Saturday, July 3, 2010

Famous Faces Abroad - Canadians in England

There will be a number of Canadian international players playing professionally in England this season in the RFU Championship. Canada´s absence from the Guinness Premiership can be more than made up for by its sizeable list of players in the RFU Championship.

Canadian fullback, James Pritchard will be playing his sixth season for the Bedford Blues. Pritchard was Canada´s left wing at Rugby World Cup 2007. Currently out of favour with the Canadian national team, Pritchard will be looking to perform well to secure his ticket to Rugby World Cup 2011.

Coventry have two Canadian test players in their player roster. Canadian backrower Aaron Carpenter who has played 29 tests including 4 at Rugby World Cup 2007, and centre / wing Phil MacKenzie who has played 3 tests for Canada since debuting in 1998 vs Portugal. Coventry also have Barbados winger, Kurt Johnson who is the only professional rugby player to have represented the Caribbean country of Barbados. In a post match interview following the Churchill Cup final Carpenter had positive comments to say about rugby in Brazil and Canada.

Moseley is home to two Canadians: winger Justin Mensah-Coker and centre Bryn Keys. Mensah-Cooker was part of the Canadian team at Rugby World Cup 2007 and has played 20 tests since debuting in 2006. Keys has represented Canada in 8 tests since 2008 but was not part of the team in the Churchill Cup. Neither players place is secure at New Zealand 2011 so a strong season is needed from both players for Moseley.

Plymouth Albion is home to two Canadians: second-rower Tyler Hotson and backrower Sean-Michael Stephen. Hotson has played 14 tests for Canada since debuting vs the USA in 2008. He is another who played in this years Churchill Cup. Sean-Michael Stephen was Canada´s first choice 8 at Rugby World Cup 2007 but has since been overlooked by national selectors. His last test was vs Wales in June 2009. He needs an impressive 2010-2011 season to add to his three Rugby World Cup tests.

Finally, Canadian backrower, Adam Kleeberger will be playing his second season for the Rotheram Titans. Kleeberger is one of Canada´s best backrowers. He has played 23 tests for Canada and was a member of the Canadian team at Rugby World Cup 2007.

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