BURNABY, BC – Ahead of Saturday's Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) opener at Swangard Stadium, Canada head coach Kieran Crowley has released his starting roster to face Japan.
The international test match, which will be LIVE on TSN and streamed at www.irb.com at 6pm pt/9pm et, will be the first game of the year for Canada's Men's Fifteens Team.
Having won their last sevens games, including last weekend against 8th ranked Samoa, the Brave Blossoms pose a stiff challenge for Canada. Japan has had Canada's number on recent occasions, including a 16-13 victory last year in Nagoya which was Canada's only loss of the PNC.
Newly appointed Captain Tyler Ardron will lead the team from the number 8 position, with Jebb Sinclair and John Moonlight also in the back-row. Canada's tight-five includes the experienced front-row of Hubert Buydens, Ray Barkwill and Jason Marshall with Tyler Hotson and Jamie Cudmore in the engine room.
Calgary, Alberta's Gordron McRorie is set to receive his first cap after being announced as starting scrumhalf and Harry Jones will lead the backline from flyhalf.
"It's a huge honour for me to be selected for my first cap against Japan this weekend and I look forward to the challenge," said McRorie after the announcement.
The centre pairing of Nick Blevins and Ciaran Hearn, who started side-by-side on six occasions last year for Canada including against Japan, slot in outside of Jones. Canada's back-three includes an exciting blend of speed, power and experience with the announcement of Taylor Paris and Jeff Hassler on the wing and James Pritchard at fullback.
Canada's substitutions consist of Andrew Tiedemann, Aaron Carpenter, Jake Ilnicki, John Phelan and Adam Kleeberger in the forwards with Phil Mack, Connor Braid and DTH van der Merwe in the backs.
Unavailable for selection for Canada due to injuries were Liam Underwood and Nanyak Dala. Added to Canada's training roster was Alberta's Kyle Gilmour after a strong showing in last weekend's BC Invitational versus Canada Selects game at Klahanie Park in West Vancouver.
"I think there's some really good depth in this group, and there's a lot of good competition amongst the roster," said Crowley.
"Japan are a strong, well-coached side and they will be a difficult game for us. We narrowly lost last year in Nagoya and I know our guys will be keen to take them on again on Saturday."
CANADA'S ROSTER TO FACE JAPAN:
1. Hubert Buydens – (Manawatu Turbos/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2. Ray Barkwill – (Niagara Wasps RFC/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Jason Marshall – (Atlantique Stade Rochelais) Vancouver, BC
4. Tyler Hotson – (London Scottish RFC) Vancouver, BC
5. Jamie Cudmore – (ASM Clermont Auvergne) Squamish, BC
6. Jebb Sinclair – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Fredericton, NB
7. John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
8. Tyler Ardron – Captain (Ospreys/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
9. Gordon McRorie – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10. Harry Jones – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
11. Taylor Paris – (SU Agen Lot-et-Garonne) Barrie, ON
12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
14. Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys/Prairie Wolf Pack) Okotoks, AB
15. James Pritchard – (Bedford Blues) Parkes, NSW, Australia
16. Andrew Tiedemann – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
17. Aaron Carpenter – (Cornish Pirates RFC) Brantford, ON
18. Jake Ilnicki – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
19. Jon Phelan – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
20. Adam Kleeberger – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) White Rock, BC
21. Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
22. Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
23. DTH van der Merwe – (Glasgow Warriors) Regina, SK
Unavailable due to Injury:
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Saskatoon Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK
Liam Underwood – (Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
CANADA'S MEN'S STAFF:
Kieran Crowley – Head Coach
Gareth Rees – Manager
Neil Barnes – Assistant Coach
Ben Herring – Assistant Coach
Mike Shelley – Assistant Coach
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Danielle Mah - Physiotherapist
Carla Brash, Mike Cook – Athletic Therapists
Andy Evans – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Todd Silverthorn – Assistant Manager
James Kent – Logistics and Assistant Analyst
Mark Winokur – Assistant Manager
Pete Du Toit – Team Doctor
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager