Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hooker Ray Barkwill among Veterans Named to Canada's Americas Rugby Tourney Team

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Hooker Ray Barkwill among Veterans Named to Canada's Americas Rugby Tourney Team

Article excerpt

Rugby Canada names opening ARC roster

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Veterans 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.

Uncapped players include former Canada under-20 fly half Will Kelly (Dragons, Wales), back-rower Justin Blanchet (Bedford Blues, England), Canada under-20 winger Will Percillier (Stade Francais, France) and Seattle Seawolves' flanker Nakai Penny.

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. …

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