Canada head coach Mark Anscombe has named his starting line-up for Saturday’s GUINNESS Series match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 7.15pm).
Captained by Aaron Carpenter, the Canadian matchday squad features a wealth of experience including the return of DTH van der Merwe, Brett Beukeboom, Conor Trainor and Connor Braid to the team.
“The boys have adapted well to what we want to do,” said Mark Anscombe, the former Ulster boss. “We’re really looking forward to the game. We have to do well on Saturday so that we get credibility so that we can face off against other tier 1 teams in the future.”
The familiar trio of Djustice Sears-Duru, Ray Barkwill and Jake Ilnicki form Canada’s front row with Beukeboom joining Newcastle Falcon Evan Olmstead in the second row.
Kyle Baillie and Lucas Rumball start in the flanker positions while Carpenter will earn his 75th cap from the number 8 position, leaving him one cap behind Al Charron’s Canadian record of 76.
Gordon McRorie starts at scrum half and Victoria, BC, native Braid gets the nod at out-half. Van der Merwe and Taylor Paris will man the wings with Trainor and Ciaran Hearn starting together in the centre. Cornish Pirates clubman Matt Evans features at full-back.
Admir Cejvanovic is named on the bench and will earn his first Test cap if he is introduced. Phil Mack, who retired from the Canadian Sevens team earlier this year and has not played for the 15s team since last year’s Rugby World Cup, is also named as a replacement.
Anscombe added: “It will be a different team that faced the All Blacks but Ireland are a tier 1 team and they have that depth now and that was shown by the quality of their performance last weekend. A full house at the Aviva Stadium is a great opportunity for our guys but it will be daunting going up against a very good Irish team.”
CANADA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2016 GUINNESS Series, Aviva Stadium, Saturday, November 12, kick-off 7.15pm):
15. Matt Evans (Cornish Pirates)
14. DTH van der Merwe (Scarlets)
13. Conor Trainor (RC Vannes/BC Bears)
12. Ciaran Hearn (London Irish)
11. Taylor Paris (Agen)
10. Connor Braid (James Bay AA/BC Bears)
9. Gordon McRorie (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack)
1. Djustice Sears-Duru (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues)
2. Ray Barkwill (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues)
3. Jake Ilnicki (Manawatu Turbos/BC Bears)
4. Brett Beukeboom (Cornish Pirates)
5. Evan Olmstead (Newcastle Falcons/Prairie Wolf Pack)
6. Kyle Baillie (Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock)
7. Lucas Rumball (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues)
8. Aaron Carpenter (London Welsh/Ontario Blues) (capt)
16. Eric Howard (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues)
17. Rob Brouwer (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues)
18. Matt Tierney (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues)
19. Admir Cejvanovic (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears)
20. Matt Heaton (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock)
21. Phil Mack (James Bay AA/BC Bears)
22. Patrick Parfrey (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock)
23. Nick Blevins (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack)