Canada announces rugby roster for match vs. Scotland
6/12/2014 4:11:18 PM
Canada Head Coach Kieran Crowley has made three changes to his starting roster for Saturday's International Test Match against Scotland at BMO Field in Toronto.
The announcement, which took place on Thursday morning in the team hotel in Oakville ahead of a double training day, comes two days before his side plays their second game of the June International Series.
Canada was defeated 34-25 last Saturday at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC and will also face USA next Saturday in Sacramento, California; both games are part of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup campaign.
In the forwards, Aaron Carpenter slots into the front row at hooker to join props Hubert Buydens and Jason Marshall. Canada's engine room stays unchanged with the duo of Tyler Hotson and Jamie Cudmore returning to action on Saturday.
Jebb Sinclair will make his first appearance for Canada this year at blindside flanker after missing the Japan game with a leg strain and will join Japan try-scorer John Moonlight and Captain Tyler Ardron in Canada's back-row.
"It feels great to be back. I'm thankful to our physiotherapy team for working hard with me over the last week to help me get fit," said Sinclair following the roster announcement.
Fiery scrumhalf Phil Mack will get the nod on Saturday and provide the link to fellow Canada Sevens stalwart Harry Jones, who will lead the backs at number 10.
The rest of Canada's backline remains untouched with the duo of Nick Blevins and Ciaran Hearn in the centres and Jeff Hassler, Taylor Paris and James Pritchard rounding out the back three.
Substitutes for Canada include Ray Barkwill, Andrew Tiedemann and Jake Ilnicki in the front row, Kyle Gilmour, Jon Phelan, Gord McRorie, Connor Braid and DTH van der Merwe.
With next year's Rugby World Cup edging closer by the day, Saturday's test match will be another big opportunity for Canada to face a similar side to what they will see next year in the UK. Three out of four of Canada's Pool D World Cup opponents – Ireland, France and Italy – regularly face Scotland in the annual Six Nations competition and play a similar brand of European rugby.
Despite the similarities between Scotland and next year's opponents, Sinclair isn't looking beyond this weekend's challenge.
"None of us are thinking about next year's World Cup; all our attention is focused on Saturday at 2pm and we're hoping to replicate our fast start from last weekend against Japan. We need to fix a few defensive errors that let us down in the second half," said the Fredericton, New Brunswick native.
"I think Scotland's game plan matches up well with how Canadians like to play – big, direct, hard ball runners – and they have a strong set piece that they've turned around recently under (Vern) Cotter," added Sinclair.
"We're excited for the challenge and looking forward to playing in front of a packed house at BMO Field on Saturday."
In order to have success on Saturday, Crowley's outfit will need to first and foremost establish a physical presence and eliminate costly mistakes. During last weekend's loss to Japan, Canada gave away 15 points from penalties off the boot of fullback Ayumu Goromaru.
The Scots are fresh off a 24-6 victory over USA in Houston, Texas in newly appointed coach Vern Cotter's debut. Scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw was good for three conversions and one penalty for nine of Scotland's points against USA, with tries also coming from fullback Stuart Hogg, winger Tim Visser and one penalty try.