Canada head coach Kieran Crowley has announced his starting roster for the 50th all-time match against USA on Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina to open the home-and-home Rugby World Cup Qualifying series.
Saturday’s match will be broadcast live at 6:30pm ET/3:30pm ET from Blackbaud Stadium on TSN2, Rugby Canada’s Official Broadcast Partner.
Crowley is confident in his side for Saturday, despite a number of difficult decisions surrounding a wealth of skilled and experienced international players.
“The positive thing about our team right now is that there’s a lot of pressure for selection and there’s debate around a number of positions. We feel that is the best team to run out on the field for us on Saturday,” said Crowley following the final training session in Oakville, Ontario before departing for Charleston.
“The only guys that weren’t considered due to injury were Liam Underwood, who’s not quite 100%, Conor Trainor (returning from a broken ankle) and, of course, Jeff Hassler,” Crowley added.
Lakefield, Ontario’s Tyler Ardron recently signed with the Ospreys in Wales, but was released for the qualifying series against USA. Ardron agreed with his coach’s thoughts on the team’s progression.
“Everybody is looking good. We’re all coming in from different pre-season camps and from other areas across Canada and over the last few days in Oakville we’ve worked hard to get in the same mindset. We’re all working towards the same goal,” said Ardron from Ontario.
Despite not having lost to USA since 2009, and having defeated USA 16-9 in May at Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton, the 6’5 openside flanker knows it’s important to not underestimate your opponent.
“On Saturday in Charleston and at BMO Field on the 24th we’re preparing for a better team than we’ve seen in the past few years and they will be using their home-crowd support to their advantage. We know they will bring a physical game and passion from the North American rivalry,” said Ardron.
“This game on Saturday is huge for us and we want to put a stamp on the series coming back home to Toronto. But, no matter the score line on Saturday, we’re preparing to play hard for both games and the job’s not complete until we’ve qualified for 2015,” Ardron added.
In the final huddle of Wednesday night’s practice at Appleby College, Crowley reminded his players to play hard on the weekend, but also to enjoy the opportunity. As someone who appeared in 19 test matches for the All Blacks, including during their 1987 World Cup winning campaign, he understands the feeling of playing in important games.
“You’ve got to enjoy what you do. Canada and USA have a great rivalry and there’s always a lot of intensity around the event. But you’ve got to be careful you don’t go over the top and try to keep the game in perspective,” said Crowley.
“Part of that is backing your skills and to be able to go out on the field and enjoy the occasion.”
Canada’s Roster for Rugby World Cup Qualifier in Charleston, SC - (Club, CRC Team) Hometown
1- Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
2- Ryan Hamilton, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
3- Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
4- Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish) Fredericton, NB
5- Jamie Cudmore, (ASM Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
6- Tyler Ardron, (Ospreys/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
7- John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8- Aaron Carpenter, Captain, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
9- Phil Mack, (Uvic Vikes/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10- Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
11- DTH Van Der Merwe, (Glasgow Warriors) Regina, SK
12- Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13- Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
14- Matt Evans, (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
15- James Pritchard, (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
16- Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
17- Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
18- Doug Wooldridge, (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19- Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish) Vancouver, BC
20- Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
21- Sean White, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22- Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
23- Phil Mackenzie, (Sale Sharks) Oakville, ON
Submitted by Rugby Canada