Canada to begin play at 2019 Rugby World Cup on Thursday

Ciaran Hearn (Warwick Gastinger, Wikimedia Commons)

Team Canada will begin play at the 2019 Rugby Men’s World Cup in Japan on Thursday. The Canadian team will play Italy in their first game of the competition from Fukuoka City, Japan.

The Canadians are in pool B with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia. Of the eight prior Rugby World Cups, New Zealand or South Africa have won the tournament on five occasions. New Zealand won in 1987, 2011 and 2015, while South Africa won in 1995 and 2007. The only other champions are Australia and England.

There are 31 players on Team Canada. They are hookers Eric Howard of Ottawa, Ontario, Benoit Piffero of Montreal, Quebec, Andrew Quattrin of Holland Landing, Ontario, props Hubert Buydens of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Jake Ilnicki of Williams Lake, British Columbia, Cole Keith of Sussex, New Brunswick, Djustice Sears-Duru of Edmonton, Alberta, Matt Tierney of Mississauga, Ontario, locks Conor Keys of Stittsville, Ontario, Evan Olmstead of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Mike Sheppard of Brampton, Ontario, Josh Larsen of Nanaimo, British Columbia, flankers Kyle Baillie of St. Albert, Alberta, Matt Heaton of Montreal, Quebec, Lucas Rumball of Scarborough, Ontario, number eights Tyler Ardron of Lakefield, Ontario, Luke Campbell of Victoria, British Columbia, scrum-halves Phil Mack of Victoria, British Columbia, Jamie Mackenzie of Oakville, Ontario, Gordon McRorie of Edmonton, Alberta, fly-halves Shane O’Leary of Edmunston, New Brunswick, Pat Parfrey of St. John’s, Newfoundland, centres Nick Blevins of Edmonton, Alberta, Ciaran Hearn of Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Ben LeSage of Calgary, Alberta, Conor Trainor of Vancouver, British Columbia, wings Jeff Hassler of Calgary, Alberta, Taylor Paris of Barrie, Ontario, D.T.H. van der Merwe of Regina, Saskatchewan, and fullbacks Andrew Coe of Markham, Ontario and Peter Nelson of Toronto, Ontario.

Of the Canadian players, Hearn has the most caps at 70. After their game against Italy on Thursday, they play New Zealand on October 2, South Africa on October 8 and Namibia on October 13. The top two teams from each pool advance to the quarterfinals.

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