08/08/2013 11:15 EDT | Updated 10/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Hard-nosed forward Jamie Cudmore returns to help Canada in World Cup qualifying

TORONTO - Veteran lock Jamie Cudmore has returned from France to help Canada try to qualify for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The 34-year-old from Squamish, B.C., who plays professionally for Clermont-Auvergne, has been named in coach Kieran Crowley's 26-man roster for the two-match World Cup qualifying series later this month against the U.S.

The total-points series opens Aug. 17 in Charleston, S.C., and wraps up a week later at BMO Field in Toronto.

The hard-nosed Cudmore has not played for Canada since the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He also saw action in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.

Most recently, he helped Clermont finish first in the French league — his team lost in the semifinals — and reach the final of the Heineken Cup where it was edged by Toulon.

Canada is currently ranked 15th in the world, three places above the U.S.

Fellow pros DTH Van Der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors), Phil Mackenzie (Sale Sharks) and Jeff Hassler (Ospreys) are set to make their 2013 national team debuts after missing out on the Pacific Nations Cup and Ireland matches through injury.

Aaron Carpenter captains the Canadian squad. He is joined in the back row by John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron, Nanyak Dala and London Irish's Jebb Sinclair.

Ryan Hamilton and Ray Barkwill have been named at hooker. The props are Andrew Tiedemann, Tom Dolezel, Jason Marshall and Doug Wooldridge with Hubert Buydens, who recently signed a pro deal with New Zealand ITM Cup team Manawatu Turbos, unavailable.

Joining Cudmore in the second row are a pair of pros: Tyler Hotson of London Scottish and Jon Phelan of Lille Metropole.

The scrum halves are Sean White and Phil Mack, who will work with the fly half trio of Nathan Hirayama, Liam Underwood and Harry Jones.

The other backs are Nick Blevins, Ciaran Hearn, Matt Evans and veteran James Pritchard.

The Canadian roster includes 12 players who play professionally overseas.

The Aug. 17 test is the 50th meeting between the two North American rivals. Canada leads the series 36-12-1.

The last American win was a World Cup qualifying match four years ago in Charleston. But the Canadian men rallied to win that series with a 41-18 victory in the return leg in Edmonton.

Should Canada fail to beat the Americans this time around, it has two other chances to book its World Cup place, first via playoff against a South American team and secondly through a repechage tournament.

Canada is coming off a pair of June losses — 16-13 to Japan and 40-14 to Ireland. Prior to that it recorded impressive wins over Fiji (20-18) and Tonga (36-27).



Tyler Ardron, Ospreys (Wales), Lakefield, Ont.; Ray Barkwill, Niagara Wasps RFC, Niagara Falls, Ont.; Nick Blevins, Calgary Hornets, Calgary; Aaron Carpenter (capt.), Cornish Pirates (England), Brantford, Ont.; Jamie Cudmore, ASM Clermont Auvergne (France), Squamish, B.C.; Nanyak Dala, Castaway Wanderers, Saskatoon; Tom Dolezel, London St. George's, London, Ont.; Matt Evans, Cornish Pirates (England), Maple Bay, B.C.; Ryan Hamilton, Capilano RFC, Vancouver; Jeff Hassler, Ospreys (Wales), Okotoks, Alta.; Ciaran Hearn, Castaway Wanderers, Conception Bay, N.L.; Nathan Hirayama, UVic Vikes, Richmond, B.C.; Tyler Hotson, London Scottish (England), Vancouver; Harry Jones, Capilano RFC, West Vancouver; Phil Mack, UVic Vikes, Victoria; Phil Mackenzie, Sale Sharks (England), Oakville, Ont.; Jason Marshall, Atlantique Stade Rochelais (France), Vancouver; John Moonlight, James Bay AA, Pickering, Ont.; Jon Phelan, Lille Metropole Rugby (France); James Pritchard, Bedford Blues (England), Parkes, Australia; Jebb Sinclair, London Irish (England), Fredericton; Andrew Tiedemann, Castaway Wanderers, St. Albert, Alta.; Liam Underwood, Queens University, Toronto; DTH Van Der Merwe, Glasgow Warriors (Scotland), Regina; Sean White, James Bay AA, Victoria; Doug Wooldridge, Lindsay RFC, Lindsay, Ont.

Head Coach: Kieran Crowley.

Assistant Coaches: Neil Barnes, Geraint John, Clive Griffiths, Mike Shelley.