Canada names 30-man squad for July rugby internationals against Wales and England
ATL Rugby’s Matt Heaton and Toronto Arrows’ Ben LeSage and Lucas Rumball will be Canada’s co-captains for rugby test matches next month in Wales and England.
Canadian coach Kingsley Jones has named 30 members of his 32-man travel group. Rugby Canada says the two remaining spots will remain vacant pending fitness tests as players return from injury.
The July tests mark the first games for Canadian men since October 2019 at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.
The 23rd-ranked Canadians will face No.6 Wales on July 3 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff and No.3 England on July 10 at Twickenham Stadium on the outskirts of London. Jones is using the matches as preparation for the World Cup qualifiers in the fall.
The traveling roster represents a changing of the guard with the touring squad made up of 25 players from Major League Rugby clubs, including nine from the Toronto Arrows. There are three players from Rugby Canada’s National Development Academy and two from clubs in France.
Jones has selected 11 uncapped players: Foster DeWitt, Liam Murray, Reegan O’Gorman, Tyler Rowland, Michael Smith, Ross Braude, Fraser Hurst, Spencer Jones, Lachlan Kratz, Quinn Ngawati and Isaac Olsen.
Ngawati is a former member of the Toronto Wolfpack Rugby League team.
“I think we have to start the cycle over again,” Jones said. “Unfortunately there are a few senior boys that we obviously would have selected but who are not available due to other commitments and some injuries. But what an exciting opportunity for these young guys.
Former Canada captain Tyler Ardron and compatriot Evan Olmstead, both of whom play in France, are among a group of nine players deemed unavailable for selection due to injuries and commitments with the club, among other reasons. . Others like Shane O’Leary haven’t seen a lot of action lately.
Rugby Canada says 18 players from the national seven-a-side program were not considered due to their Olympic preparation.
It’s rare for Canada to play against Tier 1 nations outside of the World Cup these days. Wales are the reigning Six Nations champions while England were finalists in the 2019 World Cup.
Both teams will miss the top players who will tour South Africa with the British and Irish Lions. England have 12 players in the 37-man Lions squad while Wales have 10.
England coach Eddie Jones has named 21 uncapped players to his training squad for the July tests.
Kingsley Jones initially named an expanded 40-player roster comprising 29 MLR players, including 13 from the Arrows.
Wales’ next game will mark 632 days since Canada closed its World Cup campaign in a 66-7 loss to eventual World Cup champion South Africa on October 8, 2019 , in Kobe, Japan. A subsequent World Cup match against Namibia was called off due to Typhoon Hagibis.
Canada was originally scheduled to host England in Toronto this summer, but travel restrictions linked to the pandemic have moved the game and others to Europe.
England will face the United States Eagles on July 4 before facing Canada.
England scored 12 tries, shutting out Canada 70-0 when the two met at Twickenham in November 2004. The Welsh scored nine tries en route to a 61-26 victory over the Canadians in Cardiff in November 2006
But Canada scored a historic 26-24 loss to Wales in November 1993 at Cardiff Arms Park thanks to a final try from Al Charron and a conversion from Gareth Rees.
The Canadian men lost 37-6 to England A in the 2011 Churchill Cup.
Kingsley Jones is a former Wales captain. Canada’s head assistant coach Rob Howley won 59 caps for Wales as a player and was on the Wales coaching staff between 2008 and 2019.
Jones, whose CV includes a stint in the coach setup of the Russian national team, has never coached against his homeland. He coached against England at Twickenham in 2010, when he and Frenchman Philippe Saint-André co-coached the Barbarians.
The Canadian men have held a high performance camp last November in Langford, BC, since the World Cup closed.
Canada Tour Day
Lucas Albornoz, Burnaby, BC, Houston SaberCats (MLR); Foster Dewitt, Courtenay, BC, Rugby Canada National Development Academy; Matt Heaton, Godmanchester, Quebec, Rugby ATL (MLR); Eric Howard, Ottawa, NOLA Or (MLR); Jake Ilnicki, Williams Lake, BC, Seattle Seawolves (MLR); Cole Keith, Sussex, NB, Toronto Arrows (MLR); Conor Keys, Stittsville, Ont., Rugby ATL (MLR); Josh Larson, Parksville, BC, Free New England Jacks (MLR); Liam Murray, Langley, BC, Houston SaberCats (MLR); Reegan O’Gorman, Vancouver, Austin Gilgronis (MLR); Andrew Quattrin, Holland Landing, Ont., Toronto Arrows (MLR); Tyler Rowland Mississauga, Ont., Toronto Arrows (MLR); Lucas Rumball, Scarborough, Ont. Toronto Arrows (MLR); Justice Sears-Duru of Oakville, Ont., Seattle Seawolves (MLR); Michael Smith, White Rock, BC, San Diego Legion (MLR).
Ross Braude, Pretoria, South Africa, Toronto Arrows (MLR); Cole Davis, Calgary, Austin Gilgronis (MLR); Doug Fraser, Ladysmith, BC, Old Glory DC (MLR); Fraser Hurst, Vancouver, Utah Warriors (MLR); Spencer Jones. Cambridge, New Zealand, Toronto Arrows (MLR); Will Kelly, Ancaster, Ont., Toronto Arrows (MLR); Lachlan Kratz, Victoria, NOLA Gold (MLR); Ben LeSage, Calgary, Toronto Arrows (MLR); Kainoa Lloyd, Mississauga, Ont., Rugby Canada National Development Academy; Peter Nelson, Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Mont de Mason (France); Quinn Ngawati, Victoria, Rugby United New York (MLR); Patrick Parfrey, St. John’s, NL, Toronto Arrows (MLR); Will Percillier, Victoria, Stade Français (France); Robbie Povey, Calgary, Houston SaberCats (MLR); Isaac Olsen, Victoria, Rugby Canada National Development Academy.
Not available for selection
Tyler Ardron, Castres Olympique (France); Kyle Bailey, NOLA Gold (MLR); Matt Beukeboom, Bourg-en-Bresse (France); Luke Campbell, Old Glory DC (MLR); Nick Carson, University of Victoria; Tyler Duguid, Montpellier (France); Evan Olmstead, Biarritz Olympique (France); Lindsey Stevens, LA Giltinis (MLR); Matt Tierney, Castres Olympique (France).
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 14, 2021.
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