Canada set to storm Madrid

Date published: November 11 2010

Canada have named their side to face Spain in a first ever Test between the nations in Madrid on Saturday.

On the heels of a tour opening 43-12 win over Belgium in Brussels, Canadian team coach Kieran Crowley has named his side to face Spain in a first ever Test between the nations in Madrid on Saturday.

With a number of his professional players finally relieved of club duties and able to participate in the fall tour, there have been wholesale changes to the team that scored six tries last weekend.

In the front row there is one change as Dan Pletch gets the start at loose head while Captain Pat Riordan retains his hooker spot and Jason Marshall gets a second straight start at tight head.

The second row changes completely with the arrival of Josh Jackson and Tyler Hotson, increasing the size of the engine room – and providing some serious height for Riordan to target.

In the back row it is an exciting trio of ball scavengers and first up tacklers with Chauncey O'Toole and Adam Kleeberger retaining their spots – and Aaron Carpenter taking the No 8 jersey from last week's debutant Jeremy Kyne.

In the half back pairing Sean White sticks in at scrum-half and he will partner with Ander Monro who came on in the second half to provide 12 points from a try, penalty and two conversions.

The centres is where things get very interesting as a combination of size, speed and good ball handling will make for a potent mix as Esher's Phil Mackenzie comes to inside centre with the on fire DTH van der Merwe wearing the 13 jersey van der Merwe has been lighting things up in the Magners league scoring five tries in sevens games – good for second in the scoring league try scoring race.

The back three is full of speed and good experience as well, with James Pritchard, Captain of the Bedford Blues, taking the fullback spot, while The Rock's Ciaran Hearn will work with first year man – 18 year old Taylor Paris, who notches his second straight test appearance.

Coach Kieran Crowley is excited about the mid-field pairing, noting the tear van der Merwe has been on.
“It is going to be a little different for them at first,” says Crowley, who explains that van der Merwe starts on the wing for Glasgow “But they will come to terms with that fairly quickly and hopefully we have some good results from that.”

In terms of what he wants to see his team do again this week – following the win over Belgium is to be able to weather pressure from the opposition and then finish off strongly.

“I like the fact that we were under pressure and came out solidly,” he says “We put the pressure on in the second half and came out on top.

“We really can't afford to have a flat patch again this weekend – so we will work on keeping the foot down and finishing off strongly.”

He says the fact he has been away with the Canada Selects in Argentina and the Sevens have been in New Delhi, has been a great chance to really go through the player depth chart and see who he has available when the final team selections are made next summer ahead of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

“Seeing all these players – there is a real good competition among the group right now,” he says enthusiastically.

“The team that is selected (this weekend) will have their opportunity, but it is also a big chance for the guys coming off the bench to show what they have to offer.”

On the replacements bench there is plenty of depth for Crowley to choose from as needed – with front row cover including Tom Dolezel and Glasgow's Kevin Tkachuk, who is seeing his first Canada action in 2010 since getting the summer off earlier in the year.

The second row coverage sees Jon Phelan of the Rock, who got his first Cap last week against Belgium, working with his Rock teammate Jebb Sinclair who will also double off as a flanker replacement Also in the back row is Sean Michael Stephen of Plymouth Albion, who will be an explosive pair of fresh legs at the back of the scrum should the coaches tap on his shoulder.

The back coverage features scrum-half replacement Jamie Mackenzie and wing Justin Mensah-Coker.

Canada:15 James Pritchard (Bedford Blues), 14 Taylor Paris (Ontario Blues), 13 DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors), 12 Phillip Mackenzie (Esher RFC), 11 Ciaran Hearn (The Rock), 10 Ander Monro (Ontario Blues), 9 Sean White (BC Bears), 8 Aaron Carpenter (Plymouth Albion), 7 Adam Kleeberger (Unattached), 6 Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock), 5 Tyler Hotson (Plymouth Albion) , 4 Josh Jackson (Stade Montois), 3 Jason Marshall (BC Bears), 2 Pat Riordan (BC Bears), 1 Dan Pletch (Ontario Blues)
Replacements:16 Tom Dolezel (Prairie Wolf Pack) 17 Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Warriors) 18 Jon Phelan (the Rock) 19 Jebb Sinclair (The Rock) 20 Sean Michael Stephen (Plymouth Albion) 21 Jamie Mackenzie (Ontario Blues) 22 Justin Mensah-Coker (Unattached)

Date: Saturday, November 13
Venue: Madrid
Kick-off: 16.00 (14.00 GMT)