Friday, July 9, 2010

Famous Faces Abroad - Canadians in France

The 2010-2011 French club rugby season will feature three Canadian test rugby internationals. All three players are in contention for a place at Rugby World Cup 2011 and all are forwards. With Rugby World Cup 2011 fast approaching it is going to be a season demanding good form from all three.

Canada´s best forward is a French club champion. After five years of service for central France´s ASM Clermont, Jamie Cudmore became a champion in May 2010 when ASM defeated Perpignan to win its first ever Top 14 title. Cudmore was a key player for Clermont in the final and has been ever since he arrived at the club. Capable of playing at the elite level as either a second-rower or a back-rower, Cudmore has earned a great deal of respect in France where he is highly regarded. Cudmore, however, is a no-nonsense rugby player who has been known to lose his cool. He debuted for Canada in 2002 vs the USA but last played a test vs Fiji in Rugby World Cup 2007. He has not been selected in 2008-2010 possibly in favor of giving younger players a chance or possibly because of his ill-discipline. He should be selected as Canada´s first choice player for the number 4 shirt at New Zealand 2011 and will again be a player to look out for this season for Clermont.

Versatile Joshua Jackson will be playing another season in France. Like Cudmore, Union Bordeaux Bègles´s Jackson is capable of playing in the secondrow or backrow. He has been playing for the Bordeaux club since 2006 and previously played for Stade Bordelais before the merger of clubs in Bordeaux. Jackson has played 20 tests for Canada since debuting vs Uruguay in 2003. his most recent appearance was vs Japan in November 2009. Jackson went ot both Rugby World Cup 2003 and 2007 and is a contender for the 2011 Canadian squad. he will need a strong season to secure his place in the team.

Canadian test second-rower, Luke Tait, is the only player in the most recent Canadian test squad - that picked for the 2010 Churchill Cup. Tait plays for Mont de Marsan in the pro d2. He has been there since 2007 and has experienced one season in the Top 14 and th remainder in the pro d2. Before arriving at Mont de Marsan, Tait had previously played for Wales´s two best teams the Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys and also Italy´s Rugby Parma. Tait has played 17 tests for Canada, most recently vs Uruguay in the Churchill Cup. He debuted for Canada in 2005 vs the USA and played in 3 of Canada´s 4 matches at Rugby World Cup 2007. Tait is close to being a certainly for Rugby World Cup 2011 and could very well for a second-row combination with Jamie Cudmore.

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