Canada

Published on: 19th August 2015

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Flag_of_CanadaTeam Preview

World Ranking: 18

Odds of Winning: 2000/1

Road To Qualification:

It was a simple enough qualification for the Maple Leafs, beating the USA to secure their place in the intimidating Pool D, amongst France, Ireland, Italy and Romania. An easy qualification has been somewhat marred however by recent performances.

Recent Results

USA 41 – 23 Canada

USA 15 – 13 Canada

Canada 20 – 21 Samoa

Canada 18 – 28 Tonga

Canada 6 – 20 Japan

World Cup Pool Games:

Date Time Team v Team Stadium
Saturday, 19 September 15 14:30 Ireland v  Canada Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Saturday, 26 September 15 14:30 Italy v  Canada Elland Road, Leeds
Thursday, 1 October 15 20:00 France v  Canada Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
Tuesday, 6 October 15 16:45 Canada v  Romania Leicester City Stadium, Leicester

Strengths

  • Plenty of players with experience playing overseas
  • Can call on a large depth of talent from the 7’s circuit

Weaknesses

  • Inconsistent set piece plays
  • Inexperienced pack

Key Players

Jeff Hassler – What Canada needs desperately is people who are confident handling the ball and capable of finishing off plays. Just like Chris Wyles for the USA, Jeff Hassler offers some much needed experience to hopefully finish off any breaks that Canada produce.

Jamie Cudmore – Known for being a tough man/enforcer, he’s settled into the Top 14 side Clermont at second row. He may prove to be key in bringing the forward pack to another level with his experience at the professional level. He brings an edge to an otherwise inexperienced pack.

Injuries/Unlucky To Miss Out

James Pritchard has been a feature of the Canadian team for a long time, but was dropped from the team in this second-to-last cut. He captained the team to their narrow defeat against Samoa, and during the match became the 20th player in the world to score 600 points in international rugby. Pritchard will be disappointed to have lost out so close to the world cup, but after a very unsuccessful PNC campaign the Canadian coaches must be feeling the pressure to shake up the squad.

Squad

Canada has yet to announce their World Cup Squad, which currently sites at 35 players:

Front Row
Ray Barkwill (Hooker – Ontario Blues), Hubert Buydens (Prop -Prairie Wolf Pack), Aaron Carpenter (Hooker – Cornish Pirates), Benoit Piffero (Hooker – Atlantic Rock), Djustice Sears-Duru (Prop – Leicester), Andrew Tiedemann (Prop – Plymouth Albion), Doug Wooldridge (Prop – Ontario Blues)

Locks
Brett Beukeboom (Cornish Pirates), Jamie Cudmore (Clermont Auvergne), , Evan Olmstead (Greater Sydney Rams),

Back Row
Tyler Ardron (Ospreys), Nanyak Dala (Prairie Wolf Pack), Kyle Gilmore (Flanker – Rotherham Titans), Jebb Sinclair (Western Province), John Moonlights (Canada 7s) Richard Thorpe (Flanker – London Welsh)

Scrumhalf
Phil Mack (Ospreys), Jamie Mackenzie (Ontario Blues), Gordon McRorie (Prairie Wolf Pack)

Flyhalf
Nathan Hirayama (BC Bears), Liam Underwood (Ontario Blues)

Centres
Nick Blevins (Prairie Wolf Pack), Connor Braid (London Scottish), Ciaran Hearn (Atlantic Rock), Conor Trainor (BC Bears)

Back 3
Jeff Hassler (Ospreys), Matt Evans (Wing – Cornish Pirates), Taylor Paris (Wing – Agen), Phil Mackenzie (Sales Sharks), DTH Van Der Merwe (Wing – Scarlets), Harry Jones (Fullback) – Canada 7s)

Summary

Canada will be disappointed with their run up to the World Cup so far. They would have been expecting a much more successful Pacific Nations Cup, where they lost all four of their matches. They will no doubt have set themselves the goal of beating both the USA and Japan, but were roundly defeated by the blossoms, and narrowly lost out to the USA in what was a very scrappy game. The team will be buoyed by decent score lines against both Tonga and Samoa, but will no doubt now be concerned about how they will perform in a very challenging pool. With only Romania realistically presenting an opportunity for a victory, Canada will have to find more cohesion if it doesn’t want to suffer sizeable defeats at the hands of the French and Irish.

If Canada did lose every one of their pool games, it would be the first time for them to do so since the World Cup began. All the more reason for them to find the cohesion they need before their meeting with Romania. The fixture is the last of their four games, so it’s a question of whether Canada wants to save their best team for last, or give their all from the start and turn up battered and bruised for their final encounter, but with some much needed experience to build on.

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