RICHMOND HILL, ON – When Canada steps on the field in Charleston, South Carolina to face USA in their first of two Rugby World Cup Qualifiers, they will be doing so with history both on their side and against them.
The August 17th International Test Match is the 50th all-time meeting between the two North American rivals. Canada boasts a 36-12-1 record against the Americans, however the last time USA defeated Canada was four years earlier in the same venue under the same significant circumstances. Following the loss in South Carolina, Canada qualified for the pinnacle event in New Zealand with a 41-18 home victory at Ellerslie Rugby Park in Edmonton.
Canada’s Men gather today in Toronto to prepare for the upcoming tests against USA in South Carolina on August 17 and in Toronto on August 24. After a successful start to 2013, Canada looks to take the top North American seed at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.
Head coach Kieran Crowley has picked his 26-man roster which boasts a mix of World Cup veterans and players elevated through their performances this season.
Andrew Tiedemann, Tom Dolezel, Jason Marshall and Doug Wooldridge in the tight-and-loosehead prop positions will man Canada’s front-row. Saskatchewan’s Hubert Buydens, who recently signed a professional contract with Manawatu Turbos of the ITM Cup in New Zealand, is unavailable for national team duties.
The duo of BC’s Ryan Hamilton and Ontario’s Ray Barkwill will continue their duties in the qualifiers at hooker.
Canada’s Jamie Cudmore is set to return to Crowley’s second-row for the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The ASM Clermont Auvergne stalwart has 27 caps for Canada, including the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups. Beside Cudmore in the engine-room will be London Scottish forward Tyler Hotson and newly signed professional Jon Phelan of Lille Métropole Rugby.
Captain Aaron Carpenter leads a physical and athletic backrow along with Canada Sevens standouts John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron and Nanyak Dala. Currie Cup champion Jebb Sinclair of the London Irish also boasts the roster at either the backrow or lock positions.
Victoria and James Bay Athletic Association products, Sean White and Phil Mack have once again been selected at the scrumhalf.
At the flyhalf position, the trio of Nathan Hirayama, Liam Underwood and Harry Jones, who all saw game time during the five previous matches, will return to the lineup.
Having already seen action this year, Nick Blevins, Ciaran Hearn, Matt Evans and James Pritchard will again appear for Canada. 2011 Rugby World Cup standouts DTH Van Der Merwe and Phil Mackenzie, along with newly signed Osprey Jeff Hassler, are set to make their 2013 debuts after injuries held them out of the Pacific Nations Cup and Ireland matches.
Both Rugby World Cup Qualifying games against USA will be televised LIVE on TSN2, Rugby Canada’s Official Television provider.
We’re encouraging fans to support Canada’s Men’s and Women’s Teams by joining #REDNATION at www.rednationrugby.com and wearing RED at the August 24thMatch at BMO Field. Purchase your tickets here: http://goo.gl/CmXSyI
Follow @RugbyCanada on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RugbyCanada and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RugbyCanada while the team is on tour for up-to-the-minute information on the team.
Canada’s Roster for Rugby World Cup Qualifiers- (Club, CRC Team) Hometown
Tyler Ardron, (Ospreys/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Aaron Carpenter, Captain, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
Jamie Cudmore, (ASM Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
Matt Evans, (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Ryan Hamilton, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Jeff Hassler, (Ospreys/Prairie Wolf Pack) Okotoks, AB
Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack, (Uvic Vikes, BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Phil Mackenzie, (Sale Sharks) Oakville, ON
Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Jon Phelan, (Lille Métropole Rugby/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
James Pritchard, (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish) Fredericton, NB
Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Liam Underwood, (Queens University/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
DTH Van Der Merwe, (Glasgow Warriors) Regina, SK
Sean White, (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Doug Wooldridge, (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Kieran Crowley – Head Coach
Neil Barnes – Assistant Coach
Geraint John – Assistant Coach
Clive Griffiths – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Isabel Grondin – Therapist
Michael Cook – Therapist
Andy Evans – Strength and Conditioning
Dr. John Gillis – Team Doctor
Gareth Rees – National Team Manager
Bryan Kelly – Media Coordinator