Jeff Williams will run the rule over 35 of Canada’s best u20 players in a final selection camp before paring the group down to 26 for the two-game series against the USA on June 13 and 17, both to be played at Edmonton’s Ellerslie Park. Two of those spots will go to Americas Rugby Championship forwards Cole Keith and Matt Beukeboom, who will miss out on the camp with club commitments in New Zealand and France respectively. Also certain to be selected is a third ARC debutante, midfielder George Barton, who has arrived from Clermont Auvergne to take full part in the training session.
Among many notables are two front row forwards who have already appeared for the senior Ontario Blues in prop Dylan Parson and hooker Cam Sandison. Versatile front rower Connor Sampson returns to the team after a winning season with the UBC Thunderbirds, and powerful loose forward Jake Thiel is one of three players named – Keith a fourth – currently part of the senior men’s Centralized Training Group.
The other two are McCormick Cup-winning flyhalf Will Kelly and Atlantic Rock utility back Aidan McMullan. Barton will have midfield competition in the form of u18 call-up Kevin Vertkas and Josh Thiel, twin brother of Jake, and Canada ‘A’ winger Anton Ngongo looks set to be unleashed having been a regular in the Castaway Wanderers lineup in recent months.
Two players arrive from Australia. One is Calgary native Cole Davis who has spent the past two seasons playing on the wing for the Brumbies u20 side alongside several current Super Rugby players. The other is Western Force u20 lock or loose forward Lachlan Currie who hails from the Gold Coast and qualifies via his grandfather, a Canadian heavyweight boxing champion.
Should Canada defeat the USA in June they will qualify as the Rugby Americas North representative at the World Rugby u20 Trophy tournament, to be held in Montevideo, Uruguay, beginning on August 29. Canada did not qualify last year, losing a one-off match to the Junior All-Americans in Round Rock, Texas in March of 2016.
Nick Frost (UBC Thunderbirds), Dewald Kotze (UBCOB Ravens), Jason Lines (James Bay), Liam Murray (Langley), Dylan Parson (Oshawa Vikings), Emerson Prior (Trent Excalibur), Connor Sampson (UBC Thunderbirds), Jack McRogers (Aurora Barbarians), Steven Ng (Capilano), Cam Sandison (Oakville Crusaders), Donald Carson (UBC Thunderbirds), Thomas Davidson (Toronto Scottish), Liam Doll (UBC Thunderbirds), Jamie McNaughton (McMaster Marauders), Lachlan Currie (Bond University, AU), Nicholas De Lallo (Bytown Blues), Aidan McCleary (Westshore), James O’Neill (UVic Vikes), Carson O’Sullivan (UVic Vikes), Jake Thiel (Abbotsford)
Fraser Hurst (UBC Thunderbirds), Sebastian Iaricci (Beaconsfield), Matthew Ye (UBC Thunderbirds), Will Kelly (Brantford Harlequins), Brennig Prevost (UVic Vikes), George Barton (Clermont Auvergne, FR), Erich Milne (Oshawa Vikings), Darian Morrison (UVic Vikes), Josh Thiel (Bishop Burton College), Kevin Vertkas (Toronto Nomads), Cole Davis (Canberra Royals, AU), Elias Ergas (UBC Thunderbirds), Anton Ngongo (Castaway Wanderers), Aaron Hersant (UVic Vikes), Aidan McMullan (SABRFC)
UNAVAILABLE FOR CAMP
Cole Keith (James Bay), Matt Beukeboom (Pau, FR)