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Test Match Preview: Canada v Ireland

Test Match Preview: Canada v Ireland

Peter O’Mahony became the youngest Ireland captain of the professional era last week at just 23 years of age, and there will be more milestones in Toronto tonight as James Downey makes his senior debut and Andrew Trimble wins his 50th cap.

2013 SUMMER TOUR: Saturday, June 15

CANADA v IRELAND, BMO Stadium, Toronto, 8pm local time/1am Irish time (live TG4/www.tg4.tv worldwide stream)

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Team News: The Ireland team to take on Canada at the BMO Stadium shows seven changes from last weekend’s win over the USA as Les Kiss’ charges prepare for the final Test of the season.

There is another new cap for this game as James Downey dons the green jersey for the first time alongside Darren Cave in a new centre partnership.

Andrew Trimble will win his 50th cap for Ireland in a back-three that includes Fergus McFadden and Felix Jones.

Tom Court links up with hooker Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross in the front row, while Dan Tuohy forms a new second row pairing with Devin Toner.

Tommy O’Donnell starts at openside flanker having won his first cap last weekend, with Kevin McLaughlin and summer tour captain Peter O’Mahony completing the back row.

Speaking ahead of the Toronto clash, Ireland’s interim head coach Kiss said: “We are anticipating a tough game against a very good Canada side that have put together a run of three wins in the Pacific Nations Cup.

“The experience gained on this tour is invaluable and I have no doubt that the players will respond well in what will be another challenging test.”

The Test match will be broadcast live on TG4 with the ‘Rugbaí Beo’ coverage getting underway at 12.50am (Sunday morning).

Highlights and behind the scenes footage from the Irish summer tour so far can be seen on www.youtube.com/O2Rugby.

Meanwhile, Canada supremo Kieran Crowley has made four changes in personnel for his side’s showdown with Ireland in Toronto.

Canada are fresh from defeating Tonga 36-27 in the Pacific Nations Cup in Kingston last weekend, with full-back James Pritchard scoring a try, three conversions and four penalties in that game.

Pritchard is one of a number of European-based players in the Canadian squad to face Ireland, combining in the back-three with Matt Evans from Cornish Pirates and new Agen recruit Taylor Paris.

There are three personnel changes in the back-line with Paris handed the left wing berth. He replaces Sean Duke with Evans moving to the right side.

Harry Jones will start at inside centre, winning his fourth cap since last November, while Sean White makes way for the returning Phil Mack who pairs up with his UVIC Vikes club-mate Nathan Hirayama at half-back.

The only new inclusion up front is 21-year-old Tyler Ardron who slots in at blindside flanker with versatile London Irish clubman Jebb Sinclair, capped 27 times by Canada, making the switch to the second row.

Sinclair and winger Evans have overcome concussion concerns to be included in the team. Along with Duke, they went through the IRB’s concussion protocol this week after shipping knocks during a bruising encounter with Tonga.

Crowley’s selected side will be captained by Cornish Pirates back rower Aaron Carpenter who has played 50 times for his country.

Number 8 Carpenter is one of only four survivors from the Canadian team that lost 25-6 to Ireland when the countries last met in Vancouver four years ago.

Pritchard, centre Ciaran Hearn and lock Tyler Hotson also started that day in May 2009, while Doug Wooldridge, Sinclair, Mack and Nanyak Dala saw action as replacements.

CANADA: James Pritchard (Bedford Blues); Matt Evans (Cornish Pirates), Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock), Harry Jones (Capilano/BC Bears), Taylor Paris (SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne); Nathan Hirayama (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears), Phil Mack (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears); Hubert Buydens (Saskatoon Wild Oats/Prairie Wolf Pack), Ray Barkwill (Niagara Wasps/Ontario Blues), Jason Marshall (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears), Jebb Sinclair (London Irish), Tyler Hotson (London Scottish), Tyler Ardron (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues), John Moonlight (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues), Aaron Carpenter (Cornish Pirates) (capt).

Replacements: Ryan Hamilton (Capilano/BC Bears), Andrew Tiedemann (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack), Doug Wooldridge (Lindsay/Ontario Blues), Jon Phelan (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue/Atlantic Rock), Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack), Sean White (James Bay AA/BC Bears), Nick Blevins (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack), Connor Braid (Doncaster Knights/BC Bears).

IRELAND: Felix Jones (Shannon/Munster); Fergus McFadden (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Darren Cave (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), James Downey (Dolphin/Munster), Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster); Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Isaac Boss (Terenure College/Leinster); Tom Court (Malone/Ulster), Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster), Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ballymena/Ulster), Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster), Kevin McLaughlin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster), Peter O’Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) (capt).

Replacements: Sean Cronin (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), David Kilcoyne (UL Bohemians/Munster), Declan Fitzpatrick (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Mike McCarthy (Buccaneers/Connacht), Chris Henry (Malone/Ulster), Paul Marshall (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht).

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Nick Ricono, Ed Gardner (both USA)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Canada to win: 10/3; Draw: 25/1; Ireland to win: 2/9

Pre-Match Quotes: Andrew Trimble (Ireland) – “I’m quite proud of myself because i know it’s difficult to come back whenever things aren’t going well. I pride myself on being able to dig in whenever things aren’t going the way you’d planned them. 

“I don’t want to be that player that every time you come back, you have to do it again but fortunately now I have the chance again and I want to make sure I really grab it.

“I’m just very stubborn and want to get back in there, dig my heels in and make it as difficult as possible to be dropped. Just be as competitive as I can be. There are players coming through at 22, 23. But I don’t feel like I’m old. I feel like I should be moving into my prime.

“It’s certainly been one of the best seasons of my career at provincial level. That’s where I feel I’m at. It’s been a long season, there have been ups and downs so to get my 50th cap, I’m absolutely delighted.

“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s a one-off against Canada. I would have loved for it to have been a Six Nations game or straight after it in the autumn but this is my chance, this is my opportunity so I really want to take it.”

Kieran Crowley (Canada) – “We have seen a lot of the Ireland players play Heineken Cup and RaboDirect PRO12, we know them from that, but as a unit it was the first time to see them play (last week against the US).

“As a unit, they would have improved from that, it was their first hit-out together and the US put them under a bit of pressure with their defence and it got a little bit messy. But I’m sure they’ll improve after another week together.

“When you analyse games you take things from their game. They’ve had a run-out now, so they will be a lot better and we have got to put in place our own things.

“It is always a tier two country against a tier one. There are players missing but they are still players who play professionally for a living and half of our team doesn’t.

“It is a challenge. Ireland were here four years ago and we had a good game then in similar circumstances. We’re looking forward to it. We have improved. Our biggest challenge is that we don’t have a competition.

“We get two windows, we have five games and this is our chance to try things and put players out there. Our players overseas play mostly in the Championship, so until we get more consistent games at this sort of level we’ll always be where we are. We are improving, but so is everyone else.”

Pre-Match Links –

New Cap Downey Ready For Action

#O2BehindTheGreen: HeadCam 2 – Kickin’ It

#O2BehindTheGreen: Team Building At Niagara Falls

Head-To-Head: Ireland v Canada

#O2BehindTheGreen: Canada And Ireland Press Conference

O’Mahony Leads Young Guns To Victory In Tour Opener

Recent Meetings –

2000: Summer Tour: Canada 27 Ireland 27, Fletcher’s Field, Markham
2008: Autumn Test: Ireland 55 Canada 0, Thomond Park
2009: Summer Tour: Canada 6 Ireland 25, Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver

Support Ireland on www.irishrugby.ie/facebook or search #CanvIre on www.twitter.com/irfurugby.