Wales field two new caps against Canada
May 29, 2009
Ryan Jones leads an inexperienced Wales side against Canada © Getty Images
Wales caretaker coach Robin McBryde has named two new caps in his side to face Canada in Toronto on Saturday. Scarlets duo Daniel Evans and Jonathan Davies are the lucky recipients in an inexperienced team, starting at fullback and centre respectively.
Davies is joined by Osprey Andrew Bishop in the midfield, with Evans starting alongside Cardiff Blues duo Chris Czekaj and Tom James. Czekaj will be getting his first taste of international rugby since braking his leg while playing for Wales against Australia in 2007. Cardiff-bound scrum-half Gareth Cooper starts alongside Dan Biggar at halfback, with Nick Robinson having to make do with a spot on the bench.
There is more experience in the pack, with regular skipper Ryan Jones joining Dafydd Jones and Robin Sowden-Taylor in the back-row. There is another Blues combination in the second-row, where Bradley Davies is joined by Deiniol Jones. Up front, Duncan Jones makes his return to the international stage after injury, joining his Ospreys colleague Richard Hibbard. Blues prop John Yapp switches to an unfamiliar role on the tight-head after the withdrawal of Eifion-Lewis Roberts due to injury.
On the bench there are three more potential new caps, with Blues flanker Sam Warburton and Ospreys duo Jonathan Spratt and Craig Mitchell being given the nod.
"They're there on merit really," McBryde said of the new caps. "Daniel Evans finished the season off strongly with a couple of good performances, he's fitted in well. Jonathan Davies has been a consistent performer for the Scarlets through the year, so I've had no hesitation really in giving them their first caps.
"Perhaps the most difficult selection was at halfback. We have four good contenders for the jersey and both Nicky and Dwayne have been unlucky to miss out, but they could yet have something to say about how the Test goes on Saturday.
"We have been in close contact with the Cardiff Blues to try and develop John Yapp into a player who can work on both sides of the scrum and that development continues. We also have a specialist in Craig Mitchell on the bench who may well be required."
Canada have rung the changes after their plucky display against Ireland, with University of Victoria prop Andrew Tiedemann set to earn his first international cap. Ander Monro starts at fly-half after coming off the bench against the Irish, with DTH van der Merwe moving from the wing in to the outside-centre position. Luke Tait replaces Tyler Hotson in the second-row, while Sean Duke starts on the wing.
"It's really nice for everyone to say it was a valiant effort and a great 60 minutes, but there wasn't a guy in that room that was happy about how that game ended," Canada skipper Pat Riordan said of their Ireland defeat. "We would rather play like garbage for 80 minutes and win the game than play good for 60 and lose it."
Canada: James Pritchard (Bedford); Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanderers/Conception Bay), DTH van der Merwe (James Bay AA/Regina), Ryan Smith (Calgary Irish/Caledon), Sean Duke (University of Victoria); Ander Monro (Colorno), Ed Fairhurst (Cornish Pirates); Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow), Pat Riordan (University of Victoria, capt), Andrew Tiedemann (University of Victoria), Mike Burak (Cornish Pirates), Luke Tait (Stade Montois), Jebb Sinclair (Castaway Wanderers/Fredericton), Adam Kleeberger (University of Victoria/White Rock), Aaron Carpenter (Brantford Harelquins).
Replacements: Mike Pletch (Velox Valhallians/Lucan), Doug Wooldridge (Cowichan RFC/Lindsay), Tyler Hotson (UBC Old Boy Ravens/Vancouver), Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers/Saskatoon), Matt Evans (Hartpury College/Cowichan), David Spicer (University of Victoria), Phil Mack (James Bay AA/Victoria).
Wales: Daniel Evans (Scarlets), Tom James (Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Andrew Bishop (Ospreys), Chris Czekaj (Blues), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Gareth Cooper (Gloucester); Duncan Jones (Ospreys), Richard Hibbard (Ospreys), John Yapp (Blues), Bradley Davies (Blues), Deiniol Jones (Blues), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Robin Sowden-Taylor (Blues), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, capt)
Replacements: Gareth Williams (Blues), Craig Mitchell (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Sam Warburton (Blues), Dwayne Peel (Sale), Nicky Robinson (Blues), Jonathan Spratt (Ospreys)