BURNABY — Canada’s senior men’s head coach Mark Anscombe has made five changes ahead of Saturday’s Americas Rugby Championship clash against the USA.
Rob Brouwer, Ray Barkwill, Reegan O’Gorman, Phil Mack and Robbie Povey all come into the starting XV. It will mark O’Gorman and Povey’s first test starts for Canada.
“The boys have worked hard this week so we’ll go in with some confidence to back ourselves to do what we need to do,” Anscombe said. “They have a more experience squad than we have and they’ve had a couple of good wins. They’ve played some good rugby and wins builds confidence.”
Brouwer and Barkwill, who will captain Canada, replace Djustice Sears-Duru and Benoit Piffero in the front row and will be joined by Matt Tierney. Conor Keys makes his third straight ARC start and will be joined by O’Gorman at lock. Lucas Rumball, Ollie Nott and Burnaby native Admir Cejvanovic form the backrow.
Mack replaces Gordon McRorie at scrum-half with Povey taking over at fly-half in place of Gradyn Bowd. Taylor Paris and Dan Moor man the wings with Nick Blevins and Guiseppe du Toit in the centres. Vancouver’s Brock Staller starts at fullback.
“It’s always a special game and there’s a lot of new guys in the squad who have never played against the States,” Paris said. “They understand the rivalry but it’s different when you get actually get a crack at them. As long as we get the win it doesn’t matter what else happens.”
Lucas Albornoz is named as a replacement and could make his test debut Saturday if he plays.
Saturday’s game marks the last time the two sides will meet before their pivotal Rugby World Cup qualifier later this year. Details for the two-game series has yet to be announced.
“Both teams will have a number of players out for this weekend’s game,” Anscombe said. “But you want to go into the game with confidence so both teams will want to get one up. It won’t have a major factor but it will give confidence to the winning team.”
Canada comes into Saturday’s game with a 38-16-1 record all-time against their rivals south of the border. However, the USA has won the last five match-ups, including last year’s ARC clash that was won 30-22 in Texas.
Canada last beat the USA 13-11 in the second leg of their Rugby World Cup qualifier in 2013. Before the USA’s recent run of victories, Canada had won the previous seven encounters dating back to 2009.
Canada currently sits third in the ARC table after a 20-6 loss to Argentina and a 36-15 win over Chile last weekend. The USA is tied for first after beating Uruguay 29-23 and Brazil 51-3 in their first two games.
Saturday’s game can be seen LIVE on TSN GO at 8pm ET/5pm PT. The match will also be replayed on TSN 2 on Feb. 19 at 1pm ET/10am PT.
Tickets are still available by clicking here.
Canada’s Men’s Team to face USA – Name, (Club/CRC) Hometown:
1. Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
2. Ray Barkwill – Captain (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
4. Conor Keys – (UVic Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
5. Reegan O’Gorman – (Marist Albion) Vancouver, BC
6. Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
7. Ollie Nott – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Qualicum, BC
8. Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
9. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
10. Robbie Povey – (Bedford Athletic/Prairie Wolf Pack) Northampton, England
11. Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
12. Guiseppe Du Toit – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC
13. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
14. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15. Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
16. Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Rugby Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
17. Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18. Cole Keith – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) Sussex, NB
19. Liam Chisholm – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Kenora, ON
20. Lucas Albornoz – (Burnaby Lake RC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Vancouver, BC
21. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
22. Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Red Deer, AB
23. George Barton – (Clermont Espoirs) Duncan, BC
Canada’s 2017 Americas Rugby Championship Schedule:
Canada 6-20 Argentina — Feb. 4, Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
Canada 36-15 Chile — Feb. 11, Westhills Stadium, Langford, BC
Canada vs. USA — Feb. 18, Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC, 8pm ET/5pm PT
Uruguay vs. Canada — Feb. 25, Estadio Domingo Burgueno, Uruguay
Brazil vs. Canada — March 3, Pacaembu Stadium, Brazil
2017 Americas Rugby Championship Standings (through two rounds):
Argentina – 9 points
USA – 9 points
Canada – 5 points
Brazil – 4 points
Uruguay – 1 point
Chile – 0 points