Rugby World Cup 2011
Canada name World Cup training squad
June 27, 2011
Crowley now faces the task of selecting his final 30 ahead of September's World Cup © Getty Images
Canada head coach Kieran Crowley has named a provisional 50-man squad ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup.
The squad includes just eight professionals, with only two, Clermont Auvergne's second-row Jamie Cudmore and winger DTH van der Merwe of Glasgow Warriors, plying their trade at the top level. Although currently unattached, Luke Tait, Matt Evans and Justin Mensah-Coker have also played professionally in the northern hemisphere but Crowley insists such status does not guarantee selection.
"When I first came over here, overseas pros expected to be picked," Crowley said. "They thought that because they were overseas pros they were a long way ahead of the players playing in Canada. And they might well have been, but certainly I've seen the development of players in Canada to the extent now where a lot of them could play over there. Just because you're playing overseas doesn't mean you're a shoo-in and that's been good because it's created real competition within the team which is what we're trying to create."
The squad includes all those players on duty at the recent Churchill Cup including stand-out Chauncey O'Toole who helped his side reach the final where they were comprehensively beaten by England Saxons. Commenting on the make-up of the group, Crowley added that everyone is in contention to make the final 30-man squad that will compete at the World Cup.
"We wanted to make it 50 to show player where they're at. We've got to make sure all players know they're in contention so they continue to work hard," he said. "It's a squad we've narrowed down when looking at positional coverage. We've picked the 50 best players that we can and the Canadian rugby Championship has played a big part in that. We've certainly used the Americas Rugby Championship trip to Argentina, the European tour in November and the Churchill Cup to expose a lot of players, which allowed us to narrow it down to the group we have. It's been a long process."
Crowley also confirmed that the Canucks will once again be captained by 37-cap hooker Pat Riordan. "Pat's been captain ever since I've been here," Crowley said. "He has the values I'm looking for in a player. He works hard on and off the field; he knows the game and creates a very positive team environment."
There was one notable omission in the squad with Glasgow's Kevin Tkachuk missing out on selection. The 50-cap prop has not figured in Crowley's squad recently and will miss out on World Cup selection, barring injuries elsewhere.
"He's been a great servant to Canadian rugby," Crowley said. "He's played a lot of Test matches and he's always been available. You respect his contributions to Canadian rugby. We just felt there's some players who have improved and have gone past Kevin in performances. I've explained that to him and obviously he's very disappointed. He's had his heart set on the World Cup."
Canada will now face the USA twice in August before opening their World Cup campaign on September 14 against Tonga in Whangarei.
Forwards: Tyler Ardron (Ontario Blues), Brett Beukeboom (Ontario Blues), Hubert Buydens (Prairie Wolf Pack), Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion), Jamie Cudmore (Clermont Auvergne), Nanyak Dala (Prairie Wolf Pack), Tom Dolezel (Ontario Blues), Brian Erichsen (B.C. Bears), Scott Franklin (Prairie Wolf Pack), Adam Kleeburger (Unattached), Mitch Gudgeon (B.C. Bears), Ryan Hamilton (B.C. Bears), Tyler Hotson (Plymouth), Jeremy Kyne (Prairie Wolf Pack), Jason Marshall (B.C. Bears), Stan McKeen (Oxford University), Sean Michael-Stephen (Plymouth Albion), John Moonlight (Ontario Blues), Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock), Kevin Parfrey (The Rock), Jon Phelan (The Rock), Mike Pletch (Ontario Blues), Pat Riordan (B.C. Bears), Jebb Sinclair (The Rock), Luke Tait (unattached), Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack), Frank Walsh (The Rock), Doug Wooldridge (Ontario Blues)
Backs: Kyle Armstrong (Ontario Blues), Nick Blevins (Prairie Wolf Pack), Connor Braid (B.C. Bears), Sean Duke (B.C. Bears), Matt Evans (Unattached), Ed Fairhurst (B.C. Bears), Jeff Hassler (Prairie Wolf Pack), Ciaran Hearn (The Rock), Nathan Hirayama (B.C. Bears), Jamie Mackenzie (Esher), Phil Mackenzie (Esher), Justin Mensah-Coker (B.C. Bears), DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors), Ander Monro (Ontario Blues), Taylor Paris (Ontario Blues), James Pritchard (Bedford), Mike Scholz (Prairie Wolf Pack), Ryan Smith (Prairie Wolf Pack), Conor Trainor (B.C. Bears), Sean White (B.C. Bears), Eric Wilson (B.C. Bears), Tyler Wish (The Rock)
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