MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY – Canada’s U20 men’s team head coach Jeff Williams announced his starting lineup for Tuesday’s match against Namibia to open the World Rugby U20 Trophy in Uruguay.
Leading the Canadian contingent will be captain George Barton, who slots in at right centre and will look to help guide the team to a tournament title, which would garner Canada a highly sought-after promotion to next year’s upper-echelon World Rugby U20 Championship.
Kick off against Namibia is set for 9am ET/6am PT on Tuesday at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo. You can watch live via www.WorldRugby.org.
Joining Barton amongst the backs in the starting lineup is scrumhalf Fraser Hurst, who is one of five UBC Thunderbirds named to the 22-man roster and one of two, along with second-rower Liam Doll, in the starting unit. Alongside Hurst will be flyhalf Will Kelly and centre Josh Thiel.
Wingers Cole Davis and Anton Ngongo will join fullback Aidan McMullan to make up the Canadian back line.
Up front, Cole Keith, who is one of three capped players on the U20 roster, along with Barton and Matt Beukeboom, comes in at tighthead prop along with front-rowers Dewald Kotze and Liam Murray.
Beukeboom gets the start in the second row alongside Doll.
Flankers Lachlan Currie and James O’Neill and No. 8 Jake Thiel round out the Canadian pack.
Canada is 1-1 all-time against Namibia at the U20 Trophy. In 2015, Canada won 35-20, but in 2014, it was Namibia coming out on top, 37-25.
Following Canada’s game against Namibia, they will face Japan Sept. 2 and Chile Sept. 6.
The final will be played Sept. 10, along with the third, fifth and seventh place matches. Pool B features hosts Uruguay as well as Fiji, Portugal and Hong Kong.
Canada have reached the World Rugby U20 Trophy final twice in the last four years. In the 2015 final, they were beaten 49-24 by Georgia and, in 2013, they lost 45-23 against Italy. The team has yet to qualify for the Championship since it was reduced to a 12-team format in 2009.
Canada qualified for the U20 Trophy 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.
Canada failed to qualify for the World Rugby U20 Trophy in 2016.
What Head Coach Jeff Williams said:
“We set goals as a team. The first goal was to qualify. The second is to win our pool. And the third goal, although it’s ambitious, is to win the World Junior Trophy. I think every coach would say that about their team. You have to have those goals. We’re going in there thinking we can win and I think that’s the attitude you have to have. Players want those lofty goals and it makes them work harder and it makes them be held more accountable for the things they do on a daily basis.”
Canada’s Roster to Face Namibia:
1. Liam Murray (Langley) Langley, BC
2. Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens) Edmonton, AB
3. Cole Keith (James Bay AA) Sussex, NB
4. Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds) North Vancouver, BC
5. Matt Beukeboom (Section Paloise) Lindsay, ON
6. Lachlan Currie (Bond University) Gold Coast, Australia
7. James O’Neill (UVic Vikes) Cochrane, AB
8. Jake Thiel (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
9. Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
10. Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins) Ancaster, ON
11. Cole Davis (Canberra Royals) Calgary, AB
12. Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College) Abbotsford, BC
13. George Barton (Clermont) Duncan, BC (captain)
14. Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
15. Aidan McMullan (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC), Montreal, QC
16. Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians) Newmarket, ON
17. Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
18. Nick Frost (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
19. Jamie McNaughton Carleton Place, ON
20. William McDougall-Percillier (Cowichan Piggies) Mill Bay, Victoria, BC
21. Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
22. Niko Clironomos (UBC Thunderbirds) Burnaby, BC
2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy Staff:
Head Coach – Jeff Williams
Assistant Coach – Sean McDonaugh
Strength & Conditioning Coach – Jeff Watson
Athletic Therapist – Kiyomi Thompson
Analyst – Derek Pue
Team Physician – Shelby Karpman
Team Manager – Alana Gattinger
Canada’s 2017 World Rugby U20 Trophy 2017 Schedule:
Canada vs. Namibia – Aug 29 – 9am ET/6am PT – Estadio Charrua (Montevideo)
Canada vs. Japan – Sept 2 – 1pm ET/10am PT – Estadio Charrua (Montevideo)
Canada vs. Chile – Sept 6 – 10:30am ET/7:30 am PT – Estadio Domingo Burgueño Miguel (Punta del Este)
Original Content by Mark Janzen, Rugby Canada