Preview: Ireland A v Canada

Two Saskatchewan-based players will earn their first starts for Canada when the Canucks takes to the field against Ireland A on Saturday at Sandy Park, Exeter.

Coach Ric Suggitt and his staff have named 23 year-old Nigerian-born flanker Nanyak Dala and 26 year-old tight-head prop Scott Franklin as the only new caps on the Canada side composed of eight European-based players and seven domestic players.

Dala came to Canada via South Africa in 2003 having attended Glenwood High School in Durban and playing for the Glenwood Falcons RFC

He played fly-half for Natal U19 winning ‘Player of the Year’ honours in 2002 and later was named MVP for the Natal U20 side
After emigrating in 2003, he won a place on the Rugby Canada Super League Prairie Fire team, which reached the national finals in 2005 and 2006

“We have know about Nanyak for a long time and have just been waiting for his Canadian residency to allow him into the programme,” said Suggitt.

“He has skyrocketed since we had him at a camp at Shawnigan Lake in January Now we want to see how he performs against Ireland A on Saturday,”

Scott Franklin attended Notre Dame College from 1994-1998 where he earned awards for his ice hockey and gridiron football prowess and played rugby for Saskatchewan at U17, U18 and U19 levels

He also played for Canada at the U17, U19 and U23 levels He attended the U23 Academy, touring Germany and played for the Regina Prairie Fire and the Victoria Crimson Tide in the RCSL

More recently, Franklin changed positions from flanker to tigh-thead prop and toured New Zealand with Canada A in 2006

A strong game for Canada West in the April 2007 North America 4 competition won him a place on this Canada 2007 Churchill Cup squad

“Scott has improved enormously this past while and now we’re coming to crunch time regarding World Cup selection so we want to see what Scott can do at this level,” said Suggitt.

Franklin will pack down on the right side of the front-row with veteran hooker Pat Riordan and loose-head Dan Pletch.

Behind them a professional second-row in Mike Burak, just signed for his second season with Pau, and Josh Jackson of the Stade Bordelais club

The back-row sees Dala working with two very experienced players in Agen’s Colin Yukes at blind-side and Cornish Pirate’s Stan McKeen at number eight This trio should provide a very dynamic and speedy combination with the ability to provide wide-ranging cover and counter attacking potential.

Morgan Williams will captain Canada for the tenth time as the Albi professional continues his run of leadership that began back in 2005 when he led Canada to a win over Argentina in Calgary.

Interestingly he will form a half-back combination once again with Montauban professional Ryan Smith, who returns to the fly-half spot for the first time since that match Nevertheless, the Caledon man has been playing well all season.

The vastly improved David Spicer combines in the centre with a surprising, but worthy, choice in Craig Culpan who earns his first start for Canada

Canada’s kicking machine James Pritchard will play right-wing following on his three penalties and two conversions against Wales last November in his last game for Canada

Port Perry’s Dean Van Camp earns his second starting spot on left wing He earned his first against Japan in 2005 playing in the centre against scored a try on his debut.

The rangy Mike Pyke returns to the full-back spot where he last played against the USA in St John’s, Newfoundland, in August 2006

He scored a superb try in that game and added another to his three-try total against Wales in Cardiff last November while playing on the wing

“Last year I thought Ireland A did very well to take third place from the Saxons,” said Suggitt on his opposition.

“They drive the line-out well, they turn slow ball into quick

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