Preview: Canada v United States
WORLD CUP WARM-UP MATCH: Canada and the United States go head to head in their final outing before the global showpiece in Japan.
American coach Gary Gold’s match-day 23 features a number of players who will get crucial playing time before final selections for World Cup are made.
Starters Eric Fry and Joe Taufete’e, as well as reserves Olive Kilifi and Mike Te’o, return from injuries that kept them out of the Pacific Nations Cup.
Fry, Taufete’e, Kilifi and Te’o all last suited up against Canada, with Fry making his last appearance in June of 2018 and the rest suiting up for the Americas Championship finale in Seattle this March.
Captain Blaine Scully will lead the group in his 50th Test with the United States, an honour shared by only 10 other Eagles in US history.
Since he’s been Captain, Scully has made 17 Test appearances with the USA, helping the group to their most successful season in modern history in 2018.
Canadian coach Kingsley Jones has also named his matchday 23 that will take to the pitch on Saturday.
“Playing the USA, there’s no extra motivation needed,” said Jones.
“It’s been a tough bit of work preparing for the World Cup throughout the last few weeks and we’re looking forward to this test.
“It’s a good opportunity to get a scalp under our belt and take a good performance into the World Cup.”
Just a couple months ago, the Eagles faced Japan in a winner-takes-all finale to the Pacific Nations Cup 2019 where the Japanese prevailed 34-20.
The United States fought well past 80-minutes in spite of an impressive combination of line speed and precision in Japan’s attack.
The Eagles will face Canada for the third time this calendar year, having won their first meeting on March 30-25 and their match-up in June 47-19.
Canada can be expected to play much sharper, however, as Kingsley Jones has named his 31 player roster for World Cup following a string of high level matches in the Pacific Nations Cup and, most recently, against Leinster.
As a whole, Saturday’s contest will be primarily focused on cementing intricate and months-long preparation for World Cup; allowing the Eagles to ensure systems are set and players receive valuable game time.
USA and Canada have met 62 times in history where the Eagles have won 22 times, the Canadians have won 38 times and two matches have resulted in a draw.
— USA Rugby (@USARugby) September 5, 2019
“This game on Saturday will be very beneficial for us in not only cementing months-long preparation but allowing us to make our final selections for Rugby World Cup,”Eagles coach Gary Gold said.
“I am proud of the guys for how much work they’ve put in over these past several weeks as the heat and altitude in Colorado have provided the challenging setting we need to prepare at the highest level.
“Canada is a very well-coached team and have a number of experienced players within the squad who will be a serious threat to us if we don’t execute with precision. We need to approach this game in the same way we will approach our pool in Japan in terms of our focus, our mindset and our ability to respond under pressure.”
The USA’s 31-player squad for the World Cup in Japan will be announced on Sunday.
Canada: 15 Patrick Parfrey, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben LeSage, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Peter Nelson- Dungannon, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Tyler Ardron (captain), Gordon McRorie, 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Justin Blanchet, 5 Kyle Baillie, 4 Evan Olmstead, 3 Matthew Tierney, 2 Eric Howard, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Quattrin, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Mike Sheppard, 20 Matt Heaton, 21 Jamie Mackenzie, 22 Shane O’Leary, Cambellton, 23 Nick Blevins.
United States: 15 Will Hooley, 14 Blaine Scully (captain), 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Paul Lasike, 11 Martin Iosefo, 10 Will Magie, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Cam Dolan, 7 John Quill, 6 Hanco Germishuys, 5 Greg Peterson, 4 Ben Landry, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Joe Taufete’e, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 Dylan Fawsitt, 17 Olive Kilifi, 18 Paul Mullen, 19 Nate Brakeley, 20 Malon Al-Jiboori, 21 Shaun Davies, 22 Bryce Campbell, 23 Mike Te’o.
Date: Saturday, September 7
Venue: BC Place, British Columbia, Vancouver
Kick-off: 22.00 (19.00 Eastern Time; 07.00, Sunday, September 8 GMT)
Referee: Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Assistant referees: Mike Adamson (Scotland), Sean Gallagher (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)