World Cup player profiles: Canada

Date published: September 11 2015

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Ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we take a look at all of the players set to feature in England. Next up, Canada.

Forwards: Tyler Ardron, Ray Barkwill, Brett Beukeboom, Hubert Buydens, Aaron Carpenter, Jamie Cudmore, Nanyak Dala, Kyle Gilmour, Jason Marshall, John Moonlight, Evan Olmstead, Benoit Piffero, Djustice Sears-Duru, Jebb Sinclair, Richard Thorpe, Andrew Tiedemann, Doug Wooldridge.

Backs: Nick Blevins, Connor Braid, Matt Evans, Jeff Hassler, Ciaran Hearn, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Phil Mack, Jamie Mackenzie, Phil Mackenzie, Gordon McRorie, Conor Trainor, Liam Underwood, DTH van der Merwe.


TYLER ARDRON

Loose Forward    1.94m    110kg    16.06.1991

One of Canada's exciting prospects who is another to have benefitted from the Sevens game, which resulted in him gaining an Ospreys contract. Ardron has captained the Welsh region on numerous occasions in 2015 while Alun-Wyn Jones was on international duty, showing a great deal of leadership qualities despite his young age. Able to play in the second or back row, his physicality and height makes him a real handful.


RAY BARKWILL

 Hooker    1.80m    103kg    26.07.1980

Despite his age, the Ontario man only made his debut for Canada in 2012 so this will be his first Rugby World Cup. His post-graduate studies took him to Perth, Australia where he played for Western Australians Perth Spirit and he progressed to training with Western Force's 'A' team ahead of Super Rugby. A hard-working and reliable hooker, he's likely to play back-up to the hugely experienced Aaron Carpenter in England.


BRETT BEUKEBOOM

Lock    1.96m    113kg    13.07.1989

Beukeboom will play his rugby at the Cornish Pirates in England in 2015/16 after impressing at Plymouth Albion and has made massive leaps as a lock forward over recent seasons. He's a powerful tight forward who represented Canada at the U20 Junior World Championship in Japan in 2009 and at the Junior World Trophy in Moscow in 2010. Beukeboom received his first senior cap on June 9, 2012 and is a promising prospect.


NICK BLEVINS

Centre    1.87m    98kg    11.11.1988

A powerful centre who recently impressed in the Pacific Nations Cup, scoring a wonderful try against the USA in Burnaby. Blevins is strong in contact and has a solid fend and decent pace, which makes him difficult to bring down for any opponent. Since making his debut against Japan in 2009, he's improved to become an excellent option for head coach Kieran Crowley off the bench. Blevins is also a devastating tackler.


CONNOR BRAID

Fly-half     1.85m    82kg    31.05.1990

The fly-half or centre has been a consistent performer for Canada over the years. Strong in defence and smart with ball in hand, he has represented his country in both XVs and Sevens and impressed so much that Scottish side Glasgow Warriors brought him in on a loan deal that was extended until the end of the 2014/15 season. A solid option for Canada during the 2015 World Cup, who rarely lets his team-mates down.


HUBERT BUYDENS

Prop    1.91m    120kg    04.01.1982

A hard-working prop at the coalface for Canada, Buydens made his senior international debut in 2006 against the England Saxons but missed out on Rugby World Cup selection in 2007. He did however make the 2011 tournament where he played in all four pool games against Tonga, France, Japan and New Zealand. 33-year-old Buydens has developed his game with a stint at ITM Cup side Manwatau where he impressed the locals.


AARON CARPENTER

Loose forward    1.83m    107kg    09.01.1983

The experienced forward is equally at home at hooker or number eight and is a consistent performer for his country. Born in Ontario, Carpenter has spent his rugby career in England, starting out at Coventry in 2009 before moving to Plymouth Albion for three-years until 2013. He has since joined the Cornish Pirates. Carpenter made his international debut in 2005 and was selected for the 2007 and 2011 Rugby World Cups.


JAMIE CUDMORE

Lock    1.96m    116kg    06.09.1978

The hardman of Canadian and Top 14 rugby, Cudmore will be 37 when the Rugby World Cup kicks off but his experience will be invaluable. The British Columbia man made his international debut in 2003 and has gone on to play more than 30 times, with commitments at Clermont limiting his Test appearances. Rugby turned his life around as a troubled youngster and he has played over 200 times for Clermont.


