Saturday, July 27, 2019

USA v Canada: first step to RWC Glory

Road Starts Here

The Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) opens action tonight with US taking on its old nemesis from the north, Canada, in the first round of the tournament. The competition, between six nations on or within the Pacific Rim, is preliminary to 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC), which takes place beginning September 20 on the Home Islands of Japan. Both Eagles and Canada take off post-match for Fiji, where they will play the remaining two fixtures in the RWC-shortened tournament.

The Canadian 23-man roster contains one potential debutante, number 2 Andrew Quattrin, who may earn his initial cap should he come off the bench in the 16 jersey. Last time Canada featured in a match at Infinity, it was to beat France A in an epic struggle that saw the True North repel a ferocious French effort in their business district, scant meters from goal in the last five minutes to obtain the 33-27 result. There are a pair of players from that Kieran Crowley-coached side who, though mere pups at the time, are now formidable internationals,and they will start this evening: Ciaran Hearn at first five-eighths - he’s notched three from his own 10-meter line with his cannon at the Park; and DTH van der Merve, Glasgow Warriors closer with a nose for the line and the means to get there. All else on the Canadian matchday roster are well-blooded save for potential debutante, Quattrin. The estimable Super Rugby backrow lock, Tyler Ardron, secures the forward pack at 8 and he captains the XV.

For their measure the Americans boast a star-studded lineup featuring Glendale Raptors Shaun Davies and Sale Sharks AJ MacGinty in the telling halfback combination, while hotstepping 7s product, Martin Iosefo, joins captain Blaine Scully and Will Hooley in the backthree backs. New York United’s Dylan Fawsitt gets the start at hooker for his fourth international selection and he’s propped by relative newbie Chance Wenglewski who’s got three caps at loosehead and tighthead Paul Mullen who’ll earn his second; and though that front row may seem as rookies, they’ve just come off the pitch of the professional (North American) competition and are well-prepared for tonight’s action: 6pm down the Kettle at Infinity. See you there!

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