Pool B - Canada
Despite having only once qualified to the knockout stage (1991), this promises to be a good tournament for the maple leaf men. Currently ranked number 13 in the world rankings, and placed in a pool that presents hardship and opportunity in equal measures, Canada has potential to surprise. Canada is not known as a rugby powerhouse, but recent participation in international development series, such as the Churchill Cup and Super Cup has strengthened Canadian rugby with several Canadian internationals playing professional rugby in the Heineken Cup, Magners' League and French Top 14.
While Canada is a mostly professional outfit, one third of the Canadian squad are amateur players who dabble in international test rugby. Amateurism aside, the Canadian professional corps packs a formidable punch. Veteran lock Mike James played a significant role in Stade Francais' 2003 and 2004 French Championship crowns, while Jamie Cudmore, also at lock, sees regular playing-time at Clermont-Auvergne, this year's Top 14 runners-up. Canada is unlikely to progress past the pool stage. They can expect to beat Japan and perhaps capitalise on Wales' recent underperformance.
Coach: Ric Suggitt (CAN)
Captain: Morgan Williams
IRB Ranking: 15
Appearances: 1987, 1991,1995, 1999, 2003
Odds to win: 2500/1
Number of clubs: 9
Number of Registered players: 13,804
Matches MT W D L
17 6 0 11
Points For Against
Scores Tr Con Pen DG
34 21 40 6
Lock forward Jamie Cudmore is another example of Canada's strength at second row. Debuting in 2002 against the USA, Cudmore has made 17 appearances for Canada, scoring one try. At 6'6” and weighing 116 kg, he is a powerful and daunting opponent. Cudmore's size and strength have been important factors in his success as a professional player. Cudmore sees regular playing-time at Clermont-Auvergne, this year's Top 14 runners-up.
At six feet tall and 84 kg Morgan Williams has a commanding presence at the scrum. Debuting in 1999 against Tonga, Williams has won 47 caps for Canada, scoring 53 points at fifteen a side rugby. He also plays for Canada's seven-a-side team. Williams is another experienced professional. In 2001, he played in the Heineken Cup final for Stade Francais. He is currently signed with French Top 14 side SC Albi.
Recently retired to semi-professional rugby, the experience and leadership of lock forward Mike James is a key factor in the organsiation and motivation of Canada's pack. James is Canada's most experienced player at international and professional rugby with 51 caps and a seven year period as a starting lock with Stade Francais where he played a significant role in the club's 2003 and 2004 French Championship crowns.
Rugby in Canada
Imported by British settlers, rugby has been played in Canada since the mid-1800's. However, by 1949 there were only three active provincial rugby unions. Despite these problems, the Canadian national team has competed in every World Cup since the first tournament in 1987, reaching the quarterfinals in 1991. A derivative of rugby in Canada is known as Canadian Football. This sport has become one of the most popular in Canada. Canadian Football was introduced to the United States through McGill University in Montreal, where it is now known as American Football.