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Canada Selects name training squad for rugby game against Vancouver Highlanders

Peter Nelson and Kainoa Lloyd highlight the 26-man Canada Selects training squad for a June 28 game against the Vancouver Highlanders at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. Nelson misses the catch Chile's Nicolas Garafulic during the first half of a Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification match at Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Peter Nelson and Kainoa Lloyd highlight the 26-man Canada Selects training squad for a June 28 game against the fledgling Vancouver Highlanders at Burnaby Lake Rugby Club.

Nelson, Lloyd join Siaki Vikilani and Sion Parry as members of the Selects squad who have already won senior caps for Canada.

The June 28 game is the opener of a free doubleheader that marks the debut of the Highlanders, an invitational side. A Highlanders reserve side will take on the Barbados national team in the nightcap.

The Highlanders also have matches scheduled against Germany on July 20, Brazil on Aug. 3 and a Canada XV side on Aug. 17 as part of their Rugby Players' Challenge Summer Series.

The not-for-profit Highlanders are the brainchild of Curry Hitchborn, former coach of the UBC men's rugby team, and local entrepreneur Ralph McRae.

Hitchborn said they founded the team because rugby players in Canada have few options — and to help them "pursue their professional aspirations." The Toronto Arrows, Canada's lone entry in Major League Rugby, folded last November.

The Selects squad also draws on Canadian under-20 talent and members of Rugby Canada's developmental Pacific Pride team.

The Selects will be led by Phil Mack, a former Canada scrum half and sevens star who is now attack coach for the Canadian men's national team, with support from John MacFarland and Dave Butcher.

Canada Selects Training Squad


Braden Bruce, Buckhorn, Ont., Pacific Pride; Bryce Worden, Saint John, N.B., Burnaby Lake Rugby Club; James Stockwood, Bowmanville, Ont., Pacific Pride; Jeffrey Young, Toronto, Bedwas RFC (Wales); Jesse Mackail, Palmerston North, New Zealand, Pacific Pride; Jordan Auger, Ottawa, Barrhaven Scottish; Kaden Duguid, Edmonton, Nor’Westers Athletic Association; Moe Steves, Victoria, University of Victoria; Olly Wiseman, London, England, Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales); Sam Miller, Mount Denson, N.S., Pacific Pride; Siaki Vikilani, Vancouver, American Raptors (Super Rugby America); Siôn Parry, Cardiff, Wales, Pontypridd RFC (Wales); Tyler Matchem, Pictou County, N.S, Pictou County RFC; Zephyr Melnyk, Gabriola Island, B.C., Pacific Pride.


Crosby Stewart, Prince Rupert, B.C., James Bay AA; James Thiel, Abbotsford, B.C., Abbotsford RFC; Jamin Hodgkins, Bermuda, Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales); Jesse Kilgour, Barrie, Ont., Pacific Pride; Kainoa Lloyd, Mississauga, Ont., Queen’s University; Kyle Tremblay, White Rock, B.C., Pacific Pride; Matthew Bennett, Victoria, University of Victoria; Mark Balaski, Castlebar, Ireland, Pacific Pride; Morgan Di Nardo, Toronto, University of Victoria; Mostyn Findlay, Regina, James Bay AA; Peter Nelson, Dungannon, Northern Ireland, Dungannon RFC; Rhys James, Haverfordwest, Wales, Pacific Pride; Spencer Cotie, Victoria, University of Victoria; Thomas Burton, Ormstown, Que., James Bay AA.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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