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While the Canadians are missing in action, there are Canada ties at Rugby World Cup

Ewan Ashman Ewan Ashman - The Canadian Press

While Canada is not part of the 20-country field at the Rugby World Cup, there are still some Canadian connections on offer in France.

Canadian-born Ewan Ashman will be wearing Scottish colours at the tournament, which kicks off Friday with third-ranked France facing No. 4 New Zealand in Paris.

The 23-year-old hooker was born in Toronto to a Scottish father and English mother. His parents spent some eight years in Toronto thanks to his father's construction job with Ashman four years old when the family returned to Britain.

"I'm Scottish and Canadian. I don't really mention the English part," he said with a laugh in a 2021 interview with The Canadian Press.

"I'm a proud Canadian," he added. "I try to go back there as much as possible."

The six-foot-one 229-pounder, who is leaving England's Sale Sharks to play for Edinburgh next season, has won eight caps for Scotland. Ashman initially turned heads at age-grade level for Scotland, scoring 10 tries in 15 matches at the under-20 level.

Former Toronto Arrows Manuel Diana and Gaston Mieres, meanwhile, are on the Uruguay squad.

The tournament marked former Canada men's coach Kieran Crowley's swansong at Italy's helm, given the Italian federation has opted not to renew his contract. The The 62-year-old New Zealander, who has led Italy to new heights since taking over in 2021, is headed to Japan to coach the Honda Heat.

Crowley was named Canada coach in 2008, leading it to two World Cups. The former All Black stepped down in January 2016, taking over Italian club team Benetton Treviso.


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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 7, 2023