Hans de Goede, who captained Canada at the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, was a force to be reckoned with — a hard man who picked up some extra cash in "So You Think You're Tough?" boxing tournaments.
On Saturday, it's the turn of De Goede's son Thyssen to step into the spotlight when he makes his test debut for 17th-ranked Canada against No. 13 Japan in San Jose at the six-team Pacific Nations Cup.
At a time when the sport was amateur and Canadian test matches were few and far between, Hans de Goede represented Canada 24 times from 1974 to 1987. The hard-nosed forward also played for famed Cardiff and was twice named to World XV squads.
The younger de Goede, who has already represented Canada in sevens and played for the Canadian under-18 and under-20 teams, will start at flanker with English-based veteran Richard Thorpe, while Tyler Ardron captains the side at No. 8.
"There's a bit of everything in there," Canadian coach Kieran Crowley, in a statement, said of his starting 15. "It's not the World Cup squad as there are some guys we still need to have a look at.
"There are some guys who aren't here due to various reasons so it's an opportunity for some of these guys to put their hands up."
The six-foot-three, 230-pound de Goede is one of them. The 27-year-old from Victoria has worked long and hard to crack the Canadian 15-man squad.
"It's been a while but I made it. So yeah it feels really good. I'm very happy," he said from San Jose on the eve of the match.
De Goede knows a lot is riding on Saturday, with some key veterans unavailable. It's a chance to shine ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
He says his father has played the role of parent rather than rugby icon leading up to his debut.
"He had words of wisdom when I was younger getting into rugby, but the game has changed so much and he knows that. So really just him always being in my corner and supporting me is enough. And my step-mom, of course, too — all my family."
De Goede's stepmother is Steph White, Canada's first-ever women's captain.
Crowley, who will name his Rugby World Cup roster after the Pacific Nations Cup, is waiting on the health status of veterans like Jamie Cudmore, Jebb Sinclair, Taylor Paris, Nanyak Dala and Jason Marshall.
Against Japan, Canada will start a front row of Hubert Buydens, Ray Barkwill and Doug Wooldridge ahead of locks Jon Phelan and Brett Beukeboom.
Gordon McRorie starts at scrum half and Liam Underwood at fly half with Connor Braid and Ciaran Hearn in the centres. DTH Van Der Merwe and Jeff Hassler play on the wing with Matt Evans at fullback.
Sevens stars Phil Mack and Nathan Hirayama are on the bench, Crowley gave fellow Pan Am Games winners John Moonlight, Harry Jones and Conor Trainor the weekend off.
Callum Morrison, looking for his test debut, is also among the reserves.
Canada lost 34-25 to Japan the last time they met, in the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup in Burnaby, B.C.
After the Japan game, Canada plays No. 12 Tonga on July 24 in Burnaby, B.C., and No. 9 Samoa on July 29 in Toronto. The competition wraps up Aug. 3 with playoff matches in Burnaby.
Hubert Buydens, Castaway Wanderers, Saskatoon; Ray Barkwill, Castaway Wanderers, Niagara Falls, Ont.; Doug Wooldridge, Lindsay RFC, Lindsay, Ont.; Brett Beukeboom, Cornish Pirates (England), Lindsay, Ont.; Jon Phelan, Doncaster Knights (England), Montreal; Thyssen de Goede, James Bay AA, Victoria; Richard Thorpe, London Welsh (England), Beckenham, England; Tyler Ardron (capt.), Ospreys Wales), Lakefield, Ont.; Gordon McRorie, Calgary Hornets, Calgary; Liam Underwood, Balmy Beach RFC, Toronto; DTH Van Der Merwe, Scarlets (Wales), Regina; Connor Braid, B.C. Bears, Victoria; Ciaran Hearn, Castaway Wanderers, Conception Bay, N.L.; Jeff Hassler, Ospreys (Wales), Okotoks, Alta.; Matt Evans, Cornish Pirates, Maple Bay, B.C.
Aaron Carpenter, Cornish Pirates (England) Brantford, Ont.; Djustice Sears-Duru, Oakville Crusaders, Oakville, Ont.; Andrew Tiedemann, Plymouth Albion, St. Albert, Alta.; Tyler Hotson, Doncaster Knights (England), Vancouver; Callum Morrison, UBC Old Boys Ravens, Victoria; Phil Mack, James Bay AA, Victoria; Nathan Hirayama, UVIC Vikes, Vancouver; Phil Mackenzie, Sale Sharks, Oakville, Ont.