Rugby Canada lineup vs Scotland sees three changes
Canadian coach Kieran Crowley has made three changes from the team that blew a 17-point lead to Japan a week ago.
Without beating the drum too much more, Canada’s trouble came in two spots – the scrum being beaten heavily by Japan’s suddenly world-class pack and some worrisome lapses in back line defence.
But despite some wondering if Crowley would stick with the same group of backs, the only charge is Phil Mack returning to the starting line up in place of last week’s debutant, Gordon McRorie. The Scottish-born halfback was solid on debut, but Mack’s aggressive go-forward style was evident from the moment he arrived on the pitch- will that be a lesson the McRorie? A steady pass and a commanding presence around the break down is indeed important, but so is the ability to keep defences on their toes.
Harry Jones gets another go at fly half. His performance last week was mostly on the mark…on attack. He played front-foot rugby and linked well with his outside attackers. It’s his defensive work that needs shoring up. He’s been a solid defender at sevens, there’s no reason why he can’t translate that to fifteens.
The other two changes are up front, where former captain Aaron Carpenter makes his debut at hooker for Canada. He’s a known quantity in the loose, but can he solidify his throwing a become the powerful middle-of-the-front row Canada’s been looking for since the days of Dunkley.
In the back row is the delayed-by-a-week 2014 Canadian debut for Jebb Sinclair. The big London Irish flanker is apparently fully recovered from a groin complaint. His presence at the breakdown will be notable. Grit and power are his calling cards and the breakdown became a small problem for Canada against Japan. Against Scotland’s experienced backrow of Strokosh, Brown and Beattie, this could be the decisive showdown.
The game will come down to two things: how much control is Scotland able to establish in the early going. Canada made plenty of hay in the first half a week ago, taking advantage of Japanese back line that didn’t fire right away. The other question is the defence. It conceded three ‘soft tries’ – Crowley words agreeing with the fans – and struggled with Japan’s mid-course correction. Strike runners came from wide, exploiting a lack of scanning by Canadian defenders both inside and out.
Lots of power in this team. The back line is mostly veterans (yes, full back Stuart Hogg is only 21, but he’s closing in on two dozen caps), with the youthful Finn Russell winning just his second cap at fly half. Tim Visser’s battled against Jeff Hassler will be one to watch as well.
The forwards are a similar story. The aforementioned back row of Beattie, Brown and Strokosch are a veteran bunch, while the enormous Richie Gray will be a handful.
The reserves are a mix of young and old; but this is again a test of Canada’s depth. There’s plenty of quality, on paper, on each bench, but the final quarter of the match has been a challenge for Canada for some time now, will they find a full 80 minutes or will Scotland’s depth be the difference?
POSSIBLE RR World Rankings outcome on Result
CAN (on 69.77 points) at home -vs- SCO (on 76.04 points)
|Possible Outcome||Rating Point
|If CAN win by 1-15 points||1.327||71.10||74.71||No|
|If CAN win by more than 15||1.991||71.76||74.05||No|
|If result is a draw||0.327||70.10||75.71||No|
|If SCO win by 1-15 points||0.673||69.10||76.71||No|
|If SCO win by more than 15||1.009||68.76||77.05||No|
Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Bevins, 11 Taylor Paris, 10 Harry Jones, 9 Phil Mack, 8 Tyler Ardron (c), 7 John Moonlight, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Jamie Cudmore, 4 Tyler Hotson, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Aaron Carpenter, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Ray Barkwill, 17 Andrew Tiedemann, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Kyle Gilmour, 20 Jon Phelan, 21 Gordon McRorie, 22 Connor Braid, 23 DTH van der Merwe.
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Sean Lamont, 12 Peter Horne, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Kelly Brown, 6 Al Strokosch, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Moray Low, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Gordon Reid.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Bryce, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Blair Cowan, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Max Evans.
Date: Saturday 14th June
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
Kick-off: 1400 local, 1900 BST
Referee: Mike Fraser (NZ)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (SA), Nick Ricono (USA)
TMO: Davey Ardrey (USA)