LANGFORD, BC – Canada head coach Kingsley Jones has named his 34-player long list that will travel to Europe ahead of the highly anticipated 2019 Rugby World Cup repechage tournament next month in Marseille, France.
Canada’s long list includes overseas professionals: Tyler Ardron, Jake Ilnicki, Brett Beukeboom, Evan Olmstead, DTH van der Merwe, Josh Larsen, Ciaran Hearn, Conor Trainor, Taylor Paris, Matt Evans and Shane O’Leary.
“I am excited with the team that we will be taking to Europe. All of our top professional players went through pre-seasons with their clubs and many are receiving regular minutes and excelling in their respective competitions,” said Jones.
“Our domestic-based players and staff have worked tirelessly over the last nine months to be ready for November, and I would like to thank all the domestic clubs and coaches for their full support over this period,” he added.
Before landing in the south of France, Canada has lined up two preliminary fixtures against Oxford (October 31) and Coventry (November 5) in England. Following these two matches the 34-man list will be trimmed down to just 30 to travel to Marseille.
“These fixtures are vitally important for us, getting all the players on the same page playing to the plan.
Canada’s top domestic internationals, who train full-time at the Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre on Vancouver Island, have recently completed a busy preparation calendar over the last six months. Following their three-match June series, the team travelled to France for a two-game series against Clermont and Castres, competed for their regions in the annual Canadian Rugby Championship and played three matches in Uruguay as part of the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge.
Held at the 5,000 seat Stade Delort in the south of France, the last-chance qualifier will see four nations – Canada, Kenya, Germany and Hong Kong – compete over three game days on November 11, 17 and 23.
“Winning three test matches in a row is a big challenge for any side and we will not underestimate the challenges we face knowing that Kenya, Germany and Hong Kong are eagerly looking to attend their first Rugby World Cup and will be bringing sides that are both determined and prepared for the three matches,” said Jones.
The winner will secure the 20thand final spot in Pool B and will face New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia next fall in various venues across Japan. These fixtures in November will be the first-ever for Canada against Kenya and Germany, while Canada has a 5-1 record all time against Hong Kong.
“The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of the fifteens game and it’s vitally important for us to qualify,” added Jones.
Canada has never failed to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, competing in all eight editions of the competition leading back to the inaugural tournament in New Zealand in 1987.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, Staff, Provincial Unions and the entire Canadian rugby and sporting community, I’d like to wish Kingsley Jones and the entire men’s team all the best next month in Marseille,” said Allen Vansen, Chief Executive Officer for Rugby Canada.
“We are deeply committed to these athletes and staff, and truly believe that we have the athletes and staff to continue Canada’s legacy ofcompeting in every Men’s Rugby World Cup. I am excited to join the rest of the country in cheering on our Men’s team in France!”
Broadcast details for the tournament have yet to be announced by World Rugby.
Canada’s November long list:
Tyler Ardron – Chiefs/Ontario Blues (Lakefield, ON)
Kyle Baillie –Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock (Summerside, PEI)
Noah Barker – James Bay AA/BC Bears (Courtenay, BC)
Ray Barkwill – Seattle Seawolves/Ontario Blues (Niagara Falls, ON)
Brett Beukeboom – Cornish Pirates/Ontario Blues (Lindsay, ON)
Nick Blevins – Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary, AB)
Hubert Buydens – NOLA Gold/Prairie Wolf Pack (Saskatoon, SK)
Luke Campbell – James Bay AA/BC Bears (Victoria, BC)
Paul Ciulini – Aurora Barbarians/Ontario Blues (Vaughan, ON)
Guiseppe du Toit – UVIC Vikes/BC Bears (Maple Ridge, BC)
Matt Evans – Cornish Pirates (Maple Bay, BC)
Doug Fraser – Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears (Ladysmith, BC)
Ciaran Hearn – London Irish/Atlantic Rock (Conception Bay South, NL)
Matt Heaton – Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock (Godmanchester, QC)
Eric Howard – NOLA Gold/Ontario Blues (Ottawa, ON)
Jake Ilnicki – Yorkshire Carnegie/BC Bears (Williams Lake, BC)
Cole Keith – James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock (Sussex, NB)
Josh Larsen – Otago (Parksville, BC)
Ben LeSage – UBC Thunderbirds/Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary, AB)
Kainoa Lloyd – Mississauga Blues/Ontario Blues (Mississauga, ON)
Phil Mack – Seattle Seawolves/BC Bears (Victoria, BC)
Jamie Mackenzie – Balmy Beach/Atlantic Rock (Oakville, ON)
Gordon McRorie – Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary, AB)
Shane O’Leary – Nottingham Rugby (Cambleton, NB)
Evan Olmstead – Auckland/Prairie Wolf Pack (Vancouver, BC)
Pat Parfrey – Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock (St. John’s, NL)
Taylor Paris – Castres Olympique/Ontario Blues (Barrie, ON)
Lucas Rumball – Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues (Mississauga, ON)
Theo Sauder – UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears (Vancouver, BC)
Djustice Sears-Duru – Unattached/Ontario Blues (Oakville, ON)
Mike Sheppard – Stoney Creek Camels/Ontario Blues (Brampton, ON)
Matt Tierney – Pau/Ontario Blues (Oakville, ON)
Conor Trainor – USON Nevers/BC Bears (Vancouver, BC)
DTH van der Merwe – Glasgow Warriors (Victoria, BC)
Rugby World Cup 2019 Repechage Schedule
Canada vs. Kenya
Kick off: 7am ET/4am PT
Canada vs. Germany
Kick off: 10am ET/7am PT
Canada vs. Hong Kong
Kick off: 3pm ET/12pm PT