NANYAK DALA

Loose forward     1.78m    100kg    18.06.1984

Born in Nigeria, Dala moved to South Africa with his family and took up rugby at age 12. Eventually he'd go on to represent KwaZulu-Natal provincial teams at various age-grade levels before he and his family moved to Canada where his father sought opportunities in the medical field. Dala played in 2011's World Cup but most of his recent good work has been seen in the Sevens game. He is a flanker in XVs.


MATT EVANS

Utility back    1.83m    89kg    02.01.1988

Evans is capable of playing fly-half, wing, centre and full-back currently plays for the Cornish Pirates in the RFU Championship. He broke onto the international scene in 2008 when he represented Canada's U20 side, which resulted in his Test bow that same year against Ireland. Evans went on to represent Canada at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The utility back had short spells at Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons before joining Cornish Pirates in 2011.


KYLE GILMOUR

Loose forward     1.85m    85kg    26.01.1988

One of the hardest working loose forwards in the team, doing most of the dirty work at the breakdowns. Gilmour made his Test bow in 2013 and has since been utilized as an impact player off the bench. The slim loose forward is extremely strong on his feet and will make a huge impact on the ground for Canada.


JEFF HASSLER

Centre     1.83m     93kg    21.08.1991

A rapidly improved wing who has taken the PRO12 by storm since signing for the Ospreys. He earned a place in the 2013/14 team of the season in that competition after scoring seven tries and was also impressive in the most recent term before knee surgery curtailed his campaign in December. Hassler is a hard-running, no nonsense wide man who benefitted from experience in Sevens and has developed into a top class winger.


CIARAN HEARN

Centre    1.90m    100kg    30.12.1985
A reliable player for Canada over the years in both the Sevens and XVs forms of the game, Hearn is a powerful yet fast-footed back who also possesses a strong boot, particularly with restarts. Hearn is hugely experienced as he approaches 50 caps for his country and has improved greatly since making his Test debut in November 2008 against Ireland. He was a member of 2011's World Cup squad and is key to their 2015 hopes.


NATHAN HIRAYAMA

Fly-half/Full-back    1.83m    88kg    23.03.1988

Has found his home in Sevens over the years, captaining Canada in recent campaigns before injury struck. A fly-half or full-back in the XV-man game, Hirayama was a member of the Canadian squad that competed at the 2011 Rugby World Cup but his style is more suited to Sevens. That's not to say many of his qualities cannot be transferred to XVs as he can unlock defences at will and has an excellent rugby brain.


HARRY JONES

  Fly-half     1.85m    86kg     26.08.198
Another of the tried and tested performers for Canada in both forms of the game, Jones has been part of the Sevens group for several years now and regularly carries that strong form into the XVs game. Strong in contact and a solid defender, the fly-half from Vancouver is maturing as a player and has plenty of time left in his career. He will be 26 at the time of the World Cup and is a reliable option for Canada.


PHIL MACK

Scrum-half    1.70m    77kg    18.09.1985

Has never let his country down and is a credit to Canada both on and off the field. The busy scrum-half never shies away from contact and causes defences many problems when he backs himself with ball in hand. This form is mirrored in the Sevens game where Mack is a regular try-scorer for Canada. He was included in the 2013/14 Sevens Series 'Dream Team'. Mack made his XVs debut in 2009 against Ireland in Vancouver.


JAMIE MACKENZIE

Scrum-half    1.75m    88kg    28.02.1989

Jamie Mackenzie, the younger brother of Phil Mackenzie, currently plays for Canadian university, Victoria Vikes. The bulky scrum-half made his Test debut in 2010 and was part of the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad but failed to make an appearance at the tournament. Mackenzie had a two-year stint at England club, Esher RFC but a lack of game time saw him join Victoria Vikes in 2012.


PHIL MACKENZIE

 Wing/Centre    1.85m    96kg    25.02.1987

Phil Mackenzie, the older brother of Jamie Mackenzie currently plays for the Sale Sharks in the Aviva Premiership. Mackenzie represented Canada at youth level, which resulted in his Test bow in 2008. He went on to represent Canada at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, starting in all four of their pool matches. From 2009 Mackenzie had short stints at Coventry RFC, Esher RFC and London Welsh before joining the Sale Sharks in 2013.


JASON MARSHALL

Prop    1.91m    117kg    05.02.1985

The north Vancouver prop is well travelled in his professional career as he's enjoyed stints at Aurillac and La Rochelle in France before moving to Hawke's Bay in New Zealand in 2014. The 30-year-old then moved to Agen in 2014 where he is still in their playing squad, with his build-up to the 2015 RWC having been interrupted by a knee injury. Before playing rugby union, Marshall played American Football as a quarterback.


