heaton – Godmanchester, QC – Rugby ATL
Eric Howard – Ottawa, ON – NOLA Gold
Jake Ilnicki – Williams Lake, BC – Seattle Seawolves
Cole Keith – Sussex, NB – Toronto Arrows
Conor Keys – Stittsville, ON – Rugby ATL
Josh Larson – Parksville, BC – New England Free Jacks
Liam Murray – Langley, BC – Houston SaberCats
Reegan O’Gorman – Vancouver, BC – Austin Gilgronis
Andrew Quattrin – Holland Landing, ON – Toronto Arrows
Tyler Rowland – Mississauga, ON – Toronto Arrows
Lucas Rumball – Scarborough, ON – Toronto Arrows
Djustice Sears-Duru – Oakville, ON – Seattle Seawolves
Michael Smith – White Rock, BC – San Diego Legion
Ross Braude – Pretoria, SA – Toronto Arrows
Cole Davis – Calgary, AB – Austin Gilgronis
Doug Fraser – Ladysmith, BC – Old Glory DC
Fraser Hurst – Vancouver, BC – Utah Warriors
Spencer Jones – Cambridge, NZ – Toronto Arrows
Will Kelly – Ancaster, ON – Toronto Arrows
Lachlan Kratz – Victoria, BC – NOLA Gold
Benjamin LeSage – Calgary, AB – Toronto Arrows
Kainoa Lloyd – Mississauga, ON – RC National Development Academy
Peter Nelson – Dungannon, UK – Mont de Mason
Quinn Ngawati – Victoria, BC – Rugby United New York
Patrick Parfrey – St. John’s, NL – Toronto Arrows
Will Percillier – Victoria, BC – Stade Francais
Robbie Povey – Calgary, AB – Houston SaberCats
Isaac Olsen – Victoria, BC – RC National Development Academy
Unavailable for selection:
Tyler Ardron, Castres Olympique
Kyle Bailey, NOLA Gold
Matt Beukeboom, Bourg-en-Bresse
Luke Campbell, Old Glory DC
Nick Carson, University of Victoria
Tyler Duguid, Montpellier
Evan Olmstead, Biarritz Olympique
Lindsey Stevens, LA Giltinis
Matt Tierney, Castres Olympique