Canadian head coach Kieran Crowley has announced his starting team to face Romania in the fourth and final pool match of the 2015 Rugby World Cup (RWC) against Romania on Tuesday in Leicester, England.
18th ranked Canada will be determined to end their 2015 RWC campaign with a positive result against 17th seeded Romania. The two nations have been on the receiving end of three and two pool defeats respectively, with the Europeans rounding things off against Italy on Sunday.
Despite defeats in their previous three pool games, Canada has shown great determination against Tier 1 competition, pushing Ireland, Italy and France for 80 minutes while selling out each stadium they’ve played in and producing exciting, fast-paced rugby.
Their final game on Tuesday in Leicester will see them face off against a fellow Tier 2 nation and with a win, and the right combination of results elsewhere, Canada can still finish third and seal automatic qualification to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Coach Crowley has had to make five changes to his starting XV that lost to France last Thursday. Jamie Cudmore will once again captain Canada in the absence of injured Tyler Ardron. Coming into the side is hooker Ray Barkwill, scrum-half Gordon McRorie, back-row pair Jebb Sinclair and John Moonlight, winger Jeff Hassler and fullback Harry Jones.
On the bench, Jake Ilnicki will get his first opportunity to play in the tournament while Canada’s all-time leading point scorer James Pritchard may get a chance to add to his 607 points if the opportunity presents itself.
As mentioned, the recovery in between games hasn’t been ideal for Canada, who enter this clash with just four days’ rest while Romania will have had eight. After Tuesday’s test match Canada will have played three games in 11 days.
Canada and Romania have met three times since the turn of the century and all of those international fixtures have narrowly gone the way of the hardened Europeans.
Their most recent two meetings took place in 2013 and 2014, with Romania winning 21-20 and 18-9 off the boot of Florin Vlaicu. However, all those three games were played in Bucharest so on neutral soil coach Crowley is hoping his side can pick up a first win over this opponent since 1995.
“They bring a very physical game,” he said of the Romanians. “Like all of the teams we have played against at the Rugby World Cup they have got a strong scrum and are effective in the drive, so we know they are going to bring that physical approach to the clash and we have to match that and also put our own game on them.”
Coach Crowley is confident that the Canadian game plan, which has won them thousands of fans at the tournament, is capable of doing the damage on Tuesday, with a real drive continuing throughout the squad to get the reward all their hard work deserves, a win.
“We have the team to win, for sure,” he continued. “We came here to win games and haven’t yet been able to do that and we’ll approach this game exactly the same way we have the others. We’ve done our homework, worked hard at training and hopefully we can get the result.”
Tuesday’s test match against Romania kicks off at 4:45pm local time (11:45am ET/8:45am PT) and can be seen LIVE on TSN, Rugby Canada’s official broadcast provider.
(Rugby Canada Media Release)