Preview: Scotland v Canada

Fri, 13 Jun 2014 07:59
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Scotland's new regime under Vern Cotter is off to a great start as he looks to take the momentum forward against the Canadians.

Scotland's new regime under Vern Cotter is off to a great start as he looks to take the momentum forward against the Canadians.
 Cotter has made four changes to the starting side for Saturday's summer tour Test match against Canada in Toronto.
Two of the four are injury-enforced, with lock Grant Gilchrist and centre Peter Horne replacing injured Jim Hamilton and Duncan Taylor.
Horne's outing will be his first start for the national team, having made two substitute appearances on last year's summer tour.
A knee injury sustained in his second Test against South Africa curtailed the 24-year-old playmaker's international involvement this season.
He returned to action for Glasgow Warriors in April and now aims to extend his international honours in the three remaining summer Tests.
Gilchrist will make his third start and sixth appearance for Scotland, with the added responsibility of calling the lineouts alongside Richie Gray.
The remaining changes see Kelly Brown and Moray Low replace last week's debutant back-row Blair Cowan and prop Geoff Cross, who start on the bench.
"Peter [Horne] was due to fly out for the second part of the tour but, because of injury, we're getting a look at him a week earlier than we thought we would," Cotter said.
"He's a specialist No.12 and he gets an opportunity to slot straight in, having worked hard and asked a lot of questions since arriving.
"Grant came on after 35 minutes against USA and played very well. He's a leader within the group through his communication and his performances and was a good example of someone who's keen and wants to do well for the team."
Canada Head Coach Kieran Crowley has made three changes to his starting roster for Saturday’s International Test Match against Scotland.
Canada were defeated 34-25 last Saturday and will also face USA next Saturday in Sacramento, California; both games are part of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup campaign. 
In the forwards, Aaron Carpenter slots into the front row at hooker to join props Hubert Buydens and Jason Marshall.
Canada’s engine room stays unchanged with the duo of Tyler Hotson and Jamie Cudmore returning to action on Saturday.
Jebb Sinclair will make his first appearance for Canada this year at blindside flank after missing the Japan game with a leg strain and will join Japan try-scorer John Moonlight and Captain Tyler Ardron in Canada’s backrow.
“It feels great to be back. I’m thankful to our physiotherapy team for working hard with me over the last week to help me get fit,” said Sinclair following the roster announcement.  
Fiery scrumhalf Phil Mack will get the nod on Saturday and provide the link to fellow Canada Sevens stalwart Harry Jones, who will lead the backs at No.10.
The rest of Canada’s backline remains untouched with the duo of Nick Blevins and Ciaran Hearn in the centres and Jeff Hassler, Taylor Paris and James Pritchard rounding out the back three.
Substitutes for Canada include Ray Barkwill, Andrew Tiedemann and Jake Ilnicki in the front row, and Kyle Gilmour, Jon Phelan, Gord McRorie, Connor Braid and DTH van der Merwe.
With next year’s Rugby World Cup edging closer by the day, Saturday’s test match will be another big opportunity for Canada to face a similar side to what they will see next year in the UK.
Three out of four of Canada’s Pool D World Cup opponents – Ireland, France and Italy – regularly face Scotland in the annual Six Nations competition and play a similar brand of European rugby.
Despite the similarities between Scotland and next year’s opponents, Sinclair isn’t looking beyond this weekend’s challenge.
“None of us are thinking about next year’s World Cup; all our attention is focused on Saturday at and we’re hoping to replicate our fast start from last weekend against Japan.
We need to fix a few defensive errors that let us down in the second half,” said the Fredericton.
“I think Scotland’s game plan matches up well with how Canadians like to play – big, direct, hard ball runners – and they have a strong set piece that they’ve turned around recently under (Vern) Cotter,” added Sinclair.
“We’re excited for the challenge and looking forward to playing in front of a packed house on Saturday.”
In order to have success on Saturday, Crowley’s outfit will need to first and foremost establish a physical presence and eliminate costly mistakes.
During last weekend’s loss to Japan, Canada gave away 15 points from penalties off the boot of fullback Ayumu Goromaru.
The Scots are fresh off a 24-6 victory over USA in Houston, Texas in newly appointed coach Vern Cotter’s debut. 
Scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw was good for three conversions and one penalty for nine of Scotland’s points against USA, with tries also coming from fullback Stuart Hogg, winger Tim Visser and one penalty try. 
Prediction: In this clash of the Minows Scotland are a relativly big fish, they are used to playing (and losing) to bigger opposition in the Six Nations but against Canada, they should be supreme. Cotter has kicked off his campaign well with a win over the USA and he will want to be keep the momentum flowing. Scotland by 20+
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Gordon Reid. 
Replacments: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Ruaridh Jackson
23 Max Evans.
Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Harry Jones, 9 Phil Mack, 8 Tyler Ardron (captain), 7 John Moonlight, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Jamie Cudmore, 4 Tyler Hotson, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Aaron Carpenter, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Andrew Tiedemann, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Kyle Gilmour, 20 Jon Phelan, 21 Gordon McRorie, 22 Connor Braid, 23 DTH van der Merwe.
Date: Saturday, June 14
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
Kick-off: 14.10 (18.10 GMT 19.10pm BST)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Nick Ricono (USA)
TMO: Davey Ardrey (USA)