Canada mix it up

Canada coach Ric Suggitt has named a side balanced with veterans and youth for their opening Rugby World Cup game against Wales in Nantes on Sunday.

Morgan Williams, with obvious Welsh ancestry and 51 international caps as Canada’s most capped scrum-half, will captain his team for the thirteenth time.

The Canucks’ forward pack remains virtually unchanged from the last international match against Portugal that was won 42-12. The only change sees flanker David Biddle replace Adam Kleeberger in earning his second international cap.

The front-row sees veteran props of the 1999 and 2003 Rugby World Cups re-united once again four years on in France. Rod Snow will pack down at his fourth World Cup for Canada and Jon Thiel at his third.

Mike James, who captained Canada against Portugal, rejoins Luke Tait in the second-row. James recently retired following an eleven year professional rugby career with Perpignan and Stade Francais in the French Top 14.

The back-line remains intact from the Portugal test with place kicker James Pritchard on the right wing and DTH van der Merwe, with five tries in his three-match international Test career, on the left wing.

David Spicer and Craig Culpan pair-up for the fifth time in a very successful partnership that began back in the Churchill Cup in May.

Mike Pyke, who scored that memorable break-away intercept try against the All-Blacks in June in New Zealand, continues at full-back.

Of the team that last faced Wales in Millennium Stadium in November 2006 in a 61-26 loss, only six players are in the starting line-up.

“This is a different team to the one that lost (64-13 to Wales) last November,” said Suggitt.

“We have to try to do things to frustrate them and make them play uncharacteristic rugby.

“Reaching the quarter-finals like we did in 1991, that’s always been the benchmark.

“We keep that at the back of our minds, and we’re going after three wins this year, so we’ll try to raise that benchmark a little more.”

Canada: 15 Mike Pyke, 14 Dth van der Merwe, 13 Craig Culpan, 12 Dave Spicer, 11 James Pritchard, 10 Ander Monro, 9 Morgan Williams (c), 8 Sean-Michael Stephen, 7 Dave Biddle, 6 Jamie Cudmore, 5 Mike James, 4 Luke Tait, 3 Jon Thiel, 2 Pat Riordan, 1 Rod Snow
Replacements: 16 Aaron Carpenter, 17 Dan Pletch, 18 Mike Pletch, 19 Mike Burak, 20 Colin Yukes, 21 Ed Fairhurst, 22 Ryan Smith

Date: Saturday, September 8
Kick-off: 14:45 (13.45 BST)
Venue: Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
Referee: Alan Lewis (Ireland)
Touch judges: Dave Pearson (England), Hugh Watkins (Wales)
Television match official: Malcolm Changleng (Scotland)
Assessor: Bob Francis (New Zealand)


365 Digital

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