Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 with an eye to 2015 - Canada´s Brett Beukeboom

Canada had a good World Cup in 2011. The North Americans played well in three out of four pool matches to exit the tournament at the group stage with one win, one draw and two loses. Before the World Cup had begun there had been suggestions that Canada would finish bottom of the pool but, instead, Canada did what it needed to do to finish third. Canada defeated Tonga to open the tournament then pushed France, drew with Japan and lost heavily against hosts New Zealand due, in part, to having to play the All Blacks four days after facing Japan. In the engine room for the Canadians was a secondrow combination of Jamie Cudmore and Jebb Sinclair, Canada´s most notable players based in France and England. They played as a the combination despite both actually being natural backrowers. Canada simply had an oversupply of talented players in the backrow and few in the secondrow. Conversely in 2007 Cudmore played in the backrow due to the team then being short of players in the backrow but quality players in the secondrow - Mike James, Luke Tait and Colin Yukes. 

Cudmore at 1.98m is tall enough but Sinclair at 1.93m is, indeed a backrower who can cover secondrow rather than be a specialist. At the World Cup the pair were supported mainly by Tylor Hotson a player based in England playing for second division side London Scottish. He is now aged 27 and likely to be in the mix for 2015 unlike Cudmore who will turn 37 shortly before the start of the 2015 tournament. Cudmore could play but there certainly remains uncertainty surrounding the possibility. Sinclair, on the other hand will certainly feature, but this time in the backrow and he will be 29 years old. Sinclair has demonstrated in England and South Africa that he is a very talented backrower and his skills will, no doubt, best serve Canada on the side of the scrum, possibly in combination with Chauncey O´Toole and Aaron Carpenter. 

The preperation for 2015 is well underway. Canada´s November test matches in Colwyn Bay, Northern Wales featured a host of players who were not key components of Canada´s Worl dCup efforts in 2011. The secondrow that faced Samoa was Hotson and Jon Phelan while covering them on the bench was the young Brett Beukeboom. He featured in the match from the bench in what was his third test cap. His other two came in June 2012 with his first being against the USA. He started in the secondrow with Hotson in what could well be the combination that takes the field come 2015. Like Hotson, Beukeboom plays his rugby in England. He was signed by Plymouth Albion last August, joining Canadian captain Carpenter and former backrower Sean-Michael Stephen. 

Standing at 1.96m Beukeboom is another hybrid secondrower-backrower that appears to have a long international career ahead of him. His name should become more familiar over the coming years and he looms as not only a starting play in 2015 but one to keep a close eye on. His tackling technique is flawless, which if combined with Cudmore would give Canada an unbreakable  secondrow pairing in the defensive line. Beukeboom also has good pace for a secondrower and has shown himself to be a good support carrier.  

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