Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Canada will kick off their Rugby World Cup against an Italy team buoyed by a first-up victory. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog from 5:45pm (AEST).
Italy were challenged early on in their opener, but a solid forward pack performance saw them home over Namibia by 25 points, showing exactly why they’re a top-tier team.
The Canadians struggled to even qualify for the tournament: they went down to the USA in a home-and-away playoff, before Uruguay snuck by them on two occasions, forcing Canada to the repechage tournament, which they ultimately won.
More recently, the Canucks went winless throughout the Pacific Nations Cup, falling to the USA, Fiji and Tonga.
Southern Hemisphere readers may recognise Tyler Ardron, who has played for the Chiefs in Super Rugby since 2018, accumulating 27 caps in his time there. He will captain the North Americans, and will run out at no.8 for them.
In team news, Italian coach Conor O’Shea has made ten changes to the starting XV who beat Namibia, keeping only Jayden Hayward, Luca Bigi, Tommaso Allan, Tommaso Benvenuti and Braam Steyn.
Regular captain Sergio Parisse will watch from the sidelines, with Dean Budd taking over from him in the second row.
Both teams will feature new halves: Callum Braley is playing in his first World Cup, while Canada have selected Peter Nelson ahead of the more experienced Shane O’Leary, who struggled in the Pacific Nations Cup.
Critically, utility forward Kyle Baille will miss this match for Canada, after injuring his knee in a warmup match. Nevertheless, the powerful Conor Keys will run out in the second row, and he’s one to watch out for.
Canada have basically named their best starters, where possible. It’s an important fixture, not because the Canucks have a chance of playing in the quarters, but because if they win tonight and against Namibia, they can secure automatic qualification for the next tournament.
Canada might be rusty early on, having not played for almost three weeks, but they have dangerous wingers, and a solid forward pack. Italy’s inexperience is what makes me lean towards the men in red.
Canada by 8.
Venue: Level-5 Stadium
Time: 5:45pm AEST
Referee: Nigel Owens
Odds: Italy $1.06, Canada $9.50
TV: Fox Sports
Online: Kayo, Foxtel Now, Foxtel App
15. Matteo Minozzi, 14. Tommaso Benvenutim, 13. Michele Campagnaro, 12. Jayden Hayward, 11. Giulio Bisegni, 10. Tommaso Allan, 9. Callum Braley, 8. Braam Steyn, 7. Jake Polledri, 6. Sebastian Negri, 5. Dean Budd (c), 4. David Sisi, 3. Simone Ferrari, 2. Luca Bigi, 1. Andrea Lovotti
Reserves: 16. Federico Zani, 17. Nicola Quaglio, 18. Marco Riccioni, 19. Federico Ruzza, 20. Maxime Mbandà, 21. Guglielmo Palazzani, 22. Carlo Canna, 23. Mattia Bellini
15. Patrick Parfrey, 14. Jeff Hassler, 13. Ben Lesage, 12. Nick Blevins, 11. DTH Van Der Merwe, 10. Peter Nelson, 9. Gordon McRorie, 8. Tyler Ardron (c), 7. Lucas Rumball,
6. Michael Sheppard, 5. Josh Larsen, 4. Conor Keys, 3. Matt Tierney, 2. Eric Howard, 1. Hubert Buydens
Reserves: 16. Benoit Piffero, 17, Djustice Duru-Sears, 18. Jake Ilnicki, 19. Luke Campbell, 20. Matt Heaton, 21. Jamie Mackenzie, 22. Ciaran Hearn, 23. Andrew Coe