USA and Canada select strong squads for North America derby
Both USA and Canada have named their strongest possible squads for their North America derby this weekend.
Over 10,000 people are set to attend the Rugby World Cup warm-up game between Canada and the USA in Toronto, a match that the Canadians are hoping will drum up support for their campaign in New Zealand.
“It’s massive for Canadian rugby,” Keiran Crowley, Canada’s head coach, said, “Hopefully all this exposure does raise the profile, and people will jump onboard and see what the game’s all about.”
USA captain Todd Clever says his side won’t be taking the game lightly: “The rivalry we have with Canada is extremely fierce and we are very excited to face them in Toronto and get our RWC campaign underway.’
The match is the USA’s first of their summer warm-up games and coach Eddie O'Sullivan said “It's important that we get a solid start to this August tour, with the Rugby World Cup (RWC) only weeks away. The squad has switched on right from the start, and realize that their RWC campaign is in their hands.”
Two USA players that are not available for Canada match are veteran fullback Chris Wyles who is nursing an ankle problem and Highlanders winger James Paterson who is continuing his rehabilitation.
But the USA have received a boost with Saracens lock Hayden Smith returning to the team after helping his club side win the Premiership title in London earlier this year.
Canada will be competing in Pool A with Tonga, Japan, France and hosts New Zealand this September and will face a tough task to reach the knockout stages, a feat they have only managed once in 1991.
USA must play Australia, Ireland, Italy and Russia in a tough Pool C this September but the Eagles, with experienced forward Mike MacDonald, exciting winger Takudzwa Ngwenya and captain Todd Clever, have the nous to cause a few headaches for the tournament's bigger sides.
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