Saturday, June 9, 2012

Canada vs USA Preview

The highly anticpated battle of North America will be played this afternoon in Kingston, Ontario as Canada look to build on its impressive results vs the United States of America in 2011. Despite not looking significantly better, if at all, Canada managed to impress where it counts most, on the scoresheet, in winning the two tests by scores of 28-22 and 27-7. Today´ match, however, is a whole new scenario as both teams have seen significant changes to the player squads. Canada has a new captain with backrower Aaron Carpenter taking over from Pat Riordan who has retired. He will be joined by Andrew Tiedermann rather than Jason Marshall in the frontrow while Brett Beukebom and Tyler Hotson form a new secondrow with Jebb Sinclair on the bench for this clash and Jamie Cudmore supposed to be in action in Paris for the Top 14 Final, also being played today. He missed out in a tryless match last weekend as Clermont lost to Toulon. The case of Sinclair is interesting as he is seemingly being rested in favor of the test vs Italy next Friday. His Beardo colleague from the World Cup, Adam Kleeberger misses out due to injury giving the impressive Nanyak Dala an opportunity. Canada also has been forced into changes in the backline with Ciarn Hearn and Sean Duke starting on the wings this sees the talented Phil MacKenzie named on the bench. Matt Evans moves from the back-three to flyhalf joining Sean White who replaces the Canadian icon, Ed Fairhurst at scrumhalf. James Pritchard, Mike Scholtz and DTH van der Merwe make up the team. 

Whle the changes for the USA are even more significant. Star winger Taku Ngwenya will not play as he has been rested for the fixture. This sees Luke Hume get an opportunity to shine. The New Yorker comes with a reputation for speed. He will join Chris Wyles and James Paterson in the backthree with the pair being two of the eleven players returning who played at Rugby World Cup 2011. Curiously of the four players who missed out on playing for the USA Eagles in New Zealand 2011, all are on test debut. To add further spice to the bold USA selections another four uncapped players have been named on the USA Eagles´ bench. The well respected centre pairing of Andrew Suniuka and Paul Emerick will continue their good work together from 2011 as will Mike Petri at scrumhalf but the problematic position of flyhalf has been an interesting move with the uncapped Will Holder set to start. This sees both Roland Suniula and Colin Hawley named on the bench despite both doing quite well at Rugby World Cup 2011.They will be jkoined by Shaun Davies, who will debut, as the third backs reserve. In the pack while the frontrow are all returning from action in New Zealand 2011 with Mike MacDonald playing his 66th cap, a US record, and being joined by Chris Biller and Eric Fry. The secondrow is a new one with the impressive backrower, Lou Stanfill moving one row forward and joining New York Athletic Club colleague Brian Doyle. The backrow will see Todd Clever again captain the team but he will do so wearing the 8 shirt rather than the seven. This will see the physical USA Sevens players, Andrew Durutalo start at 7 while Stade Français´ secondrower, Scott LaValla will start at blindside flanker.

History: There have been 47 tests between the two teams in history with Canada winning 34 of them. Of the 24 tests played in Canada, since the first in 1977, Canada has one 21 of the 24 matches. In contrast Canada has won 9 and lost seven of the tests played in the USA. The first ever test took place ni Burnaby Lake, BC in 1977 with Canada winning 17-6.

Key Match up: Aaron Carpenter vs Todd Clever will be very interesting as will Ryan Hamilton vs Chris Biller. The outside centre battle of DTH van der Merwe vs Paul Emerick will be key as the pair are both the leading attackers for their teams. The real clash of interest here, however, lies in the backline with Matt Evans vs Will Holder set to define how this match unfolds. The selection of both in the position is highly bold and suggests attacking rugby is on the menu

Prediction: Given Canada are at home it should be a Canadian win. However the young USA team should not be underestimated given the success of a number of players in the Rugby Sevens format.  Canada to win by 8 points.

Canada vs USA August 2011, Toronto, Ontario

USA vs Canada, August 2011, Glendale, Ontario

1 Hubert Buydens
2 Ryan Hamilton
3 Andrew Tiedemann
4 Brett Beukeboom
5 Tyler Hotson
6 Nanyak Dala
7 Chauncey O'Toole
8 Aaron Carpenter (Captain)
9 Sean White
10 Matt Evans
11 Ciaran Hearn
12 Mike Scholz
13 DTH Van der Merwe
14 Sean Duke
15 James Pritchard

16 Jason Marshall
17 Tom Dolezel
18 Jebb Sinclair
19 Tyler Ardron
20 Kyle Armstrong
21 Phil Mackenzie
22 Jeff Hassler

1 Mike MacDonald
2 Chris Biller
3 Eric Fry
4 Louis Stanfill
5 Brian Doyle
6 Scott Lavalla
7 Andrew Durutalo
8 Todd Clever (Captain)
9 Mike Petri
10 Will Holder
11 Luke Hume
12 Andrew Suniula
13 Paul Emerick
14 James Paterson
15 Chris Wyles

16 Derek Asbun 
17 Shawn Pittman
18 Tom Katzfey
19 Taylor Mokate
20 Shaun Davies
21 Roland Suniula
22 Colin Hawley

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