TORONTO — Veteran forward Jamie Cudmore will captain Canada against the Glasgow Warriors on Saturday in Halifax, the last game on home soil for the Canadian men before they leave for the Rugby World Cup in Britain.
Coach Kieran Crowley's team will play warmup matches against No. 13 Georgia and No. 9 Fiji in England before opening the tournament Sept. 19 in Cardiff against No. 2 Ireland.
Canada, ranked 18th in the world, will then face No. 15 Italy, No. 7 France and No. 17 Romania in Group D play.
The Canadian men could use a win. They have lost their last seven test matches and are 1-10 in test play since the start of 2014.
Saturday might help in that regard. The Warriors, while defending Guinness Pro 12 champions, are in exhibition mode ahead of their Sept. 6 season opener.
Saturday's game does not count as an official test match, allowing Crowley to name a 25-man squad.
The contest is a homecoming of sorts for Canadian backs DTH van der Merwe and Connor Braid.
Van der Merwe, now with Scarlets in Wales, spent six seasons with the Warriors and is their all-time leading try scorer with 33. Braid, currently unattached, also played for Glasgow last season.
Both start for Canada on Saturday — van der Merwe on the wing and Braid at centre.
The 36-year-old Cudmore makes his first start for Canada after a club season with Clermont Auvergne in France that was interrupted by a concussion. He will be joined in the second row by young gun Evan Olmstead.
Cudmore will be playing in his fourth World Cup. He joins select company in Gareth Rees, Rod Snow, Mike James and Al Charron, the only other Canadians to take part in four tournaments.
Canada will be captained by Tyler Ardron at the World Cup but the lanky No. 8 is recovering from a knee injury. Former captain Aaron Carpenter, who skippered the side against the U.S. last weekend, starts on the bench Saturday.
Forward Jebb Sinclair, another veteran returning from a knee injury with England's London Irish, is also on the bench.
Van der Merwe, who has been hampered by a hand injury recently, will be joined on the wing by Jeff Hassler with Matt Evans at fullback.
Benoit Piffero starts at hooker between props Djustice Sears-Duru and Andrew Tiedemann. Nanyak Dala and Kyle Gilmour open at flanker with Richard Thorpe at No. 8.
Scum half Phil Mack and fly half Nathan Hirayama start, with Ciaran Hearn joining Braid at centre.
Former Scotland captain Mike Blair is expected to make his Glasgow debut against Canada. The scrum half joined the Warriors from the Newcastle Falcons in the summer.
Glasgow lost 28-10 to Clermont Auvergne in its first pre-season match.
"This is an opportunity for us to work on what we learned against Clermont and build on the work we've put in since that game a fortnight ago," head coach Gregor Townsend told the Warriors website. "We're expecting a tough match against an international side, who will be playing at the Rugby World Cup next month, however we've prepared well and we're excited about the challenge which lies ahead."
The game was originally slated to be played at the Wanderers Ground but was switched to Graves-Oakley Memorial Park after both teams deemed the pitch to be unsafe.
Djustice Sears-Duru, Oakville Crusaders,Oakville, Ont.; Benoit Piffero, Atlantic Rock, Montreal; Andrew Tiedemann, Prairie Wolf Pack, St. Albert, Alta.; Evan Olmstead, Parramatta Two Blues (Australia), Vancouver; Jamie Cudmore (capt.), Clermont Auvergne (France), Squamish, B.C.; Kyle Gilmour, Rotherham Titans (England), St. Albert, Alta.; Nanyak Dala, Castaway Wanderers, Saskatoon; Richard Thorpe, London Welsh (England), Beckenham, England; Phil Mack, James Bay AA, Victoria; Nathan Hirayama, UVIC Vikes, Vancouver; DTH van der Merwe, Scarlets (Wales), Victoria; Connor Braid, B.C. Bears; Victoria; Ciaran Hearn, Castaway Wanderers, Conception Bay, N.L.; Jeff Hassler, Ospreys, Okotoks, Alta.; Matt Evans, Cornish Pirates, Maple Bay, B.C.
Hubert Buydens, Castaway Wanderers, Saskatoon; Ray Barkwill, Castaway Wanderers, Niagara Falls, Ont.; Doug Wooldridge, Lindsay RFC, Lindsay, Ont.; Jebb Sinclair, London Irish (England), Fredericton; Aaron Carpenter, Cornish Pirates (England), Brantford, Ont.; Jamie Mackenzie, UBCOB Ravens, Oakville, Ont.; Liam Underwood, Balmy Beach RFC, Toronto; Harry Jones, Capilano RFC, North Vancouver; Brett Beukeboom, Cornish Pirates (England), Lindsay, Ont.; Phil Mackenzie, Sale Sharks, Oakville, Ont.
Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Pat MacArthur, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Kieran Low, Simone Favaro, Chris Fusaro, Josh Strauss, Mike Blair, Rory Clegg, Rory Hughes, Fraser Lyle, Glenn Bryce, Lee Jones, Peter Murchie (capt.)
George Hunter, Kevin Bryce, Mike Cusack, Scott Cummings, James Eddie, Will Bordill, Jason Hill, Grayson Hart, Scott Wight, Mark Robertson, Robbie Fergusson, Junior Bulumakau.
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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press