State of the Nation: Canada

Date published: December 1 2016

With the November Tests now done and dusted for most teams, we look at the state of affairs in each of the competing sides. Next, Canada.

Unfortunately it was a similar story for Canada as they rounded out the year with some promising play but ultimately disappointing defeats.

Narrow losses to Samoa and Romania followed a spirited performance against Ireland in Dublin as head coach Mark Anscombe looks to turn his side into someone that can regularly take scalps on the Test scene. That is the elusive trait that so many Tier 2 outfits are striving for.

On paper they have many impressive players and it was no surprise wing DTH van der Merwe was once again their strike weapon. His try tally in international rugby is now up to 23, just one behind Canada's most deadly finisher, Winston Stanley, with opponents fearing his threat.

Not having the injured Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler was a setback going into this month. Getting the aforementioned trio all on the field in top form would help Anscombe significantly, but alas the Ospreys pair have struggled to avoid knocks over the past couple of campaigns.

On-field disappointment in terms of results has coincided with some former players and supporters voicing their frustration over Canada's call not to join PRO Rugby, the professional league set up in the USA.

A disagreement over a number of clauses in the sanction agreement was the primary stumbling block but Canada were eager to stress their commitment to growing the game in their country with a competition.

The bosses know, as does everyone, that regular rugby for professional teams would no doubt help improve the national side, as we have seen with the likes of Argentina, Romania, Russia in the recent past and the following the first ever Vancouver Sevens attracted is certainly proof there's an appetite for rugby in the country.

Let's hope plans become a reality sooner rather than later for the good of Canadian rugby.

Read the rest of our State of the Nation pieces right here