Thursday, June 19, 2014

International Rugby: Canadian team named to face USA

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Canadian Headcoach Kieran Crowley has named a team featuring four changes from that which faced Scotland last Saturday for the team's final test in North American this year. The Canadians are winless after two matches and now face the USA who performed well against Japan but was nonetheless unable to complete a home victory. For the winner of Saturday's USA v Canada showdown in Sacramento, California it will mean one test match victory for the summer while for the loser it will mean three losses from as many matches.


With Rugby World Cup 2015 now just one season away Crowley has assembled a team similar to that which could indeed open Canada's account against Ireland in Cardiff. Starting in the front-row will be the converted back-rower, Aaron Carpenter, at hooker while Andrew Tiedemann and Jake Ilnicki are to be the props. They are to start ahead of Jason Marshall and Hubert Buydens, the same players who have held down starting positions since Rugby World Cup 2015. 

Changes to the front-row is a reflection of a need to have a more competitive scrum. Japan and Scotland both got the better of Japan and pool opponents at the World Cup are all regarded as being superior to the Canadians in this area. Ilnicki's selection comes just days after Patrick Johnston singled him out as one of Canada's best options for the future.

The back five forwards are unchanged from the home test against Scotland in Toronto. As such Jamie Cudmore and Tyler Hotson will again pack-down in the second-row while Tyler Ardon will lead the side from number 8 as part of a back-row featuring Jebb Sinclair and John Moonlight. The combination is well-suited to combating the USA Eagles' in their key area.

Many consider Moonlight as Canada's best player at the present point in time but he is, nonetheless, the only Canadian based forward set to start the test match. Another based in Canada playing well is Phil Mack who will start at scrum-half in a halves combination with Harry Jones. Outside Jones the inside centre birth sees a change with Connor Braid starting in a new position. The 24 has started for Canada at fly half, fullback and wing but never in the mid-field.

Braid will be partnered in the centres by Ciaran Hearn who has been in hot form for the Canadians recently. Outwide DTH van der Merwe is to start for the first time this year as part of a British based back-three. Jeff Hassler will start on the other wing while the all-time record Canadian points scoring James Pritchard will start at fullback.

1
Andrew Tiedemann
Plymouth Albion
England
2
Aaron Carpenter
Cornish Pirates
England
3
Jake Ilnicki
Auckland Colts
New Zealand
4
Jamie Cudmore
Clermont Auvergne
France
5
Tyler Hotson
London Scottish
England
6
Jebb Sinclair
London Irish
England
7
John Moonlight
Ontario Blues
Canada
8
Tyler Ardron
Ospreys
Wales
9
Phil Mack
BC Bears
Canada
10
Harry Jones
BC Bears
Canada
11
DTH van der Merwe
Glasgow Warriors
Scotland
12
Connor Braid
BC Bears
Canada
13
Ciaran Hearn
The Rock
Canada
14
Jeff Hassler
Ospreys
Wales
15
James Pritchard
Bedford Blues
England
16
Hubert Buydens
Manawatu Turbos
New Zealand
17
Ray Barkwill
Ontario Blues
Canada
18
Jason Marshall
La Rochelle
France
19
Jon Phelan
Doncaster Knights
England
20
Kyle Gilmour
Prairie Wolfpack
Canada
21
Gordon McRorie
Prairie Wolfpack
Canada
22
Nathan Hirayama
BC Bears
Canada
23
Nick Blevins
Prairie Wolfpack
Canada

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