Langford, BC – February 20, 2019: Canada head coach Kingsley Jones has named his starting team to face Chile on Friday night in the third match of the 2019 Americas Rugby Championships (ARC). “We are looking forward to playing at home and getting an opportunity to put right a frustrating performance last time out against Brazil,” said Jones.
“What you can expect to see this Friday is us being more accurate and more composed. Controlling the ball for a lot longer periods then we did against Brazil. Chile will come at us full of fire, they played very well against Uruguay themselves. They are very well coached, and well organized with good structure, we are well aware It will not be an easy match for us” he added.
Canada’s front row sees two changes from the last test, as veteran Hubert Buydens and youngster Cole Keith, who both played last weekend for NOLA Gold and Toronto Arrows respectively, join hooker Eric Howard. Kyle Baillie moves from flanker to second row and joins Mike Sheppard to form a powerful duo.
Justin Blanchet is set to win his first start at blindside flanker for Canada after making his debut against Brazil in Sao Paolo two weekends ago. The 25-year-old from Montreal will be joined in the back row by Captain Lucas Rumball and Dustin Dobravsky, who makes his 2019 ARC debut at number eight.
Canada’s scrumhalf and flyhalf pairing of Jamie Mackenzie and Patrick Parfrey remains unchanged from the first two test matches in South America. Theo Sauder returns from injury to his usual position at fullback, moving Ciaran Hearn back to the centres, partnering with the experienced Nick Blevins who replaces Ben LeSage who’s unavailable due to school commitments.
Wingers Andrew Coe and Kainoa Lloyd once again return to the starting roster to provide a plethora blend of speed, skill and power out wide.
20 cap veteran Benoit Piffero could make his first appearance for Canada off the bench since facing Uruguay in Montevideo in 2018 as part of the Rugby World Cup qualifiers. Fellow 2015 Rugby World Cup veteran Gordon McRorie returns to the bench for Canada, giving Jones depth at both scrumhalf and flyhalf.
Ladysmith, BC’s Doug Fraser – who scored on debut in Langford in 2018 against Brazil – has also been named as a replacement for Friday along with fellow Vancouver Islanders Noah Barker and Will Percillier. Rounding out the substitutions for Canada are Ryan Kotlewski, Conor Keys and Nakai Penny.
21st World Rugby ranked Canada has never lost to 29th seeded Chile, boasting a 5-0 record all-time dating back to their first meeting in 2002.
Tickets for the two fixtures in Langford, BC can be purchased at https://rugby.ca/en/tickets or at the Rugby Canada office at 3024 Glen Lake Road after 6pm PT on Friday.
With Westhills Stadium currently under construction, the total capacity for these two test matches is 1,000, therefore seating is limited. Rugby Canada is encouraging fans to arrive early to make sure they can take their seat with ease, due to the construction.