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RWC Pool B Preview – New Zealand vs Canada

(Kick-off: 7.15PM, 11.15PM NZT)

The All Blacks team to play Canada in their second Rugby World Cup Pool Play Test on Wednesday 2 October at Oita Stadium, Oita, has been named.

In naming the team, All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “Our aim is to win the next two Pool matches against Canada and Namibia, as well as continuing to grow our game and manage the workload across the group. With two games four days apart, it’s obvious that we need to use our whole squad.

“Whilst there’s a huge amount of energy and excitement amongst the whole team about what lies ahead, this week there has been a real focus on ourselves and our own standards,” Hansen added.

“We’ve been working hard. We know we have to keep growing our game. We’ve always been demanding of ourselves when it comes to continued improvement, and that will never change. By doing so, it allows us to have the right attitude, intent and execution.

“When it comes to our preparation, it should never be about who we are playing, but how we are preparing individually and as a team, both mentally and physically. By doing this, it means you always respect your opponent and the jersey.”

The starting front row for the Test against Canada is made up of props Atu Moli and Angus Ta’avao and hooker Liam Coltman, with support coming off the bench from Ofa Tuungafasi and Nepo Laulala and hooker Codie Taylor. Patrick Tuipulotu and Scott Barrett are the starting locks with impact off the bench in the form of Samuel Whitelock. In the loose forwards, Shannon Frizell is at number six, Matt Todd is in the seven jersey and Kieran Read will again captain the side from number eight. Ardie Savea provides loose forward cover from the bench.

In the backline, TJ Perenara starts at halfback, with Brad Weber on the bench; Sonny Bill Williams and Jack Goodhue will combine in the midfield, with Ryan Crotty providing midfield cover; while the back three sees Rieko Ioane in the 11 jersey, Jordie Barrett in 14 and Beauden Barrett again at the back in the 15 jersey. Ben Smith is outside back cover.

Hansen added: “We are looking forward to the contest with Canada. We know they’re a proud nation who are led by Tyler Ardron, a player who we respect and know very well from his time in New Zealand with the Chiefs.

We are sure his attitude of not taking a backward step will be reflected throughout the whole team. That means we need to impose ourselves on the game from the very start.”

The All Blacks have spent a week in the southern city of Beppu preparing for the Canada Test.

“Our move away from Tokyo to Beppu has allowed us to refresh mentally as well as putting in some hard work on the training pitch. The whole community has been incredibly welcoming and we’ve really enjoyed being here,” Hansen said.

Stats and facts

    • The All Blacks and Canada have played each other on five occasions – three times at the Rugby World Cup (1991, 2003 and 2007) while the other two times were coincidentally in RWC years (1995 and 2007).
    • Kieran Read, Samuel Whitelock and Sonny Bill Williams all played against Canada in 2011.
    • Sixteen players will be making their Rugby World Cup debut on Wednesday.
    • Beauden Barrett has scored 634 Test match points and is closing in on former All Black and current selector Grant Fox who is third on the All Blacks all-time Test points list with 645 points.
    • Barrett will be playing his 80th Test against Canada. Samuel Whitelock played his 113th Test against South Africa last week, overtaking Daniel Carter to become the All Blacks fifth most capped player of all time.
    • The All Blacks have played in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural Tournament in 1987 which they won. The became the first team to win back to back titles in 2011 and 2015.

TOKYO, 30 Sep – Canada coach Kingsley Jones has made six changes to his starting line-up for the Pool B match against New Zealand at Oita Stadium on Wednesday, Djustice Sears-Duru part of a new prop pairing charged with giving Canada forward parity with the All Blacks.

The dynamic loose-head, who came off the bench to win his 50th cap in the 48-7 defeat by Italy in Canada’s RWC 2019 opener, makes his first World Cup start, having appeared as a replacement in all of Canada’s games at RWC 2015, pictured, too.

The Canucks also have a new combination in midfield, Conor Trainor set to play at outside-centre eight years to the day after becoming the only player this century to score two tries against New Zealand in a World Cup match.

“That’s pretty cool,” said the 29-year-old, who played wing that day. “Back then I was just so young that I didn’t really even know.”

The other survivor from that 79-15 defeat is DTH van der Merwe. The star winger can join Brian Lima, Gareth Thomas, Brian O’Driscoll and Adam Ashley-Cooper as the only players to score at least one try in four World Cups. He will also become the players with the most RWC starts for Canada (14) and joint-most RWC appearances.

