Canada head coach Mark Anscombe has named his starting XV for Canada’s June Series opener against Georgia in Calgary this Saturday.
The team will be captained by Brett Beukeboom while Shane O’Leary and Andrew Coe will make their test debuts for Canada. Anthony Luca could make his test debut as he is named as a replacement.
“A win would be huge,” Anscombe said. “It would be a great confidence booster for the team. The boys have come together well and are really excited and looking forward to the game. “
Djustice Sears-Duru and Jake Ilnicki start at prop with Benoit Piffero at hooker. Beukeboom is joined by Conor Keys at lock with Kyle Baillie and Matt Heaton at flanker. Burnaby’s Admir Cejvanovic starts at number eight.
Victoria native Phil Mack starts at scrum-half with O’Leary at fly-half. Sean Duke makes his first test start since November 2014 on the wing with Dan Moor lining up on the opposite side. Guiseppe du Toit and Conor Trainor start at centre with Coe at full-back in his test debut.
Aaron Carpenter could tie Al Charron’s all-time cap record of 76 for Canada as he is named as a replacement.
With two Rugby World Cup qualifiers against the USA later in the month, Anscombe will use the match against Georgia, and next weeks clash with Romania, as a tune-up to put Canada in the best possible position, with the nation’s top 23 players available, for these crucial qualification matches.
“We’ve got four test matches in consecutive weeks, with the final two being Rugby World Cup qualifiers. We have to look at our entire squad and how to best utilize everyone and how we manage game time for our players.
“It’s important we do that right. We don’t want to be too dinged up for our home and away qualifiers against USA because at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”
Canada: 15 Andrew Coe, 14 Dan Moor, 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Guiseppe Du Toit, 11 Sean Duke, 10 Shane O’Leary, 9 Phil Mack, 8 Admir Cejvanovic, 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Kyle Baillie, 5 Conor Keys, 4 Brett Beukeboom (c), 3 Jake Ilnicki, 2 Benoit Piffero, 1 Djustice Sears-Duru
Replacements: 16 Eric Howard, 17 Anthony Luca, 18 Matt Tierney, 19 Liam Chisholm, 20 Aaron Carpenter, 21 Andrew Ferguson, 22 Gradyn Bowd, 23 Ciaran Hearn
Date: Saturday, June 10
Venue: Calgary Rugby Park
Kick-off: 15:00 local (21:00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)