Canada’s men’s U20 head coach Jeff Williams has named a 26-man squad for the Junior World Rugby Trophy later this month.
The tournament runs August 29 – September 10 in Montevideo, Uruguay.
"It's never easy finalizing a squad," Williams said. We had a few injuries, and those players that were injured covered multiple positions so we needed to look at other players to come in.
There is also the CRC U19 and we used that as a means of selection. We thought that was important. So from that, a few players were selected on how they played in the tournament."
The squad features 23 returnees from Canada’s squad in June that beat the USA in a two-game qualifying series. Niko Clironomos, Jack McCarthy and Evan Norris are added to the team while Elias Ergas, Aaron Hersant, Aidan McCleary, Quinn Ngawati and Carson O’Sullivan miss out.
"When you get to this level, consistency is everything," Williams said. "It is almost impossible to show up to a tournament and not have the players feel like a team. For us that might be the biggest hurdle we can overcome, it's just spending a little more time together, sharpening up our skills. "
Canada has been drawn into Pool A where they will face Japan, Chile and Namibia.
Canada will open its campaign on August 29 against Namibia before facing Japan on September 2nd. They will conclude their pool against Chile on September 6th.
The final will be played on September 10th along with the third, fifth and seventh place matches. Pool B features hosts Uruguay alongside Fiji, Portugal and Hong Kong.
The winner of each pool will meet in the final. The other three games are determined by the final pool positions.
Canada qualified for the tournament after beating the USA in a two-game qualifying series in Edmonton. Canada cruised to a 46-12 victory in Game 1 and despite a 27-25 defeat in Game 2, Canada qualified by virtue of a 71-39 aggregate win.
"When we sat down together as a team the players came up with the goals," Williams said. "We felt this was important because it's their team and their journey. Goal number one was to qualify, goal number two was to win our pool and goal number three was to win the tournament."
Canada reached the Junior World Rugby Trophy final in 2015, but was beaten 49-24 by Georgia. They were also runners-up in 2013 after a 45-23 defeat to Italy. Canada failed to qualify for the 2016 tournament.
The winner of the Junior World Rugby Trophy earns qualification to the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship. Canada has not played in the tournament since 2009.
Streaming details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Canada’s Junior World Rugby Trophy Squad:
George Barton (Clermont) Duncan, BC
Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
Niko Clironomos (UBC Thunderbirds) Burnaby, BC
Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia
Thomas Davidson (Toronto Scottish RFC), Chelsea, QC
Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB
Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC
Nicholas Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB
Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON
Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB
Jack McCarthy (Vandals RFC) St. John’s, NL
Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC
Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON
Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
Evan Norris, (Shawnigan Lake School) Victoria, BC
Steven Ng (Capilano RFC) Ottawa, ON
Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB
William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria
Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC
Canada’s Junior World Rugby Trophy Schedule:
Canada vs. Namibia — August 29 — 11am ET/8am PT
Canada vs. Japan — September 2 — 3pm ET/12pm PT
Canada vs. Chile — September 6 — 11am ET/8am PT
Finals Day — September 10 — TBD