The second of Canada’s IRB International Rugby Series fixtures takes place this Saturday, when they take on Russia at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay.
Reflecting on the defeat to Samoa, the coaching team have decided upon several changes to the side. The front three have been replaced, while the half-back partnership is new, with both Eric Wilson and Harry Jones making their first start for the NSMT.
Jebb Sinclair, fresh from his Currie Cup victory with Western Province, arrived in Wales after the Samoa fixture, and is in the second row. The back line sees changes on the wing, with Taylor Paris swapping to the left wing, while Jeff Hassler starts on the right. Nick Blevins, who replaced Phil Mackenzie during the Samoa game, starts in place of the London Welsh centre, after impressing last Friday.
Head coach Kieran Crowley spoke about the changes to the side: “Jason Marshall came in late and wasn’t here for the majority of the week. He has been our number one target all the way through. We managed Ryan Hamilton back into the game last week, and although Hubert Buydens has been playing well, we need to look at our loosehead prop cover on this tour. Andrew Tiedemann can do both sides, so that’s the change there.
“Jebb wasn’t available last week, but he has been one of our first choice locks for the last couple of games.
“Sean White is out injured, so Wilson is in as an enforced replacement, and Phil Mack has joined us to cover there. We have put Harry Jones in at ten. That is another position, the same as loosehead, where we need to look at our options. Connor Braid has had two games in the ARC as well as last week, and we are pleased with his performances, so he will get some game time off the bench. We need to make sure that we give guys the experience in these positions.
“Nick Blevins has come in to 12 – that’s injury forced as well. Hassler is in on the wing, also injury enforced, so you know there are a number of changes because of injuries.”
Speaking about the threat posed by Russia, Crowley added: “I thought they got better as the game went on last week, they have got a couple of strong ball-carrying wingers. They did a lot of physical one off running, so they have threats on that side of the game. If they get their kicking game right, that’s pretty good too.
“But we have been working hard this week, and hopefully we can come up trumps.”
The team to play Russia is –
1 Andrew Tiedemann (FC Auch)
2 Ryan Hamilton (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
3 Jason Marshall (Stade Aurillacois)
4 Jebb Sinclair (Western Province)
5 Tyler Hotson (London Scottish)
6 Tyler Ardron (McMaster)
7 Chauncey O’Toole (Brigend Ravens)
8 Aaron Carpenter (Captain) - (Plymouth Albion)
9 Eric Wilson (Meraloma Rugby Club)
10 Harry Jones (Capilano RFC)
11 Taylor Paris (Glasgow Warriors)
12 Nick Blevins (Prairie Wolf Pack)
13 Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
14 Jeff Hassler (James Bay AA)
15 James Pritchard (Bedford Blues)
16 Hubert Buydens (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
17 Ray Barkwill (Oakville Crusaders)
18 Doug Wooldridge (Lindsay RFC)
19 Jon Phelan (Ste-Anne-de-Bellvue)
20 Phil Mackenzie (London Welsh)
21 Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
22 Phil Mack (UVic Vikes)
23 Connor Braid (James Bay AA)
In their last fixture, the Russians lost to the USA by 40-26. Like Canada in their game against Samoa, the Russians ended their game strongly, after losing three first half tries to the USA before coming back in the second period.
Russian full-back Igor Klyuchnikov kicked four out of five place kicks for an 11 point haul, with their tries coming from winger Vladimir Ostroushko, with back rower Andrey Temnov scoring twice.
Canada have met Russia twice previously, with Canada winning 22-6 in 2009 in Vancouver, before beating the Russians again by 34-18 in June 2011 at Esher, during the Churchill Cup held in England.
Aaron Carpenter scored the only try of that first game, while Justin Mensah-Coker, Conor Trainor, Ander Monro, Chauncey O’Toole and Matt Evans crossed the line in the Churchill Cup fixture.
James Pritchard, Ryan Hamilton, Tyler Hotson, Jebb Sinclair, Chauncey O’Toole and current NSMT captain Aaron Carpenter all started that fixture, with Andrew Tiedemann, Hubert Buydens, Nanyak Dala and Phil Mackenzie playing as used replacements.
This is the final fixture of the IRB International Rugby Series, before the squad travel to Oxford, next Friday, to play the NZ Maori All Blacks.
The game kicks off at 8:15pm local time (3:15PMET/12:15PMPT) with live updates on Rugby Canada Twitter feed (@RugbyCanada) followed by the full match report at www.rugbycanada.ca.