Ray Barkwill, Nick Blevins, Hubert Buydens and Ciaran Hearn lead Canada’s 28-man roster for the first two games of the 2019 Americas Rugby Championship.
The Canadian men, currently ranked 20th in the world, are scheduled to leave for Montevideo on Jan. 26 for the opening two test matches of the tournament against No. 17 Uruguay on Feb. 2 and No. 28 Brazil in Sao Paulo on Feb. 9.
After a one-week break, the tournament resumes with Canada hosting No. 29 Chile and an Argentina XV at Langford, B.C., on Feb. 22 and March 1, respectively. Canada wraps up play March 8 against the 12th-ranked U.S. Eagles in Seattle.
As in the past, 10th-ranked Argentina is not fielding its test team for the tournament.
The U.S. won last year’s ARC with a 5-0-0 record. Canada was fourth at 2-3-0.
“The squad we have selected has a good mix of experience and youth,” Canada coach Kingsley Jones said in a statement. “With less than nine months until the Rugby World Cup, the ARC allows us the opportunity to give some players who played very well in 2018 but missed out on tough selection in November.”
Canada’s Barkwill, Blevins, Buydens and Hearn all have 50 or more caps.
Andrew Coe, who has split his time between sevens and 15s over the last two years, returns to the 15s team for the first time since November 2017.
The Canadian roster features 15 players from Major League Rugby, the second-year North American league, five from European teams and eight from domestic clubs. Canada’s top overseas pros have been left with their clubs.
Canada became the 20th and last team to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan when it won a four-team repechage in November in France.
Kyle Baillie, NOLA Gold (MLR), Summerside, P.E.I.; Noah Barker, Utah Warriors (MLR), Courtenay, B.C.; Ray Barkwill, Niagara Falls, Ont.; Justin Blanchet, Bedford Blues (England), Montreal; Nick Blevins, Calgary Hornets, Calgary; Hubert Buydens, NOLA Gold (MLR) Saskatoon; Luke Campbell, James Bay AA; Victoria; Andrew Coe, Markham Irish, Toronto; Dustin Dobravsky, Castaway Wanderers, Hanover, Germany; Guiseppe du Toit, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Maple Ridge, B.C.; Doug Fraser, Austin Elite (MLR), Ladysmith, B.C.; Ciaran Hearn, London Irish, Conception Bay South, N.L.; Eric Howard, NOLA Gold (ML), Ottawa; Cole Keith, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Sussex, N.B.; Will Kelly, Dragons (Wales), Ancaster, Ont.; Conor Keys, Rotherham Titans (England), Stittsville, Ont.; Ryan Kotlewski, Westshore RFC, Calgary, Alta.; Josh Larsen, Austin Elite (MLR), Parskville, B.C.; Ben LeSage, UBC Thunderbirds; Vancouver; Kainoa Lloyd, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Mississauga, Ont.; Jamie Mackenzie, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Oakville, Ont.; Pat Parfrey, unattached, St. John’s, N.L.; Nakai Penny, Seattle Seawolves (MLR), Pentiction, B.C.; Will Percillier, Stade Francais (France), Mill Bay, B.C.; Lucas Rumball, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Mississauga, Ont.; Theo Sauder, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Vancouver; Djustice Sears-Duru, Seattle Seawolves (MLR), Oakville, Ont.; Mike Sheppard, Toronto Arrows (MLR), Brampton, Ont.