For a country like Canada that remains defined as belonging to the second tier having an international player sign to play at the top level in New Zealand´s domestic professional competition should be a time for celebrations. Indeed Canada´s squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 was so slim in the professional department that only Clermont Auvergne´s Jamie Cudmore and the Glasgow Warriors´ DTH va der Merwe were contracted to elite professional teams in the season leading up to the tournament. But despite Hubert Buydens having signed a two year deal for the Manawatu Turbos in the Championship Division of the ITM Cup the first choice Canadian loosehead prop will now miss out on playing for Canada in August.
With the home and away Rugby World Cup Qualification matches between Canada and the USA fast approaching Canada will have to find an alternative to Buydens for the number one shirt. His contract with the North Island province is such that he had to make the tough decision of playing in the Rugby World Cup Qualifying matches of signing for the Turbos. His place is likely to be taken by Andrew Tiedemann who was given a start against Fiji in the Pacific Nations Cup while Buydens was rested to to the short turn-around that saw Canada face Fiji and Tonga on June 5 and 8.
While Buydens will be missing Cudmore is reported to be set to start for Canada in August while Northampton´s Samu Manoa is in line to start for the USA. Both players have missed opportunities at playing at the test level in the past due to a combination of the seasons not being in the best interests of their respective clubs and the players making a choice. Many a supporter of the global game has severely criticized the situation with it being defined by some as the greed of English and French clubs.
Buydens was one of the three Canadian Beardos that left a huge impression on global fans in 2011. He has been capped nineteen times since debuting as a replacement against Barbados in 2006. The Saskatoon native started in all four matches for Canada in Rugby World Cup 2011 and remains the top Canadian loosehead having started against Ireland last month.