Rugby World Cup: Former Ireland hopeful Nelson to start for Canada

Irish underage international will play against Italy

Former Ulster player Peter Nelson will make his World Cup debut for Canada.

Former Ulster player Peter Nelson will make his World Cup debut for Canada.

 

Former Ireland underage international Peter Nelson will make his Rugby World Cup debut for Canada when they face Italy in their first Pool B clash in Fukuoka on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Nelson, who qualifies for Canada through his Toronto-born mother, only made his debut for the North Americans two months ago.

The former Ulster player, however, had settled in well with the Canada squad, coach Kingsley Jones said, and had been selected because the country had been struggling to find a consistent outhalf at international level.

“Ten is a position that hasn’t really been settled in Canadian rugby for a while,” Jones said on Tuesday. “We played a number of players in that position.

“He’s been a professional rugby player for eight, nine years. There are not many Canadian players that we can say that about, unfortunately.

“The numbers are growing, of course, but he offers us a lot of experience, and the biggest thing really is a left foot (kicker).

“I’ve never seen a test team without a left foot on the team and, unfortunately, we haven’t got many of those guys around so that’s a big bonus for us.”

Canada: P Parfrey; J Hassler, B Lesage, N Blevins, DTH Van Der Merwe; P Nelson, G McRorie; H Buydens, E Howard, M Tierney; Conor Keys, Josh Larsen; Michael Sheppard, Lucas Rumball, Tyler Ardron (captain). Replacements: B Piffero, D Duru-Sears, J Ilnicki, L Campbell, M Heaton, J Mackenzie, C Hearn, A Coe.

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