GORDON MCRORIE

 Scrum-half 1.75m  80kg 12.05.1988

Canada's reliable goalkicker has regularly handled the pressure on the international stage. Born in Scotland, the scrum-half plays calmly at the base and made his international debut in June 2014 against Japan, since going on to nail down the number nine jersey for Canada. Is likely to share the kicking responsibilities with full-back James Pritchard while he offers a scoring threat via his pace and support lines.


EVAN OLMSTEAD

Flanker    1.96m    99kg    21.02.1991

Olmstead represented Canada at youth level before heading abroad to Australia to further his studies. He joined Australian club, Gordon RFC and played for them in the Shute Shield competition. Olmstead made his Test bow for Canada during the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup.


BENOIT PIFFERO

Hooker    1.83m    102kg    21.05.1987

Piffero will be playing in his first Rugby World Cup since making his Test debut in 2013. Playing mostly off the bench he will be keen to prove his worth and gain a spot in the starting line-up.


DJUSTICE SEARS-DURU

 Prop    1.85m    115kg    24.05.1994

Duru represented Canada at youth level, which resulted in a move to England joining the Leicester Tigers Academy. The youthful prop made his Test debut shortly after he joined the academy in 2013 at the tender age of 19, and has since been used as an impact player off the bench.


JEBB SINCLAIR

Lock    1.93m    111kg    08.04.1986

Sinclair is a powerful specimen who adds real weight and steel to the Canadian forward pack. His good form earned him a contract at London Irish in 2011 where he has been ever since, with stints at Western Province and Stormers seeing him pick up valuable experience. He will be 29 when the Rugby World Cup starts and has improved greatly since making his debut for Canada back in 2008. A fine lock and back row option.


RICHARD THORPE

Loose forward    1.85m    105kg    01.11.1984

Born in Kent, England, Thorpe was contracted by Saracens from 2003-05 before he moved to London Irish, where he made 48 appearances. In 2013 Thorpe switched to London Welsh and would make his international bow for Canada in November of 2014 when he came off the bench against Samoa in Vannes. The 31-year-old is a dynamic back-row who proved a real dynamo when at London Irish and will look to do the same with Canada.


ANDREW TIEDEMANN

Prop    1.83m    115kg    21.07.1988

Tiedemann currently plays for Castaway Wanderers RFC in the British Columbia Premiership and the Prairie Wolf Pack in the Canadian Rugby Championship. The 27-year-old represented Canada at various youth tournaments, the most memorable being the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship. Brilliant performances at the Junior World Championship saw him make his Test bow the year after in 2009. The Canadian stalwart went on to represent Canada in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. His mammoth presence at scrum time, along with his experience will be invaluable for them in this year's showcase.


CONOR TRAINOR

Centre    1.85m    100kg    12.05.1989

One of Canada's success stories since he made the progression up from the U20 side, Trainor made his Test debut in June 2011 against Russia and scored his first test try in the same match. He was a member of the 2011 World Cup squad and scored twice against hosts and eventual winners New Zealand. A hard-running centre or wing, Trainor has developed his skills on the Sevens scene and scored the try of 2013/14's series.


LIAM UNDERWOOD

Fly- half    1.88m     91kg    03.06.1991

The Toronto born fly-half made his Test debut in May 2013 and went on to make six appearances that year. In 2015 he has established himself as first-choice number ten for Canada and has all the tools to be a top class player. He impressed at the Junior World Rugby Trophy in 2010 and 2011 and while still in the infancy of his senior international career, the Sevens and XVs man has a long future in Test rugby.


DTH VAN DER MERWE

Wing    1.83m    99kg     28.04.1986

Van der Merwe comes into the World Cup after arguably his best ever club season at Glasgow. He scored eight tries in 2014/15 as the Scottish outfit became PRO12 champions. Van der Merwe was born in South Africa but moved to Canada in 2003 where he played mostly at James Bay Athletic Association club. He made his Test debut in 2006 and went on to enjoy six years at Glasgow, with his next club set to be the Scarlets.


DOUG WOOLDRIDGE

Prop    1.80m    106kg    19.12.1985

Wooldridge currently plays rugby for Ontario Blues having played most of his rugby in Canada. The 29 year-old made his Test debut in 2009, which resulted in his inclusion in the 2011 Rugby World Cup squad. Although he has been a part of the Canadian set-up for six years, he has only made just over 20 appearances for them, and will be keen for some needed game time, when he plays in his second World Cup this year.

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