Canada A Head Coach Kieran Crowley is expecting ‘a big battle’ up front in Saturday’s Americas Rugby Championship title decider against Argentina Jaguars, kick off 7.30pm.
Victories over USA Select and Uruguay mean the two dominant teams of the tournament clash at Westhills Stadium, Langford in British Columbia, for the right to be called champions.
Crowley knows that his side needs to find another gear if they are to prevent the Jaguars claiming a hat-trick of ARC wins.
“We’ve got a development group of players mixed in with a couple of experienced players and they have performed reasonably well to get to this stage,” he said.
“But we know that it is going to be another step up against a pretty good Argentina side on Saturday.
“They have a very good internal system with all the academies in Argentina so they will be well schooled in all aspects of the game.
“Argentina are one of the best scrummaging sides in the world and they have dominated Uruguay and USA in their games so far.
“We have probably been on top in that area as well so that’s going to be a big battle.
“Scrummaging used to be a weak point in our rugby but we’re developing a few young guys and Mike Shelley (scrum coach) has been really important in that. He’s brought a new dimension to our approach.
“I think the physical battle up front will set the tone for the game and we are looking forward to the weekend.
“It’s been a great tournament, the crowds have been great and we are looking forward to that support this Saturday,” he continued.
“I understand it is close to a sell out so I think it is going to be a massive occasion for the city.
“I think it’s been great that this tournament has been moved here because it has showcased the sport to a lot of people who didn’t really think about it that much – and I would like to thank the International Rugby Board.”
12 changes for the Jaguars
Argentina Jaguars Head Coach Daniel Hourcade has made wholesale changes from the side that defeated Uruguay 21-10 on Tuesday.
Only three players retain the same jersey – hooker Martin Garcia Veiga, number 8 Lisandro Ahualli and full back Ramiro Moyano.
Lock Cesar Frutero packs down with a number four on his back instead of five, while Matias Orlando moves to inside centre after playing 13 against Los Teros.
Influential scrum half, Tomas Cubelli, returns to captain the side.
Patched up Uruguay play for pride
USA Select and Uruguay will play the first match of the night at 5:30pm, and both teams are looking to bow out with their heads held high.
Win or lose, though, USA Select head coach Mike Tolkin says the overall ARC experience has been positive.
“We don’t get a lot of opportunity for our young players to play in pressure games so for the coaching staff to build a depth chart and to see how these guys are as people and players, and to play against Uruguay, Argentina and Canada – is just a real good experience,” he said.
Uruguay Head Coach Pablo Lemoine has had his hands tied in terms of selection due to a number of injuries affecting his squad.
“The injuries have been very hard for us as a team,” he commented.
“We recognise that the US team is a much stronger team technically and physically but we will do our best to put up a brave game this Saturday.”
For fans unable to make it to Westhills Stadium, all the action will be streamed live at www.sportscanada.tv/RugbyCanada.