Canada bring out their best

Canadian coach Ric Suggitt has revealed his hand for the one-off test against New Zealand in Hamilton on Saturday, predictably naming his strongest available line-up.

Only the two French-based locks Mike James and Jamie Cudmore – late defections from the touring party after last weekend’s French Top 14 championship final in Paris – are missing from the first choice selection.

The match will have special significance for Auckland-raised centre Craig Culpan, who has overcome an ankle injury to earn just his second full cap.

The run-on side features four squad members involved in Canada’s last meeting with the All Blacks – a 68-6 loss in World Cup pool play at Melbourne in 2003.

Morgan Williams, a non-playing reserve that day, captains the side from scrum-half.

Prop Kevin Tkachuk, fly-half Ryan Smith and flank Colin Yukes all saw game time against the All Blacks at the Telstra Dome.

Suggitt has opted to name five forwards on the bench, leaving utilities Dean Van Camp and Ed Fairhurst to cover the backline.

Among the forward reserves are identical twin props Dan and Mike Pletch.

The starting line-up features just four members who turn out for Canadian teams – the remainder are contracted to British, French or Italian clubs.

Canada also play a match against the New Zealand Under-21 side in Rotorua next Friday, before returning home.

Canada: 15 Mike Pyke, 14 Justin Mensah-Coker, 13 Craig Culpan, 12 David Spicer, 11 James Pritchard, 10 Ryan Smith, 9 Morgan Williams (c), 8 Sean-Michael Stephen, 7 Stan Mckeen, 6 Colin Yukes, 5 Mike Burak, 4 Luke Tait, 3 Scott Franklin, 2 Pat Riordan, 1 Kevin Tkachuk.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Carpenter, 17 Dan Pletch, 18 Mike Pletch, 19 Josh Jackson, 20 Adam Kleeberger, 21 Dean van Camp, 22 Ed Fairhurst.

Date: Saturday, 16 June
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.35 (07.35 GMT)
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)
Touch judges: Craig Joubert (South Africa), George Ayoub (Australia)
Television match official: Paul Marks (Australia)
Assessor: Bob Francis (New Zealand)

 

365 Digital

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