Canada make one change for New Zealand

Canada have stuck to their game plan of fielding their strongest available team for every Rugby World Cup match by naming a full-strength line up for Sunday’s Pool A match against New Zealand.

Five players named by coach Kieran Crowley on Friday have been unable to train in the five days since Canada’s disappointing 23-23 draw with Japan and will have their fitness tested before being confirmed in the match-day squad.

Only one player, fullback James Pritchard, was unavailable because of injury and his absence prompts one change of personnel, and one positional change. Matt Evans moves from wing to fullback and Conor Trainor joins the team on the right wing.

Trainor started from the bench against Japan and his promotion forces one change to the Canada reserves. Crowley has gone for five forwards and two backs, preferring flanker Nanyak Dala ahead of Wellington-born backrower Jeremy Kyne.

Canada’s policy of sticking to its strongest lineup for all four of its pool matches means that five members of its 30-man squad will not even suit up at the tournament.

“Coming to this World Cup we decided to look at every game on its own. It is a World Cup after all so we took the attitude that we were going to field our best team in every game,” Crowley said. “If I was completely honest with you five of them didn’t train today.

“I think it’s a fact that we had a four day backup after each of the first two games and it took probably five or six days for them to come down mentally.

“We’ve got a five-day turnaround for this particular one and those guys who didn’t train today have to be able to get through tomorrow to play on Sunday. We’ve got confidence they all will.”

Crowley said Canada had made steady improvement throughout the tournament. He was happy with its win over Tonga and with it’s performance against France, though it conceded points heavily at the end of each half.

The draw against Japan was disappointing – it was a match Canada had expected to win – but Crowley said his team had generally acquitted itself well.

“As far as how we’ve gone I’m reasonably pleased but I would rather be sitting here having had three wins because that’s how we approach it,” he said.


Matt Evans, Conor Trainor, DTH van der Merwe, Ryan Smith, Phil Mackenzie, Ander Monro, Ed Fairhurst; Aaron Carpenter, Chauncey O’Toole, Adam Kleeberger, Jamie Cudmore, Jebb Sinclair, Jason Marshall, Pat Riordan (captain), Hubert Buydens.

Reserves: Ryan Hamilton, Scott Franklin, Tyler Hotson, Andrew Tiedemann, Nanyak Dala, Sean White, Nathan Hirayama.

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