Wednesday, June 11, 2014

RFU Championship: Jon Phelan signs for Doncaster Knights

Canada's quest to have a better prepared squad for Rugby World Cup 2015 than 2011 was boosted today with the news that the sixteen timed capped Jon Phelan has signed a contract with English second division side the Doncaster Knights. An official announcement over the arrival of the Canadian was made on the Doncaster Knights website. In joining the RFU Championship club Canada is ensured of having another player involved in a professional environment in the lead-up to Rugby World Cup 2015. Phelan joins the Doncaster Knights from France having played for Lille Metropole in France's third division this past season. 

The 28 year old is one of three specialist second-rowers in the current twenty-seven man Canadian squad involved in June internationals against Japan, Scotland and the USA. He will join up with the club following the completion of the test matches. 

The squad is close to full strength and is notably more professional in terms of numbers in 2014 than was the case in 2010. Canada's squad for Rugby World Cup 2011 was so green than only Jamie Cudmore and DTH van der Merwe were coming off playing professional rugby at the elite level in the season prior to the World Cup.

Both players remain at their respective clubs of Clermont Auvergne and the Glasgow Warriors and today and they have been joined by a number of players on track to join them at Rugby World Cup 2015. Captain Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler play for the Ospreys in Wales, Jebb Sinclair plays for London Irish in the Aviva Premiership, Jason Marshall plays for La Rochelle who have won promotion to the Top 14 while Hubert Buydens plays for the Manawatu Turbos in New Zealand's ITM Cup. 

Canada also has a number of players involved in second division competitions in England and France of which Phelan is the newest. He is to be playing against the club sides of Canadian teammates Aaron Carpenter, Tyler Hotson and James Pritchard. He will also face uncapped Argentine prop Ignacio Sáenz Lancuba who has joined Jersey for the new season.

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