Canada veteran Tkachuk to face Irish

Canada’s veteran prop forward Kevin Tkachuk was named Wednesday in the side for Saturday’s Test against Ireland at Limerick’s Thomond Park.

The 40-times capped Tkachuk, who plays his club rugby for Scottish side Glasgow, is one of several British-based players in a Canada team captained by hooker Pat Riordan.

Bedford full-back James Pritchard, Cornish Pirates scrum-half Ed Fairhurst and Plymouth Albion flanker Sean Michael Stephen all play for clubs in England’s second-tier National League One.

Adding to the multi-national dimension of the Canada team is Josh Jackson, a lock who packs down for French second division side Bordeaux.

Canada have never beaten Ireland in three previous internationals although, when they last met, they played out a 27-27 draw in Toronto in 2000 when then novice outside-half Ronan O’Gara rescued the Irish.

“It is a big test of this team – that is why they are called Tests,” said Canada coach Kieran Crowley, the former New Zealand full-back.

“We have to see if the systems we are putting in place will stand up to what Ireland has to offer,” added Crowley, whose side warmed up for this weekend’s match with a 21-13 win over Portugal last Saturday.

Canada team announced Wednesday to play Ireland in Saturday’s rugby union international at Thomond Park, Limerick

(1715GMT): 15-1) James Pritchard; Ciaran Hearn, Bryn Keys, Ryan Smith, Justin Mensah-Coker; Ander Monro, Ed Fairhurst; Aaron Carpenter, Adam Kleeberger, Sean Michael Stephen; Josh Jackson, Mike Burak; Jon Thiel, Pat Riordan, Kevin Tkachuk

Replacements: Mike Pletch, Frank Walsh, Tyler Hotson, Jebb Sinclair, Morgan Williams, Matt Evans, Phil Mackenzie

Sapa-AFP –

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