PREVIEW: Canada v Romania

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 07:02
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Aaron Carpenter is set to become Canada's all-time caps leader as he will play in his 77th test match Saturday against Romania.

Carpenter, who will start at No.8, will break Al Charron’s record of 76 test caps that has lasted nearly 15 years. Carpenter tied the record last weekend against Georgia in Calgary.

"Al Charron is an absolute legend so just to be mentioned in the same breath as him is huge for me," Carpenter said. "Just to be around this record is awesome but that’s an individual thing as we’re looking to be part of the team that wins Saturday.

"I just want to get on the pitch and get it done."

Carpenter made his test debut in 2005 and has played in three World Cups. His 16 test tries are the fourth most in Canadian history.

Canada will be captained by Brett Beukeboom and DTH van der Merwe Saturday while Tyler Ardron makes his first appearance in a Canadian jersey since the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Anthony Luca, who made his test debut last Saturday against Georgia, will make his first test start in the front alongside Ray Barkwill and Matt Tierney.

Beukeboom will be joined by Evan Olmstead at lock with Ardron and Matt Heaton at flank.

Gordon McRorie starts at scrumhalf with Connor Braid at flyhalf. Sean Duke and van der Merwe will man the wings with Nick Blevins and Conor Trainor at centre. Ciaran Hearn starts at fullback.

There is also an opportunity for Ryan Ackerman to make his test debut for Canada as he is named as a replacement.

"Romania are a tough team," head coach Mark Anscombe said. "They've got big men and are a very strong team and their form of late has been very good. We’ve got a big task ahead of us but one we’re looking forward to."

Canada is two-five all-time against Romania and hasn't beaten them since the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

Canada is coming off of a 13-0 loss to Georgia in Calgary last weekend. Saturday’s game is their final tune-up before they begin a two-game 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifying series against the USA on June 24 in Hamilton, Ontario. The second leg is July 1 in San Diego.

Recent results:

2015: Romania won 17-15, Leicester (WC pool match)
2014: Romania won 18-9, Bucharest
2005: Romania won 22-20, Bucharest
1995: Canada won 34-3, Port Elizabeth (WC pool match)
1991: Canada won 19-11, Toulouse (WC pool match)

Teams:

Canada: 15 Ciaran Hearn, 14 DTH van Der Merwe (co-captain), 13 Conor Trainor, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 Sean Duke, 10 Connor Braid, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Matt Heaton, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Evan Olmstead, 4 Brett Beukeboom (co-captain), 3 Matt Tierney, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Anthony Luca.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Ryan Ackerman, 19 Conor Keys, 20 Kyle Baillie, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Andrew Coe.

Romania: TBC

Date: Saturday, June 17
Venue: Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton
Kick-off: 15:00 local (21:00 GMT; 00.00 Romania Time, Sunday, June 18)
Expected weather: It will be partly cloudly with a high of 20 and a low of 9.
Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant Referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)