Warriors wing to lead Canada against Scotland

Glasgow Warriors wing DTH van der Merwe will captain Canada in the 2018 Summer Series opener against Scotland this Saturday at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium - home of CFL side the Edmonton Eskimos and where track and field sprinter Allan Wells won two golds and a silver at the 1978 Games (kick-off 7pm local time, Sunday 2am UK time).

The prolific Warrior, who returned to Scotstoun earlier this year, is his country's leading try-scorer (32) and the most-capped player in the squad (with 51 appearances), in what will be their first taste of tier one opposition in nearly two years.

The hosts have described the sixth-ranked Scots as a 'major challenge' however Head Coach Kingsley Jones is happy with his team's preparations, taking heart from the side's narrow, two-point loss in 2014.

"We're pleased with the group that is playing. The twenty-three are looking strong, with some options off the bench," he said.

Canada will without the services of Chiefs back-row, Tyler Ardron (concussion) and experienced utility back, Gordon McRorie (ankle) who have been ruled out of Saturday's encounter due to injury.

"Unfortunately, Tyler Ardron had a bump on the head a few weeks ago, playing for the Chiefs in New Zealand and has failed to pass his protocols so we've pulled him out. But it's a great opportunity for Luke Campbell, Matt Heaton and Lucas Rumball who we've been really pleased with over the last few weeks.

"Dustin Dobravsky will be on the bench who has also done very well," said Jones.

Significant milestones await for Phil Mack (co-captain) and Nick Blevins who will take the field for the 50th occasion this Saturday.

"Phil and Nick deserve that, they've worked really hard and I've got so much respect for them.

"It's a massive achievement and it shouldn't be underestimated to play 50 times for your country and they've still got a bit of rugby in the tank as well," added Jones.

On the challenge of facing Scotland, he added: "They're a top side. Gregor Townsend is a very good coach, very positive and we're expecting a fast game.

"They'll try to create opportunities from turnovers and offload the ball so it's going to be an exciting game for the spectator."

Canada team to face Scotland, Commonwelath Stadium, Edmonton
Saturday 9 June (kick-off 7pm, Sunday 2am UK time) - live on BBC

15. Pat Parfrey – Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock (St. John’s, NL)

14. Jeff Hassler – Unattached/Prairie Wolf Pack (Okotoks, AB)
13. Doug Fraser – Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears (Ladysmith, BC)
12. Nick Blevins – Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary, AB)
11. DTH van der Merwe – Captain, Glasgow Warriors (Victoria, BC)

10. Shane O’Leary – Ealing Trailfinders (Cork, Ireland)
9. Phil Mack – Co-Captain, Seattle Seawolves/BC Bears (Victoria, BC)

1. Noah Barker – James Bay AA/BC Bears (Courtenay, BC)
2. Ray Barkwill – Seattle Seawolves/Ontario Blues (Niagara Falls, ON)
3. Jake Ilnicki – Yorkshire Carnegie/BC Bears (Williams Lake, BC)
4. Paul Ciulini – Aurora Barbarians/Ontario Blues (Vaughan, ON)
5. Evan Olmstead – Auckland/Prairie Wolf Pack (Vancouver, BC)
6. Lucas Rumball – Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues (Mississauga, ON)
7. Matt Heaton – Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock (Godmanchester, QC)
8. Luke Campbell – James Bay AA/BC Bears (Victoria, BC)

Substitutes:

16. Eric Howard – New Orleans Gold/Ontario Blues (Ottawa, ON)
17. Djustice Sears-Duru – Unattached/Ontario Blues (Oakville, ON)
18. Cole Keith – James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock (Sussex, NB)
19. Conor Keys – UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock (Stittsville, ON)
20. Dustin Dobravsky – Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears (Hanover, Germany)
21. Andrew Ferguson – Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues (Mississauga, ON)
22. Cole Davis – Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary, AB)
23. Theo Sauder – UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)