SPORTS

Canada names rugby squad for November tours, coach mixes experience and youth

10/26/2012 06:54 EDT | Updated 12/26/2012 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Jebb Sinclair and Phil Mackenzie lead a 10-man overseas pro contingent in Canada's 26-man roster for the November rugby Tests.

The Canadian men, ranked 13th in the world, open their fall tour on Nov. 9 against No. 10 Samoa in Colwyn Bay, Wales. They then face No. 19 Russia on Nov. 17 in Colwyn Bay before tackling the New Zealand Maori on Nov. 23 in Oxford.

Back-rower Aaron Carpenter retains the captaincy.

Coach Kieran Crowley's roster includes 15 veterans from his 2011 World Cup squad but he has worked in some new talent from the sevens circuit and the recent IRB Americas Rugby Championship in Langford, B.C., which saw Canada field a domestic A side.

"We've lost a lost of experience, particularly in the backs, from the World Cup," said Crowley, citing Ed Fairhurst, Ander Monro and Ryan Smith.

"Some players are now going to have to step up and assume the mantle that those guys had. It (the squad) is a little bit in transition but it's also the best team available apart from a couple of injuries."

Two big names missing from the lineup are centre-wing DTH van der Merwe and veteran lock Jamie Cudmore.

Van der Merwe, who plays for Scotland's Glasgow Warriors, is sidelined with a pulled hamstring while Crowley has elected to rest Cudmore, who plays in France for ASM Clermont Auvergne.

At 34, the hard-nosed Cudmore has plenty of rugby under his belt. Injuries, suspension and other matters have restricted his play internationally, leaving Crowley to choose carefully when to summon him.

Cudmore remains in the national team picture, according to Crowley.

Back-rower Adam Kleeberger (back) is injured.

Sinclair has been one of Canada's rugby success stories in recent months. After being loaned out by London Irish, he has found a home in South Africa with the Stormers and Western Province.

Mackenzie, meanwhile, has settled in the top level of English rugby at London Welsh after stints in the second tier with Coventry and Esher.

The wing-centre scored his first try in the Aviva Premiership earlier this month against Saracens.

Hooker Ray Barkwill is a step closer to his dream of playing in a Test match after being called up as hooker along with Ryan Hamilton. The 32-year-old from Niagara Falls, Ont., earned his spot with his play on the Canada A side in the ARC.

"A reward for a lot of hard work," said Crowley who is looking for help in the No. 2 shirt with the retirement of former captain Pat Riordan.

After the November tour, the Canadian team returns to action with a series of summer Tests in June. Canada also faces a home-and-away World Cup qualifying series with the 17th-ranked U.S. Eagles.

The winner qualifies directly while the loser takes part in a playoff with a South American team.

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Canada

Tyler Ardron, Ontario Blues, Lakefield, Ont.; Ray Barkwill, Ontario Blues, Niagara Falls, Ont.; Nick Blevins, Prairie Wolf Pack, Calgary; Connor Braid, Pacific Tyee, Victoria; Brett Beukeboom, Plymouth Albion (England), Lindsay, Ont.; Hubert Buydens, Prairie Wolf Pack, Saskatoon; Aaron Carpenter, Plymouth Albion (England), Brantford, Ont.; Nanyak Dala, Prairie Wolf Pack, Saskatoon; Matt Evans, Cornish Pirates (England), Duncan, B.C.; Ryan Hamilton, Pacific Tyee, West Vancouver; Jeff Hassler, Prairie Wolf Pack, Okotoks, Alta.; Ciaran Hearn, The Rock, Conception Bay, N.L.; Tyler Hotson, London Scottish (England), Vancouver; Harry Jones, Pacific Tyee, North Vancouver; Phil Mack, Pacific Tyee, Victoria; Phil Mackenzie, London Welsh (England), Oakville, Ont.; Jason Marshall, Aurillac (France), North Vancouver; John Moonlight, Ontario Blues, Pickering, Ont.; Chauncey O’Toole, Brigand Ravens, Belleisle, N.B.; Taylor Paris, Glasgow Warriors (Scotland), Barrie, Ont.; Jon Phelan, The Rock, Montreal; James Pritchard, Bedford Blues (England), Parkes, Australia; Jebb Sinclair, London Irish (England), harters Settlement, N.B.; Andrew Tiedemann, FC Auch Gers (France), St. Albert, Alta.; Sean White, Pacific Tyee, Victoria; Doug Wooldridge, Ontario Blues, Lindsay, Ont.

Head Coach — Kieran Crowley.

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