Rugby Canada has taken another step on its road to the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the naming of its 30-man squad for the tournament.
Rugby Canada has taken another step on its road to the 2011 Rugby World Cup with the naming of its 30-man squad for the tournament being played in New Zealand in September and October.
The squad will be led by captain Pat Riordan, a veteran of the team with 37 caps over nine years, and vice-captain Ander Monro.
Head coach Kieran Crowley says the selections, made by himself and assistant coach Geraint John, were the result of ongoing evaluations and took into consideration individual skills and positional coverage.
“It's been an exhaustive process that we really started three years ago,” Crowley said. “We used everything at our disposal to get where we have and it's probably the first time since I've been here that we've been able to take Canada's best team.”
Positionally, Crowley has opted for 16 forwards and 14 backs. While all positions were considered in detail, Crowley said there was a lot of discussion around the loose forwards.
“There's a lot of things that come into it like form, versatility and contributions,” he said.
In the forward pack, Crowley has opted for five props, two hookers, three locks and six loose forwards.
The front row is made up mostly of members of the BC Bears and Prairie Wolf Pack, with props Hubert Buydens, Scott Franklin, Jason Marshall, Andrew Tiedemann and Frank Walsh.
“You always need two specialist tight-heads and someone who can cover both and Tiedemann can do that,” Crowley said.
Captain Riordan and Bears' hooker Ryan Hamilton make up the remainder of the front row, with Marshall also able to fill in at the Number 2 slot.
The second row sees 2011 Churchill Cup squad members Brian Erichsen, Tyler Hotson and Jamie Cudmore reunite, with the latter two bringing their professional experience from clubs Plymouth Albion and ASM Clermont Auvergne respectively.
Aaron Carpenter leads the back row in terms of caps, with 36, and is joined by Nanyak Dala, Adam Kleeburger, Jeremy Kyne, Chauncey O'Toole and Jebb Sinclair.
“One of the biggest factors in those selections is we need two Number 7s in any game and we have O'Toole, Kleeberger and Dala that can all play 7,” Crowley said. “The addition of Jeremy Kyne is from a skills and attributes perspective, we needed an explosive players and a good ball carrier and he fits that role.”
The back-line selections feature three scrum halves, two fly halves, four centres, three wings and two fullbacks.
Crowley has three specialist scrum halfs in veteran Ed Fairhurst, Esher's Jamie Mackenzie and Sean White.
At fly half, vice captain Monro is joined by Nathan Hirayama, who despite being 23 is going to his second World Cup.
In the centres, Ryan Smith leads in experience with 45 caps and is joined by the youthful injections of Conor Trainor, Phil Mackenzie and Mike Scholz.
The wing and fullback positions are covered by a versatile group of players in Canada's second-highest points scorer ever, James Pritchard, DTH van der Merwe, Ciaran Hearn, young-gun Taylor Paris and Matt Evans.
Crowley also considers Evans an option at fly half.
The Canadian squad features a combined total of 441 caps and seven professional players. The bulk of the squad plays its highest level in the Canadian Rugby Championship.
Of the CRC selections, the BC Bears feature heavily with nine players, while six Prairie Wolf Pack players were selected, along with four from The Rock of the Atlantic provinces and three Ontario Blues men.
The squad also features a wide age range with Walsh the oldest at 35 years old and Paris the youngest, who turns 19 on Sunday.
“A lot of these players will be available for the next World Cup,” Crowley said. “Youth brings excitement, but you've also got to have that experience in the squad. We're pretty happy with the balance we've found.”
The Canadian Rugby World Cup team will feature 30 players and 16 staff, including four support coaches in addition to Crowley. Canada has also named eight non-travelling standby players.
From a staff perspective, team manager Rodger Swany said he was excited to see all the work off the field coming together as the 46-strong group prepares to travel for competition on the world stage.
“It's been a journey for the last four years and we're getting to the pinnacle in our schedule,” Swany said. “Everyone has their roles within the team. The staff are familiar with each other and it's a good team we have. Just like the coaching staff and the players, it's important we get things right off the field.”
The Canadian team faces a busy schedule, with fundraising events and training camps scheduled for Whistler and Nottawasaga prior to North American test matches in Toronto and Denver in August. The team then departs for Queensland, Australia mid August for the final training camp and games against the Queensland Selects and Australian Barbarians before flying to New Zealand.
Canada faces Tonga, France, Japan and New Zealand in its 2011 Rugby World Cup pool.
Canadian 2011 Rugby World Cup squad
Forwards (Home town, top club, home club)
Ryan Hamilton (Vancouver, BC, BC Bears/CRC, University of Victoria Vikes)
Pat Riordan (Burnaby, BC, BC Bears/CRC, Burnaby)
Hubert Buydens (Saskatoon, SK, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC)
Scott Franklin (Regina, SK, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, Castaway Wanderers)
Jason Marshall (Vancouver, BC, BC Bears/CRC, Capilano)
Andrew Tiedemann (St. Albert, AB, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, University of
Frank Walsh (St. John's, NL, The Rock/CRC, Vandals Rugby Club)
Jamie Cudmore (Squamish, BC, ASM Clermont Auvergne/PRO, Capilano)
Brian Erichsen (Vancouver, BC, B.C. Bears/CRC, Meralomas)
Tyler Hotson (Vancouver, BC, Plymouth/PRO, UBC Old Boy Ravens)
Aaron Carpenter (Brantford, ON, Plymouth Albion/PRO, Brantford Harlequins)
Nanyak Dala (Saskatoon, SK, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, Saskatoon Wild Oat)
Adam Kleeberger (White Rock,BC, Unattached, University of Victoria Vikes)
Jeremy Kyne (Wellington, NZ/Edmonton, AB, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, Druids)
Chauncey O'Toole (Bell Isle, NB, The Rock/CRC, Castaway Wanderers)
Jebb Sinclair (Fredericton, NB, The Rock/CRC, Castaway Wanderers)
Ed Fairhurst (Victoria, BC, BC Bears/CRC, UBC Old Boy Ravens)
Jamie Mackenzie (Oakville, ON, Esher/PRO, Oakville Crusaders)
Sean White (Victoria, BC, BC Bears/CRC, James Bay AA)
Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, BC, BC Bears/CRC, University of Victoria Vikes)
Ander Monro (Victoria, BC, Ontario Blues/CRC, Castaway Wanderers)
Ryan Smith (Calgary, AB, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, Calgary Irish)
Conor Trainor (Victoria, BC, BC Bears/CRC, UBC Old Boy Ravens)
Phil Mackenzie (Oakville, ON, Esher/PRO, Oakville Crusaders)
Mike Scholz (Oakville, ON, Prairie Wolf Pack/CRC, Oakville Crusaders)
DTH van der Merwe (Victoria, BC, Glasgow Warriors/PRO, James Bay AA)
Ciaran Hearn (Conception Bay, NL, The Rock/CRC, Castaway Wanderers)
Taylor Paris (Barrie, ON, Ontario Blues/CRC, Markham Irish Canadians)
Matt Evans (Duncan, BC, Cowichan RFC)
James Pritchard (Parkes, Australia, Bedford/PRO)
Kieran Crowley – Head coach
Geraint John – Assistant coach
Neil Barnes – Forwards coach
Mike Shelley – Scrum coach
Clive Griffiths – Defensive coach
Rodger Swany – Team manager
Peter Huigenbos – Analyst
Calum Ramsay – Analyst
Trevor Stone – Team services and logistics
Tom Kennedy – Team media manager
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