Canada coach Mark Anscombe has named his starting XV for Saturday’s Test match against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Captained by Aaron Carpenter, the squad features a wealth of experience including the return of DTH van der Merwe, Brett Beukeboom, Conor Trainor and Connor Braid to the starting line-up.
"The boys have adapted well to what we want to do," Anscombe said. "We’re really looking forward to the game. We have to do well on Saturday so that we get credibility so that we can face off against other Tier one teams in the future."
The familiar trio of Djustice Sears-Duru, Ray Barkwill and Jake Ilnicki form Canada’s front row with Beukeboom joining Newcastle Falcon Evan Olmstead at lock.
Kyle Baillie and Lucas Rumball start at flanker while Carpenter will earn his 75th test cap from the number eight position, leaving him one cap behind Al Charron’s Canadian record of 76.
Gordon McRorie starts at scrum-half while Victoria, BC, native Braid gets the nod at fly-half. Van der Merwe and Taylor Paris will man the wings with Trainor and Ciaran Hearn starting in the centres. Cornish Pirate Matt Evans starts at full-back.
Admir Cejvanovic is named to Canada’s bench and will earn his first Test cap if he sees action on the pitch. Phil Mack, who retired from Canada’s men’s sevens team earlier this year and hasn’t played for the senior team since last year’s Rugby World Cup, is also named as a replacement.
"I think it will be a different team that faced the All Blacks but they’re a Tier 1 team and they have that depth now and that was shown by the quality of their performance last weekend," Anscombe said.
"A full house at the Aviva Stadium is a great opportunity for our guys but it will be daunting going up against a very good Irish team."
Saturday’s match kicks off an important three games for Anscombe’s side as they look to climb the World Rugby test rankings from their 18th position. After Saturday’s game, Canada will also face on November 19 before tackling Samoa on November 25.
Canada last faced Ireland at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in each team’s tournament opener with the Irish claiming a 50-7 victory. Canada last visited Ireland in 2008 (a 55-0 defeat) and last welcomed them to Canada in 2013 when the two sides squared off at BMO Field in Toronto with the visitors claiming a 40-14 win.
The two sides played to a 27-27 draw in 2000 at Fletcher’s Fields in Markham, Ontario.
Canada: 15 Matt Evans, 14 DTH van der Merwe, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Lucas Rumball, 6 Kyle Baillie, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Djustice Sears
Replacements: 16 Eric Howard, 17 Rob Brouwer, 18 Matt Tierney, 19 Admir Cejvanovic, 20 Matt Heaton, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Patrick Parfrey, 23 Nick Blevins
Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Aviva Stadium
Kick-off: 19:15 GMT
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Matthew Carley (England), Thomas Charabas (France)
TMO: Tim Hayes (Wales)