Friday, May 20, 2011

Canada Squad confirmed for Churchill Cup


North American powerhouses, Canada have confirmed a 26 man aquad for the up coming Churchill Cup tournament to be played in England. The squad includes a number of players who have been out of favor with national selectors and therefore looms as a final chance for players to impress beofre coach Kieran Crowley names his squad for Rugby World Cup 2011. In the 2010 Churchill Cup, hosted by the United States, Canada impressed in defeating Uruguay 48-6 and France A 33-27 en route to qualifying for the Cup Final against the England Saxons team. The list of fully professional players at the top level in England proved decisive in England defeating Canada 38-18 in the final. Canada, nonetheless, proved to be a competitive team and one loaded with young up and coming players.
The squad for 2011 is notable for featuring the return of Canada´s most famous and indeed best player, Jamie Cudmore who has been rested in recent years in preference of developing young players and also to keep him on good terms with his club, Clermont. But his place in the team remains to be seen as Clermont could well play in the Top 14 Final which would prevent Cudmore from representing Canada. The FInal takes place on June 4, the same day as Canada vs Italy A. A mere four days after facing Italy A, Canada will face Russia in a full IRB international match which looms as being too soon after the Top 14 final for Cudmore.

Other players returning to the Canadian squad include prop Scott Franklin for the first time since 2008. The cult figure of scrumhalf Ed Fairhurst, who has 44 test appearances for Canada, returns after missing Canada´s matches in recent years. Fellow Rugby World Cup 2007 veteran, Ryan Smith has a chance to confirm his spot in the Canadian Rugby World Cup squad as he is returning to take a place in the midfield after losing his place to European based players. Smith will have an uncapped centre alongside him in Sevens international, Conor Trainor who is in the side for the first time. Welsh based Matt Evans is also back in the squad after missing Canada´s November tour of Europe due to injury. Evans has been selected as a fullback rather than a flyhalf which makes Canada´s options interesting and potentially highly attacking.

The home of Canadian rugby on the internet, Rugby Canada (http://www.rugbycanada.ca/) listed four players as being injured / unavailable. They are backrowers Adam Kleeberger and Stan McKeen, winger Talyor Paris and centre Daniel van der Merwe. This means a number of players have been overlooked in a variety of positions. In the secondrow France based Josh Jackson has not been selected nor has former professional secondrower, Luke Tait. Props Kevin Tkachuk of Glasgow and Dan Pletch of Ontario have both missed out as have a number of impressive young backs from the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) who impressed in 2010 including Jamie McKenzie, Connor Braid, Sean Duke and Nick Blevins.


Churchill Cup Schedule

Saturday June 4 Canada vs Italy A, Northampton
Wednesday June 8 Canada vs Russia, Moseley

Saturday June 18 - Playoffs, Worcester
Following the Churchill Cup, Canada will face North American rivals, the United States in home and away matches on August 6 in Toronto and on August 13 in Denver, Colorado.

Canadian Squad
Hookers

Pat Riordan (BC Bears)
Ryan Hamilton (BC Bears)

Props

Scott Franklin (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Hubert Buydens (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Jason Marshall (BC Bears)
Tom Dolezel (Prairie Wolf Pack)

Second Row

Tyler Hoston (Plymouth Albion, England)
Brian Erichsen (BC Bears)
Jamie Cudmore (Clermont, France)

Back Row

Sean Michael Stephen (Plymouth Albion, England)
Jebb Sinclair (The Rock)
Nanyak Dala (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock)
Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion, England)

Scrum-halves

Sean White (BC Bears)
Ed Fairhurst (BC Bears)
Fly-halves

Nathan Hirayama (BC Bears)
Ander Monro (Ontario Blues)

Centres

Ryan Smith (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Conor Trainor (BC Bears)
Phil Mackenzie (Esher RFC, England)

Wings

Justin Mensah-Coker (BC Bears)
Ciaran Hearn (The Rock)

Fullbacks

James Pritchard (Bedford RFC, England)
Matt Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons, Wales)

With Thanks: www.rugbycanada.ca

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