Facing a formidable opponent in England, number 3, Canada will look for small victories on Saturday at Twickenham.
Coach Kingsley Jones is hoping to see the 23rd-ranked Canadian men make breakthroughs in scrums, lineouts and other parts of the rugby test match.
“We know the odds are stacked against us. We have to look for these small wins,” he said on Friday. “And then we can affect the dashboard.”
Canada has never beaten England, dominating 273-73 in six straight losses. England had 12 tries to shut out Canada 70-0 when they last met in November 2004 at Twickenham.
The Canadians suffered a 68-12 loss to sixth-place Wales last weekend.
Despite the lopsided score, Jones saw some bright spots in the Cardiff game, which was the first for his side since October 8, 2019, at the Rugby World Cup in Japan. But he said the Canadians were ‘on the ropes’ 20 minutes into the game and struggled for a while after that, needing time to adjust to the pace and appearance. physics of the match.
To say the team has performed well in training this week – “We’ve come a long way in five days.” – he hopes for more sustained periods of concentration against England.
“We have to make sure we’re competitive for the first 20 minutes,” Jones said. “That’s what we want to do. And I think we’ll be in the game. The longer we’re in the game, who knows? But certainly those first 20, 25 minutes, I want to see our players handle that and (get) those little victories over the little goals that we set for ourselves from those set pieces, those breaking battles and so on. “
England are missing 12 players who are touring South Africa with the British and Irish Lions. Coach Eddie Jones also rests several veterans including George Ford, Jonny May and Ben Youngs for the summer test series.
But given the depth of English rugby and the desire of newcomers to claim future playing opportunities, England will field a dangerous side.
A young England team, with 12 debutants on Matchday 23 – including eight in the 15th start – beat the United States 43-29 last Saturday.
The Canadians will use the July test matches to prepare for the start of World Cup qualifying this fall. The United States Eagles, 16th in the standings, and Canada’s first opponent in qualifying, face No. 4 Ireland on Saturday in Dublin.
Kingsley Jones, a former Wales captain, expects a tall order.
“Like my mom always used to tell me, ‘The bigger they are, the harder they hit you. And don’t forget that,'” he said.
The Canadian men were based outside Bristol for most of their stay in England. Although being stuck in a bubble to avoid COVID has limited what they can do, Jones says the team spent a lot of time together at the hotel watching the Euro 2020 football tournament on TV.
“It actually contributed to the camaraderie and the team spirit,” he said.
Jones makes two changes to his front pack with Reegan O’Gorman moving from blind side flanker to second row in place of injured Josh Larsen (stiff neck). Corey Thomas of Los Angeles Giltinis, born in Australia but eligible for Canada through his Edmonton-born father, is in 6th place.
“Corey impressed us in MLR… but also in training he’s been really good,” Jones said.
Winning his first cap, NOLA Gold’s Lachlan Kratz takes center stage with Quinn Ngawati falling on the bench at the expense of Lucas Albornoz.
“I think Lockie has impressed everyone this season,” Jones said of the 21-year-old from Oak Bay, BC.
“His running meters, his level of fitness, his speed, his skill … I was really impressed with him,” he added. “Quinn did well but we have to give people an opportunity.”
Houston SaberCats mainstay Liam Murray, up for his first cap, is among the Canadian substitutes. He replaces Tyler Rowland, who received a blow to the head.
Lucas Rumball is Canada’s captain with Toronto Arrows teammate Ben LeSage as vice-captain.
In the “covering all bases” department, World Rugby said Canada would overtake No.22 Hong Kong in a tie against England and could be in the top 20 if they win and No.21 Portugal lose. against the Netherlands No. 24. England could fall to seventh place with a loss.
England’s victory will not improve their ranking.
Four players will make their England debuts on Saturday: center Dan Kelly, winger Adam Radwan, lock Harry Wells and No.8 Alex Dombrandt. Flanker Lewis Ludlow is England captain while hooker Jamie Blamire makes his first England start.
The much-vaunted Harlequins half-shuttlecock Marcus Smith, 22, wins his second selection in England.
The 15 Canadian starters total 204 selections, including 53 from the Justice Sears-Duru pillar. The pack has a total of 159 pre-match caps while the full-backs number 45.
Canada is deprived of some of its pros abroad, including Tyler Ardron, Evan Olmstead and Matt Tierney. Jones said they watched Conor Young but the former Under-20 prop was playing in Australia and could not have returned if he left due to COVID restrictions.
The starting Englishman 15 enter the game with a combined cap count of just 129 with center Henry Slade (39), prop Ellis Genge (29), lock Charlie Ewels (22) and flanker Sam Underhill (23) representing 113 of them.
Jamie Cudmore, Canada’s forwards coach and one of the country’s most famous rugby exporters, started the 2004 game against England at Twickenham.
“I blew my knee on the first kick-off and only got it about 20 minutes after that,” he recalls. “Not the best of memories.
“And the last time I played at Twickenham I almost got killed with a concussion. I really hope things get better for the boys (Saturday).”
Henry Paul, now head coach of the Canadian men’s seven team, lined up for England in the 2004 game. England had just won the World Cup the year before with Jason Robinson, Will Greenwood and Mike Tindall in his training against Canada.
Canada also faced England at Twickenham in December 1994 and August 1999, losing 60-19 and 36-11 respectively. The two sides also met there in October 1983, but England did not award a selection for the 27-0 victory.
Justice Sears-Duru, Andrew Quattrin, Jake Ilnicki, Reegan O’Gorman, Conor Keys, Corey Thomas, Lucas Rumball (captain), Siaki Vikilani, Ross Braude, Peter Nelson, Kainoa Lloyd, Lachlan Kratz, Ben LeSage, Cole Davis, Cooper Coats.
Eric Howard, Cole Keith, Liam Murray, Donald Carson, Michel Smith, Quinn Ngawati, Will Percillier, Robbie Povey.
Ellis Genge, Jamie Blamire, Joe Heyes, Harry Wells, Charlie Ewels, Lewis Ludlow (captain), Sam Underhill, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randall, Marcus Smith, Adam Radwan, Dan Kelly, Henry Slade, Joe Cokanasiga, Freddie Steward.
Curtis Langdon, Beno Obano, Paul Hill, Callum Chick, Lewis Ludlam, Dan Robson, George Furbank, Joe Marchant.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 9, 2021