Canadian coach Kieran Crowley has released a 50-man extended World Cup squad, which includes just eight professional players.
Canadian head coach Kieran Crowley has released a 50-man extended World Cup squad, which includes just eight professional players.
While the 30-man squad confirmation isn't due until July, Crowley said he wanted players to know where they stood in terms of selection chances.
“We wanted to make it 50 to show player where they're at,” he told Canada's official rugby website.
“We've got to make sure all players know they're in contention so they continue to work hard.”
The squad features all members of the 2011 Churchill Cup squad and players ranging in age and experience.
“It's a squad we've narrowed down when looking at positional coverage,” Crowley said.
“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.”
At the helm of the squad is Pat Riordan, who Crowley has named his World Cup captain.
The 31-year-old hooker from Burnaby, British Columbia, has 37 caps for Canada and brings to the table the elements Crowley looks for in a captain.
“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.”
While no players have been ruled out of the squad due to injury, the squad is without prop Kevin Tkachuk. The 34-year-old with more than 50 caps to his name recently finished his final season with the Glasgow Warriors and Crowley said there were several factors that led to the decision not to include him.
“Kevin has been a great servant for Canadian rugby,” Crowley said.
“We just feel there's been some players that have gone past him in terms of performance.
“You've got to have so many players who can play both sides of the scrum. Then you look at how many looseheads and tightheads you've got. We feel we've looked at all the positions and covered them.”
In terms of the overall forward selections, Crowley felt the scrum had shown improvements during the Churchill Cup, but knows the Rugby World Cup will present distinct challenges up front with Japan, Tonga, France and New Zealand competing in Canada's pool.
“Our scrums improved, but it's still a massive challenge,” Crowley said.
“We've got a long way to go.”
Crowley added that there were some other players that had been working hard and came close to selection.
“There's a couple of players that are probably very unlucky to not be included in this list,” he said.
“But it's about positional coverage.”
Crowley also addressed the youth element in the squad, saying development has been a key focus in the lead up to the World Cup.
“Over the last couple of years we've developed players through various opportunities to the extent that in the last year we've had players come through in ability and experience,” he said.
“There are some young players in the squad. Youth brings excitement, it brings a lack of fear. They bring a change of environment.”
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)