Canada Names Side for World Cup Qualifier
Thursday Jul 2, 2009 in Canada National Team - Men
Speedster DTH van der Merwe threatens from outside center. Ian Muir photo.
Canada men’s national team head coach Kieran Crowley has named his starting lineup to take on the USA Saturday in Charleston, SC.
This is the first of a two-game, home-and-away series, with the overall winner taking the Americas #1 seed to the 2011 World Cup.
“It’s time together and knowing the systems and those sorts of things,” explains Crowley on the team’s development over the past few weeks. “And coming together as far as how we want to play. Obviously there is a certain way we want to play against the States and we have been working hard on that in the (meeting) room as well as out on the field.”
One of the clear contenders to have cemented a starting spot has been DTH van der Merwe – the former wing who has found a new home in the centers – this weekend playing outside veteran Ryan Smith. Van der Merwe has been a polished performer, scoring two tries against Argentina and also getting a solo effort against Georgia.
Smith, in particular, is pleased to have a player of van der Merwe’s ability on his shoulder.
“DTH goes quite well,” said Smith. “He is fast and he is fit. It makes it easy for inside backs when you have guys that can run lines off of you like that.”
Crowley also has his big partnership of Tyler Hotson and Mike Burak in the engine room – giving him a stable lineout platform.
In the front row Canada welcomes back Kevin Tkachuk for his 48th start – the Glasgow Warrior player back from a slight leg knock at the Churchill Cup. Pat Riordan will captain the side from the hooker spot and Dan Pletch wins his 20th cap at tighthead prop.
In the back row Crowley has lost the services of Stan McKeen’s size in the lineup, with the Oxford law student suffering a calf injury this week. Jebb Sinclair, who made his debut as a second row against Argentina at the Churchill Cup, will return to his favored flanker spot and will work with the outstanding Adam Kleeberger. Aaron Carpenter doggedly hangs onto the No. 8 jersey for a fifth straight week, showing he is deserving of his first pro contract at Coventry after the summer series concludes.
Ed Fairhurst is the scrumhalf working with flyhalf Ander Monro and making his 46th test appearance. Justin Mensah-Coker and Matt Evans lock down the wing spots.
Evans had four tries in three games at the Churchill Cup.
The reserves bench is heavy with front row cover as a hot Independence Day is expected to be taxing on the big men. Frank Walsh, Mike Pletch and Andrew Tiedemann are all front row men expected to be used.
Crowley makes it five forwards on the bench, with lock Stu Ault and flanker Nanyak Dala also there. The two backs will be expected to handle a lot. Phil Mack and Ciaran Hearn round out the subs.
Canada vs USA
1. Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors/Regina, SK)
2. Pat Riordan (University of Victoria/Burnaby Lake, BC)
3. Dan Pletch (Niagara Thunder/London, ON)
4. Mike Burak (Unattached/Vancouver, BC)
5. Tyler Hotson (UBC Old Boy Ravens/Vancouver, BC)
6. Jebb Sinclair (Castaway Wanderers/Frederiction, NB)
7. Adam Kleeberger (University of Victoria/White Rock, BC)
8. Aaron Carpenter (Coventry RFC/Brantford, ON)
9. Ed Fairhurst (Cornish Pirates/Victoria, BC)
10. Ander Monro (Colorno, Italy)
11. Justin Mensah-Coker (Moseley/Vancouver, BC)
12. Ryan Smith (Calgary Irish/Caledon, ON)
13. DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors/Regina, SK)
14. Matt Evans (Hartpury College/Duncan, BC)
15. James Pritchard (Bedford RFC)
16. Mike Pletch (Velox Valhallians/London, ON)
17. Andrew Tiedemann (University of Victoria/St. Albert, AB)
18. Frank Walsh (Vandals RFC/St. John's, NFLD)
19. Stu Ault (Mosely RFC/Perth, ON)
20. Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers/Saskatoon, SK)
21. Phil Mack (James Bay AA/Victoria, BC)
22. Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers/Conception Bay, Nfld)
Head Coach: Kieran Crowley
Assistant Coach: John Tait
Skills Coach: Morgan Williams
Strength and Conditioning: Tyler Goodale
Video Analyst: Peter Huigenbos
Physiotherapist: Mike Racine
Massage Therapist: Sadie Deschenes
Medical: Dr. Ken Arthur
Manager: Rodger Swany
Communications Manager: Doug Crosse