OITA, 1 Oct – In 2011, engineering student Conor Trainor scored two tries in a Rugby World Cup match against New Zealand, the only time at the past four tournaments anybody has achieved this feat.

His moment of glory was short-lived, however. “I was back in class within 48 hours of playing that game,” said Trainor, pictured in 2015. “I played against a university team six days after that so it was just right back into it.”

Trainor has another opportunity to face the world’s No.1 team in Canada’s Pool B match at Oita Stadium on Wednesday, eight years to the day after his try double in the 79-15 defeat by the hosts in Wellington.

“Back then I was just so young I didn’t really even know. It’s more years down the line that it’s been such a cool thing to have done. Eight years later to be speaking about it and to get another chance to keep up my strike rate against New Zealand is pretty cool.”

The centre is selected in the starting XV against New Zealand after being left out of the 48-7 defeat by Italy in Canada’s opening match.

“It will be great to do it again. It’s the best team in the world. When you score tries, make breaks, make plays off them, you know that you’ve got the better of the best players so that’s a great test for us and a great way to judge where we’re at.”

Canada have not faced the All Blacks at a Rugby World Cup since Trainor scored those memorable tries. It was his fourth match at a RWC after making his debut in an earlier fixture against fellow Tier 2 nation Tonga.

Got a little lucky

“I was 21. I didn’t really know what was going on. I was just a university student going out and trying my best. It just worked out. We had a great team and maybe I got a little lucky on that day.”

Soon after his heroics in Wellington, Trainor won a gold medal at the 2011 Pan American Games with the Canada sevens team and then played for clubs in France for four years.

Back for his third Rugby World Cup, the now 29-year-old is ready for another tilt at the All Blacks.

“Hopefully now I am a better rugby player. Been around a lot longer and more of a veteran on the team as opposed to the new guy. But same work ethic, same want to win. I just want to go out there and score tries.”

RR WORLD RANKINGS – During World Cup the RR Ranking Points are DOUBLED

NZL (on 90.99 points) -vs- CAN (on 61.12 points) in a RWC match

Possible Outcome Rating Point
Will CAN
overtake NZL?
If NZL win by 1-15 points 0.000 90.99 61.12 No
If NZL win by more than 15 0.000 90.99 61.12 No
If result is a draw 2.000 88.99 63.12 No
If CAN win by 1-15 points 4.000 86.99 65.12 No
If CAN win by more than 15 6.000 84.99 67.12 No

🇳🇿 NEW ZEALAND (with Test caps in brackets)
1. Atu Moli (2) 2. Liam Coltman (6) 3. Angus Ta’avao (9) 4. Patrick Tuipulotu (26) 5. Scott Barrett (32) 6. Shannon Frizell (6) 7. Matt Todd (21) 8. Kieran Read – captain (123) 9. TJ Perenara (60) 10. Richie Mo’unga (13) 11. Rieko Ioane (26) 12. Sonny Bill Williams (54) 13. Jack Goodhue (9) 14. Jordie Barrett (12)5. Beauden Barrett (79)
Replacements: 16. Codie Taylor (46) 17. Ofa Tuungafasi (31) 18. Nepo Laulala (21) 19. Samuel Whitelock (113) 20. Ardie Savea (40) 21. Brad Weber (2) 22. Ryan Crotty (46) 23. Ben Smith (81)

1. Djustice Sears-Duru 2. Eric Howard 3. Cole Keith 4. Evan Olmstead 5. Conor Keys 6. Lucas Rumball 7. Matt Heaton 8. Tyler Ardron (capt.) 9. Gordon McRorie 10. Peter Nelson 11. DTH Van Der Merwe 12. Ciaran Hearn 13. Conor Trainor 14. Jeff Hassler 15. Patrick Parfrey
Replacements: 16. Andrew Quattrin 17. Hubert Buydens 18. Jake Ilnicki 19. Michael Sheppard 20. Josh Larsen 21. Phil Mack 22. Taylor Paris 23. Andrew Coe

Date: Wednesday, October 2
Kick-Off: 19:15 local (Kick-off: 11.15PM NZT)
Venue: Oita Stadium, Oita Prefecture
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France), Alexandre Ruiz (France)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

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