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Fri 16 Jun 2006 | 12:00

Preview - USA v Canada

Preview - USA v Canada
Fri 16 Jun 2006 | 12:00

Preview - USA v Canada


Rod Snow returns to Canada fold

Veteran prop Newfoundland's Rod Snow comes back into the Canada side after a three-year hiatus for the game against the US Eagles in the Bowl Final of the Barclays Churchill Cup in Edmonton on Saturday.

The 36 year-old Snow, who holds the Canadian record as its most capped prop with 54 international appearances, will play tight-head prop for the first time in a career that began in 1995 against Argentina when he played hooker.

Also injected into the team is lock Mike Burak, who joined the squad yesterday from Australia where he plays professionally for Northern Suburbs in the Sydney, Australia league.

"Rod and Mike will add mass and experience and bring some presence and stability to the pack," said Canada's coach Ric Suggitt.

Loose-head prop, Lucan's Dan Pletch, who will be winning his twelfth cap, and Burnaby Lake hooker Pat Riordan, winning his eighth cap, make up the rest of the front-row, while Luke Tait, who has played in all of this year's Barclays Churchill Cup games, will partner Burak in the second-row.

The back-row will have lots of pace with University of Victoria's Adam Kleeberger, usually an open-side, playing short-side and new professional Stan McKeen, who has recently signed with the Cornish Pirates, on the other side of the scrum.

Oakville's Sean-Michael Stephen, who has been in superb form throughout Canada's campaign this summer, retains the number eight spot. 

Morgan Williams will captain the side at scrum-half and will again combine with Edinburgh Gunners professional Ander Monro to make up the half-back pairing.

Victoria University's David Spicer retains the inside centre jersey in which he made some nifty runs against the Saxons last Saturday. This week he joins Bayside's Chris Pack in the centers.

Northampton professional James Pritchard returns to the wing, from where he kicked ten points against Scotland A at Twin Elm Park in Canada's first game of the competition.

Meraloma's Justin Mensah-Coker retains the other wing position with Edinburgh Gunners professional Mike Pyke resuming play at fullback where he played against Scotland A.

"People shouldn't read too much into this match on Saturday with regard to the World Cup Qualifier,” said Suggitt, whose team faces the Eagles in a crucial RWC 2007 match in August.

"Saturday's game is a 'full-on' match against our biggest rivals and we are going out, as always, to win it.

"That said, when we play the Eagles again on August 12, we will field an entirely different team than the one that will take the field at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday.

"The Eagles will be big and physical as always and knowing that games have all been dog fights and have been very close, we're not leaving anything to chance and expect a tough game. We just hope at the final whistle it will be Canada on the right side of the scoreboard."

Meanwhile, centres Paul Emerick and Albert Tuipulotu return to the US Eagles after fulfilling their club commitments with Parma.

The duo helped the side to the semi-finals of the Italian Super 10 competition and also to a Heineken Cup qualifying win with Parma downing the Newport-Gwent Dragon 24-15 in the play-off for the final spot in next season's competition.

Emerick scored a try in the final moments of the match to seal the victory for Parma and marked the first time an Italian side won a playoff against a Welsh club.

Elsewhere, Life flank Scott Lawrence will receive his first cap after sitting out the first two matches and BTY fullback Jeff Hullinger also returns to the XV after sitting out the match against the New Zealand Maori due to a concussion.

USA: 15 Jeff Hullinger (BYU), 14 Mike Palefau (Haggis), 13 Paul Emerick (Parma), 12 Albert Tuipulotu (Parma), 11 Jeremy Nash (Chicago Lions), 10 Jason Kelly (Denver Barbarians), 9 Tyson Meek (Denver Barbarians), 8 Kort Schubert (Cardiff, captain), 7 Todd Clever (Mahurangi), 6 Scott Lawrence (Life University), 5 Mike Mangan (Chicago Griffins), 4 Carl Hansen (Olympic Club), 3 John Tarpoff (St Louis), 2 Patrick Bell (Life University), 1 Mike MacDonald (Leeds).
Replacements: 16 Owen Lentz (Washington), 17 Chris Osentowski (Belmont Shore), 18 Brian Schoener (OPSB), 19 Mark Aylor (Austin), 20 Mose Timoteo (Hayward), 21 Alipate Tuilevuka (BYU), 22 Brian Barnard (Golden Gate).

Canada: 15 Mike Pyke (Edinburgh Gunners), 14 Justin Mensah-Coker (Meraloma), 13 Chris Pack (Bayside), 12 David Spicer (University of Victoria), 11 James Pritchard (Northampton), 10 Ander Monro (Edinburgh Gunners), 9 Morgan Williams (Stade Français), 8 Sean-Micheal Stephen (Oakville Crusaders), 7 Stan MCKeen (Cornish Pirates), 6 Adam Kleeberger (University of Victoria), 5 Mike Burak (Northern Suburbs), 4 Luke Tait (Overmarch Parma), 3 Rod Snow (Dogs), 2 Pat Riordan (Burnaby Lake), 1 Dan Pletch (Oakville Crusaders)
Replacements: 16 Aaron Abrams (Castaway Wanderers), 17 Mike Barbieri (Overmach Parma), 18 Mike Pletch (Oakville Crusaders), 19 Oliver Atkinson (Velox Valhallians), 20 Aaron Carpenter (Brantford Harlequins), 21 Ed Fairhurst (University of Victoria), 22 Derek Daypuck (Castaway Wanderers).

Date: Saturday, June 17
Kick-off: 16:30 (22:30 GMT)
Venue: Commonwealth Stadium, Edmonton
Referee: Andrew Small (England)
Touch judges: Gary Wise (New Zealand), Olan Trevor (Ireland)

PV: 2
Preview - Usa V Canada - Usa | Rugby365