Canada tackle France 'A' in Denver
June 13, 2010
Recent Dragons recruit Matt Evans will line-up at fullback for Canada against France 'A' © Getty Images
Canada and France 'A' will put their unbeaten records on the line when they meet in their latest Churchill Cup clash in Denver on Sunday.
Canada opened the tournament with an emphatic 48-6 win over Uruguay last Saturday, while the French ran up a similar one sided 43-10 victory on Wednesday night setting up a pool decider at Infinity Park.
Coach Kieran Crowley has made three changes in the starting fifteen and three changes on the replacements bench to take on what is generally regarded as a formidable France squad.
"We were happy with the win over Uruguay, but we also know that we need to improve each time we go on the field," he said in commenting on the naming of the side. "It is also imperative that with limited games between now and next year, we need to see as many combinations as possible, while still putting a strong side out. That is what we have done with this game against France A."
With the departure of Ed Fairhurst following the opening match, Sean White is now getting his first start for Canada at scrum-half. James Pritchard moves to the replacements with 22-year-old speedster Matt Evans, recently signed by Magners League side Newport Gwent Dragons, promoted to No.15. The other change sees Brian Erichsen slot into the second row for his first start after two appearances off the bench. Other than the Evans switch the backline remains untouched with Ander Monro working as the pivot to Phil Mackenzie and DTH van der Merwe in the centre pairing. Justin Mensah-Coker and Ciaran Hearn retain their wing positions.
In the forwards the front row stays the same with Doug Wooldridge and Andrew Tiedemann both getting their seventh appearances for Canada, though this match is not a test fixture. Captain Pat Riordan slots in again at hooker. The second row pairing features the height of Luke Tait, with the strength and mobility of Erichsen. The Canadian back row is reunited from the Uruguay Test, with Adam Kleeberger and Chauncey O'Toole at the two flank positions and Aaron Carpenter maintaining a lock at the No.8 spot.
On the replacements bench Ryan Hamilton, who won his first cap in a replacement appearance last week, will provide cover at hooker again this week. Tom Dolezel and Jason Marshall will slot in as front rowers in what will be a crucial coverage spot on what is expected to be a hot day in Colorado. Luke Cudmore will be backing up the second row, looking for his second Canada appearance since winning his first cap against the USA at the Churchill Cup in 2008. Uncapped Eric Wilson is named into his first Canada side, providing options at both scrum-half and fly-half.
Canada currently sits atop Pool A with a slightly better points differential, while France A is in second also, with five points. Uruguay is 0-2 and in third place. Should Canada draw with France 'A', it would advance based on points difference.
Canada: Matt Evans (Newport Gwent Dragons); Ciaran Hearn (The Rock), DTH van der Merwe (Glasgow Warriors), Phil Mackenzie (Esher), Justin Mensah-Coker (un-attached); Ander Monro (Ontario Blues), Sean White (BC Bears); Doug Wooldridge (Ontario Blues), Pat Riordan (BC Bears, captain), Andrew Tiedemann (Prairie Wolf Pack), Luke Tait (Un-attached), Brian Erichsen (BC Bears), Chauncey O'Toole (The Rock), Adam Kleeberger (Rotherham), Aaron Carpenter (Un-attached)
Replacements: Ryan Hamilton (BC Bears), Tom Doelzel (Prairie Wolf Pack), Jason Marshall (BC Bears), Luke Cudmore (BC Bears), Nanyak Dala (Prairie Wolf Pack), Eric Wilson (BC Bears), James Pritchard (Bedford RFC)
France 'A': (squad)
Forwards (14): Jérôme Schuster (Perpignan), Yannick Forestier (Castres), Benjamin Kayser (Stade Français), Jean-Philippe Genevois (Bourgoin), Clément Baïocco (Racing-Métro), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Yoann Maestri (Stade Toulousain), Joselino Suta (Toulon), Guillaume Vilaceca (Perpignan), Antoine Battut (Montauban), Sylvain Nicolas (Bourgoin), Florian Faure (Biarritz), Grégory Lamboley (Stade Toulousain), Jean-Pierre Pérez (Perpignan)
Backs (12): Julien Dupuy (Stade Français), Nicolas Durand (Perpignan), Lionel Beauxis (Stade Français), Benjamin Boyet (Bourgoin), Romain Cabannes (Castres), Yoann Audrin (Castres), Henry Chavancy (Racing-Métro), Lionel Mazars (Bayonne), Maxime Médard (Stade Toulousain), Adrien Planté (Perpignan), Farid Sid (Perpignan), Benjamin Thiéry (Montpellier)
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies