Thursday, November 11, 2010

Spain vs Canada - Preview

Following Canada´s impressive 43-12 win over Belgium in the European Union capital of Brussels on Saturday, the Canadians have been in Madrid preparing to take on Rugby World Cup 1999 competitors, Spain in the first ever international match between the two countries. It is the first international match for Spain since the European Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup Qualifiers in February and March. Spain played five matches defeating Germany 21-17 but losing the other four to Georiga, Portugal, Romania and Russia.

Remarkably, Spain hosted World Champions Australia in 2000 but have never played Canada. The win in Belgium was successful for Canada mainly for the reason that they did not field their first XV, rather it was an opportunity for the best Canadian based players as the European based professionals were unavaliable due to the IRB test window which opens this coming weekend.

Lots of professional players have returned for the Spanish mission but Canada are still not going to field their strongest XV. It seems the match vs Georgia has been underlined as the most important of the tour. For Spain, there have been four players retained and four changes in the forwards including prop Dan Pletch starting at loose-head, Josh Jackson and Tyler Hotson forming a new secondrow and Canada´s strong point of the backrow will see Aaron Carpender joining Chauncey O'Toole and Adam Kleeberger to form what should be the backrow at next years Rugby World Cup.

In the backs, Ander Monro will start in place of the injured Nathan Hirayama who has been ruled out of the remainder of the tour. Monro´s inclusion is a surprize with the Welsh based Matt Evans left out of the 22 altogether. Monro will pair up with BC Bears scrumhalf, Sean White in the halves. New blood will fill the midfield with Phil Mackenzie starting at inside centre at the on fire DTH van der Merwe wearing the 13 jersey. van der Merwe is the second top try scorer this season in the Magners League having scored five tries in seven games for the Glasgow Warriors. The Canadian back three sees James Pritchard start at fullback, while The Rock's Ciaran Hearn will work with first year man - 18 year old Taylor Paris, who notches his second straight test appearance.

Prediction: Canada should be too good for Spain in the backs and should be faster to the breakdown. This should see the Canadians scoring more points in the second half than the first. Canada to win by 35 points.

15. James Pritchard (Bedford Blues, England)
14. Taylor Paris (Ontario Blues)
13. DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
12. Phillip Mackenzie (Esher RFC, England)
11. Ciaran Hearn (The Rock)
10. Ander Monro (Ontario Blues)
9. Sean White (BC Bears)
8. Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion, England)
7. Adam Kleeberger (Auckland, New Zealand)
6. Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock)
5. Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion, England)
4. Josh Jackson (Stade Montois, France)
3. Jason Marshall (BC Bears)
2. Pat Riordan (BC Bears)
1. Dan Pletch (Ontario Blues)

Reserves: 16. Tom Dolezel (Prairie Wolf Pack) 17. Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) 18. Jon Phelan (The Rock) 19. Jebb Sinclair (The Rock) 20 Sean Michael Stephen (Plymouth Albion, England) 21. Jamie Mackenzie (Ontario Blues) 22. Justin Mensah-Coker (Unattached)

With Thanks

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