TORONTO, ON – Canada’s Men’s Team is set to travel to Europe today ahead of a three-game November Test series against Georgia, Romania and Portugal on the 9th, 16th and 23rd.
The roster announcement follows Sunday’s Canada versus New Zealand Maori All Blacks game at BMO Field, which proved to be an excellent day for Canadian rugby as the 22,566 fans on hand set records as the largest crowd in Canadian rugby history.
Player Update for Europe
Yesterday’s game against the Maori All Blacks landed outside the official IRB test window, therefore a number of Canada’s top athletes were unavailable due for selection. Canada will see a boost for Saturday’s game as James Pritchard, Jebb Sinclair, Brett Beukeboom, Phil Mackenzie and Tyler Hotson are set to meet the team in Tbilisi on Wednesday.
However, it’s not all good news. Canada will be without the services of their captain, Aaron Carpenter, who will no longer be a part of the November test schedule after suffering an upper-body injury on Sunday afternoon.
Mike Scholz and Pat Parfrey will now switch back to Sevens and join Canada’s Maple Leafs Team preparing to travel to the Cayman Islands this week.
DTH van der Merwe is unavailable due to personal reasons. Jamie Cudmore, Jason Marshall, Sean Duke, Tom Dolezel and Nathan Hirayama will not join the team due to injuries.
Youngsters Benoit Pifferio (hooker) and Djustice Sears-Duru (prop) have been called up to the Men’s Team and will join the side in Georgia to boost the front row.
Veteran forward Adam Kleeberger spoke of the November opener against the Maori All Blacks: “although we didn’t have the result that we wanted against the Maori All Blacks it was a good start to what will hopefully be a successful tour,” said Kleeberger, who came off the bench for Nanyak Dala.
Kleeberger, who has 35 international fifteens caps dating back to his first appearance in 2005, knows what it’s like to play in Europe.
“I was a part of our November Tour in 2009 where we defeated Portugal, Spain and Belgium, but lost to Georgia. Georgia is a passionate side that will be a difficult test for us in Tbilisi,” added Kleeberger.
“It was a tough loss yesterday. I think we had a lot of our systems in place and our game plan started our well, but we made some handling and defensive errors. We can fix them for this week and keep on improving,” said Jon Phelan from the team hotel in downtown Toronto.
The Canadian second-row, who plays for Lille Métropole Rugby in France, is looking for a tough encounter next weekend.
“Despite being lower than us in the rankings, for us to win we’re going to have to get up for the physical confrontation and correct the errors from yesterday. They’re a team that plays with a lot of national pride, especially in front of their fans in Tbilisi,” said Phelan.
Canada will depart Toronto on Monday afternoon and endure a difficult travel schedule before arriving early in the morning on Wednesday in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.
“It’s a long travel day for us today heading to Europe, but our Strength and Condition and medical staff have a concise plan for us so we know when we need to sleep and when we need to be awake to make sure we’re at the top of our game next Saturday,” added Phelan.
Canada’s Roster for November Tour:
Tyler Ardron, (Ospreys/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
Ray Barkwill, (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
Brett Buekeboom, (Plymouth Albion RFC) Lindsay, ON
Nick Blevins, (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
Hubert Buydens, (Saskatoon Wild Oats/Manawatu Turbos) Saskatoon, SK
Nanyak Dala, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Matt Evans, (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Jeff Hassler, (Ospreys/Prairie Wolf Pack) Okotoks, AB
Ciaran Hearn, (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
Tyler Hotson, (London Scottish) Vancouver, BC
Jake Ilnicki, (Williams Lake Rustlers/Auckland Colts) Williams Lake, BC
Harry Jones, (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Adam Kleeberger, (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) White Rock, BC
Phil Mack, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Jamie Mackenzie, (UVIC Vikes/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Phil Mackenzie, (Sale Sharks) Oakville, ON
Ryan March, (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
John Moonlight, (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Jon Phelan, (Lille Métropole Rugby/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
Benoit Piffero, (Burnaby Lake RFC/Blagnac)
James Pritchard, (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
Djustice Sears-Duru, (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Jebb Sinclair, (London Irish) Fredericton, NB
Andrew Tiedemann, (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
Conor Trainor, (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Liam Underwood, (Queens University/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Aaron Carpenter, (Cornish Pirates) Brantford, ON
Jamie Cudmore, (ASM Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
Tom Dolezel, (London St. George’s/Ontario Blues) London, ON
Sean Duke, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Nathan Hirayama, (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Jason Marshall, (Atlantique Stade Rochelais/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
DTH Van Der Merwe, (Glasgow Warriors) Regina, SK
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Kieran Crowley – Head Coach
Gareth Rees – National Program Manager
Neil Barnes – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Andy Evans – Strength and Conditioning
Michael Cook – Therapist
Carla Brash – Therapist
Dr. Joseph Lemoine – Team Doctor