Canada’s Senior men’s head coach Mark Anscombe has named his starting XV for Canada’s RISEAsOne June Series opener against Georgia in Calgary this Saturday.
The team will be captained by Brett Beukeboom while Shane O’Leary and Andrew Coe will make their test debuts for Canada. Anthony Luca could make his test debut as he is named as a replacement.
“A win would be huge,” Anscombe said. “It would be a great confidence booster for the team. The boys have come together well and are really excited and looking forward to the game. “
Djustice Sears-Duru and Jake Ilnicki start at prop with Benoit Piffero at hooker. Beukeboom is joined by Conor Keys at lock with Kyle Baillie and Matt Heaton at flanker. Burnaby’s Admir Cejvanovic starts at No. 8.
Victoria native Phil Mack starts at scrum-half with O’Leary at fly-half. Sean Duke makes his first test start since November 2014 on the wing with Dan Moor lining up on the opposite side. Guiseppe du Toit and Conor Trainor start at centre with Coe at fullback in his test debut.
Aaron Carpenter could tie Al Charron’s all-time cap record of 76 for Canada as he is named as a replacement.
With two Rugby World Cup qualifiers against the USA later in the month, Anscombe will use the match against Georgia, and next weeks clash with Romania, as a tune-up to put Canada in the best possible position, with the nation’s top 23 players available, for these crucial qualification matches.
“We’ve got four test matches in consecutive weeks, with the final two being Rugby World Cup qualifiers. We have to look at our entire squad and how to best utilize everyone and how we manage game time for our players.
“It’s important we do that right. We don’t want to be too dinged up for our home and away qualifiers against USA because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Canada will face Romania on June 17 in Edmonton at Ellerslie Rugby Park before returning to Ontario to face the USA on June 24 at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field in the first leg of their Rugby World Cup qualifier before heading to San Diego for the second leg on July 1.
“We are entering an important period in the Rugby World Cup cycle and have four very tough fixtures this month,” said Jim Dixon, Rugby Canada’s General Manager of Rugby Operations and Performance. “There is no doubt Georgia and Romania are going to offer a very physical challenge. It is therefore vital Mark Anscombe and his coaching team manage the entire squad, to ensure we are healthy, and most critically, as competitive as possible in the Rugby World Cup qualifiers against the USA.
“We have assembled a strong squad and like all of our fans, I'm very much looking forward to four strong test performances, starting this weekend against Georgia.”
Canada and USA will be playing for the right to be Americas 1 in the 2019 Rugby World Cup where they have been drawn into a pool with England, France, Argentina and Oceanic 2.
Tickets for Canada’s three homes test matches are still available and Saturday’s game will be shown LIVE on Rugby Canada’s Facebook page.
Canada Team to Face Georgia (Name, club, hometown):
- Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Benoit Piffero – (Blagnac Sporting Club/Atlantic Rock) Montreal, QC
- Jake Ilnicki – (Northampton/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
- Brett Beukeboom, captain – (Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
- Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
- Kyle Baillie – (London Scottish/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
- Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
- Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
- Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Shane O’Leary – (Unattached) Cork, Ireland
- Sean Duke – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Guiseppe Du Toit – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC
- Conor Trainor – (USON Nevers/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
- Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
- Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
- Anthony Luca – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
- Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Liam Chisholm – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Kenora, ON
- Aaron Carpenter – (Doncaster Knights/Ontario Blues) Brantford, ON
- Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON
- Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Red Deer, AB
- Ciaran Hearn – (London Irish/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL