Canada has made seven changes to the side that went down to Italy in Toronto last week for the final Test match of the summer against Georgia in Burnaby this Saturday.
Experienced scrum half and local British Columbia product Ed Fairhurst will earn his 57th cap against the Lelos with his elevation to the starting side, which sees Sean White move back to the bench.
The dynamic blonde-haired pair of Phil Mackenzie and Conor Trainor have been united in the centres after both starting on the wing last week against Italy. Mackenzie moves to inside centre with Trainor slotting in at outside centre, pushing DTH van der Merwe to the right wing and allowing Sean Duke to return to the left wing.
In the forward pack, Tom Dolezel is elevated off the bench to replace injured loose-head prop Hubert Buydens, while Andrew Tieldmann wins a spot in the starting side at hooker, with Mike Pletch dropping to the bench.
There are a number of new faces among the reserves, with Doug Woolridge, Brett Beukeboom and Jeff Hassler included after missing out against Italy.
Coach Kieran Crowley was disappointed with his side’s execution against the Auzzurri last week, but said they are not dwelling on the result and are focusing on how they can combat Georgia.
‘We were pretty disappointed last week, we had our opportunities but we didn’t execute. We aren’t dwelling on it, we are focusing on what we can control this week,’ said Crowley.
‘Last week we played too much behind the advantage line, and that just plays into the opposition’s hands. We are focusing on getting over the advantage line and getting some go-forward ball, because if you can do that it makes everything else much easier.’
With the Georgians expected to play a similar style of rugby to Italy, Crowley said the Canadians are ready for another physical encounter.
‘A lot of their players play in the French professional competitions, so they are very strong up front. They have a very good scrum and we can’t let what happened against Italy happen again, we need to get a lot better in those areas because it’s a strength of theirs we need to combat.’
Georgia impressed at the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and Crowley was quick to point out that they are a rugby nation on the rise.
‘People need to realise that rugby is the national sport in Georgia, so they have a lot of financial support and resources. In the next three or four years they will really be pushing the likes of Samoa, Fiji, Tonga and Canada, they are a team that is ready to explode.’
The Canucks will be looking to end their summer on a high after a victory over the USA Eagles and a tough loss to Italy, while Georgia will be hoping to get their tour back on track after going down to the Eagles last week at altitude in Colorado.
A big crowd is expected at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, and the rugby loving locals will be hoping the summer Test series ends with a Canadian victory.
1 Tom Dolezel - Ontario Blues (London, ON)
2 Andrew Tiedeman - Prairie Wolf Pack ( St.Albert, AB)
3 Jason Marshall - Stade Aurillacois (North Vancouver, BC)
4 Jebb Sinclair - London Irish/Stormers (Charter's Settlement, NB)
5 Tyler Hotson - London Scottish (Vancouver, BC)
6 Tyler Ardron - Ontario Blues (Lakefield, ON)
7 Chauncey O’Toole - The Rock (Belleisle, NB)
8 Aaron Carpenter - Plymouth Albion (Brantford, ON)
9 Edward Fairhurst - British Columbia (Victoria, BC)9 Sean White - unattached (Victoria, BC)
10 Matt Evans - Cornish Pirates (Duncan, BC)
11 Sean Duke - British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
12 Phil Mackenzie - London Welsh (Oakville, ON)
13 Conor Trainor - British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)
14 DTH Van der Merwe - Glasgow Warriors (Victoria, BC)
15 James Pritchard - Bedford Blues (Parkes, Australia)
16 Mike Pletch - Ontario Blues (Lucan, ON)
17 Doug Woolridge -Ontario Blues (Lindsay, ON)
18 Brett Beukeboom - Ontario Blues (Lindsay, ON)
19 Nanyak Dala - Prairie Wolf Pack (Saskatoon, SK)
20 Sean White - Unattached (Victoria, BC)
21 Jeff Hassler - Prairie Wolf Pack (Okotoks Lions RFC)
22 Ciaran Hearn - The Rock (Conception Bay South, NL)