BURNABY - Canadian senior men's national team head coach Kieran Crowley has announced his roster for Saturday's match against Georgia and seven of the starters will be playing in their home province of British Columbia.
2:00pm KO - June 23: Canada vs Georgia at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby
Tickets available through TicketMaster
BC players representing Canada
A key stat to note on Saturday is 90 per cent of the match day 22 have ties to BC having recently played in or are still current participants in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League.
Experienced scrum half and local British Columbia product Ed Fairhurst (UBCOB Ravens) will earn his 57th cap against the Lelos with his elevation to the starting side, which sees Sean White (James Bay) move back to the bench.
The dynamic blonde-haired pair of Phil Mackenzie (London Welsh) and Conor Trainor (BC) have been united in the centres after both starting on the wing last week against Italy. Mackenzie moves to inside centre with Trainor slotting in at outside centre, pushing DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors) to the right wing and allowing Sean Duke (UVic Vikes) to return to the left wing.
In the forward pack, Tom Dolezel (Ontario Blues) is elevated off the bench to replace injured loose-head prop Hubert Buydens (Castaway Wanderers), while Andrew Tieldmann (Castaway Wanderers) wins a spot in the starting side at hooker, with Mike Pletch (Ontario Blues) dropping to the bench.
There are a number of new faces among the reserves, with Doug Woolridge (Ontario Blues), Brett Beukeboom (UVic Vikes) and Jeff Hassler (James Bay) included after missing out against Italy.
Coach Kieran Crowley was disappointed with his side’s execution against the Auzzurri last week, but said they are not dwelling on the result and are focusing on how they can defeat Georgia.
‘Last week we played too much behind the advantage line, and that just plays into the opposition’s hands. We are focusing on getting over the advantage line and getting some go-forward ball, because if you can do that it makes everything else much easier.’
With the Georgians expected to play a similar style of rugby to Italy, Crowley said the Canadians are ready for another physical encounter.
‘A lot of their players compete in the French professional competitions, so they are very strong up front. They have a very good scrum and we can’t let what happened against Italy happen again, we need to get a lot better in those areas because it’s a strength of theirs we need to combat.’
Georgia impressed at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and Crowley was quick to point out that they are a rugby nation on the rise.
‘People need to realize that rugby is the national sport in Georgia, so they have a lot of financial support and resources. In the next three or four years they will really be pushing the likes of Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Canada, they are a team that is ready to explode.’
The Canucks will be looking to end their summer on a high after a victory over the USA Eagles and a tough loss to Italy, while Georgia will be hoping to get their tour back on track after going down to the Eagles last week in Colorado.
Name - Club/CRC Team
1 Tom Dolezel - London St. George's / Ontario Blues (London, ON)
2 Andrew Tiedeman - Castaway Wanderers / Prairie Wolf Pack ( St.Albert, AB)
3 Jason Marshall - Stade Aurillacois (North Vancouver, BC) formerly Capilano RFC
4 Jebb Sinclair - London Irish/Stormers (Charter's Settlement, NB) former Castaway Wanderers
5 Tyler Hotson - London Scottish (Vancouver, BC) formerly UBCOB Ravens / UBC Thunderbirds
6 Tyler Ardron - Ontario Blues (Lakefield, ON) formerly James Bay
7 Chauncey O’Toole - The Rock (Belleisle, NB) formerly Castaway Wanderers
8 Aaron Carpenter - Plymouth Albion (Brantford, ON) formerly James Bay
9 Edward Fairhurst - UBCOB Ravens / British Columbia (Victoria, BC)
10 Matt Evans - Cornish Pirates (Duncan, BC) formerly Cowichan Rugby Club
11 Sean Duke - University of Victoria Vikes / British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
12 Phil Mackenzie - London Welsh (Oakville, ON) formerly UVic Vikes
13 Conor Trainor - British Columbia (Vancouver, BC) formerly UBCOB Ravens
14 DTH Van der Merwe - Glasgow Warriors (Victoria, BC) formerly James Bay
15 James Pritchard - Bedford Blues (Parkes, Australia)
16 Mike Pletch - Ontario Blues (Lucan, ON) formerly Castaway Wanderers
17 Doug Woolridge -Ontario Blues (Lindsay, ON) formerly UVic Vikes / Cowichan
18 Brett Beukeboom - UVic Vikes / Ontario Blues (Lindsay, ON)
19 Nanyak Dala - Castaway Wanderers / Prairie Wolf Pack (Saskatoon, SK)
20 Sean White - James Bay (Victoria, BC)
21 Jeff Hassler - James Bay / Prairie Wolf Pack (Okotoks Lions RFC)
22 Ciaran Hearn - Castaway Wanderers / The Rock (Conception Bay South, NL)
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Assistant Coaches: Geraint John, Neil Barnes, Clive Griffiths
Strength and Conditioning: Matt Barr
Athletic Therapists: Carla Brash, Carrie Smith
Doctor: Dr. Joe Lemoine
Performance Analyst: Peter Huigenbois
Manager: Gareth Rees
Assistant Manager: Mark Winokur