It's midsummer in Toronto but, with the World Cup looming, Canada are playing the USA Eagles for the Can-Am Trophy in a match which could be close.
Canada are ranked 16th on the IRB's rankings, the USA 17th. Both teams are heading for the World Cup in New Zealand, and so for both this is an important friendly and so the approach is serious and the selections as good as they can be.
Eagles coach, Eddie O'Sullivan says: “It’s important that we get a solid start to this August tour, with the Rugby World Cup (RWC), only weeks away. The squad has switched on right from the start, and realise that their RWC campaign is in their hands.
“Some players were not available during the Churchill Cup, so this is our first real opportunity to work those combinations that will allow us to achieve our goals."
The USA still had two players unavailable through injury - fullback Chris Wyles and wing James Paterson.
Canada's coach Kieran Crowley said: "We always have very physical games against the US. It's always pretty abrasive and you've got to try to get that physical dominance up front.”
Crowley has named an unchanged forward pack from Canada's last game against the England Saxons in the Churchill Cup Final, with some tweaking in the backline to mix youth with experience and attacking prowess out wide.
At the World Cup Canada are in Pool A with Tonga, Japan, France and New Zealand.
USA are in Pool C with Australia, Ireland, Italy and Russia
Canada: 15 Matt Evans (Cowichan), 14 Phil Mackenzie (Oakville Crusaders), 13 DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland), 12 Mike Scholz (Oakville Crusaders), 11 James Pritchard (Bedford, England), 10 Ander Monro (Castaway Wanderers), 9 Ed Fairhurst (UBC Old Boys Ravens), 8 Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion, England), 7 Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock), 6 Jebb Sinclair (The Rock), 5 Brian Erichsen (BC Bears/CRC), 4 Jamie Cudmore (Clermont Auvergne, France), 3 Jason Marshall (BC Bears), 2 Pat Riordan (C), (BC Bears), 1 Hubert Buydens (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Replacemnts: 16 Ryan Hamilton (BC Bears), 17 Scott Franklin (Prairie Wolf Pack), 18 Tyler Hotson (Plymouth, England), 19 Adam Kleeberger (BC Bears), 20 Sean White (BC Bears), 21 Ryan Smith (Prairie Wolf Pack), 22 Ciaran Hearn (The Rock),
Coaches: Kieran Crowley, Rodger Swany, Geraint John, Neil Barnes, Clive Griffiths, Peter Huigenbos
USA Eagles: 15 Blaine Scully (Unattached), 14 Takudzwa Ngwenya (Biarritz, France), 13 Paul Emerick (Life University), 12 Andrew Suniula (Chicago Griffins), 11 Kevin Swiryn (Agen, France), 10 Nese Malifa (Glendale), 9 Mike Petri (New York Athletic Club), 8 Nic Johnson (Unattached), 7 Todd Clever (Suntory Sungoliath, Japan) (captain),6 Louis Stanfill (Unattached), 5 Hayden Smith (Saracens, England), 4 John van der Giessen (Unattached), 3 Shawn Pittman (London Welsh, England), 2 Phillip Thiel (Life University), 1 Mate Moeakiola (Bobigny, France)
Replacements: 16 Chris Biller (San Francisco Golden Gate), 17 Eric Fry (Las Vegas Blackjacks), 18 Iñaki Basauri (Perigueux, France), 19 JJ Gagiano (University of Cape Town, South Africa), 20 Tim Usasz (Nottingham, England), 21 Roland Suniula (Boston Rugby), 22 Tai Enosa (Belmont Shore),
Coaches: Eddie O'Sullivan, Dave Hodges, Matt Sherman, Mike Tolkin, Dan Payne
Date: Saturday, 6 August 2011
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto. The BMO Field is the homeground for Canada's soccer team. It seats 20 000.
Expected weather conditions: 20% chance of rain with a high of 27°C , dropping to 21°C.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: David Smortchevsky (Canada) , Bryan Arciero (Canada)
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