New Canada captain DTH van der Merwe believes his team were unlucky to lose to Scotland the last time the two countries met, and is desperate to set the record straight on Saturday in Edmonton.
The Glasgow Warriors winger has admitted that his side are going through a period of transition, but believes the visit of the Scots can play a vital role in preparing them for the Rugby World Cup repechage at the end of the year as they bid to preserve their record of qualifying every time the tournament has been staged.
The teams last met in Toronto in June 2014, in a match that ended 19-17 in the tourists’ favour. It was a close thing, however, and might have finished differently but for the late sending-off of Jebb Sinclair for using an elbow on Ruaridh Jackson.
“That was a great game for us,” Van der Merwe remembered. “I think we played really well and took our chances well. We got unlucky with that call right at the end.
“We had a penalty in our favour, with James Pritchard lining up to kick, but it was brought back for an elbow to Jacko’s face. agen sbobet We got penalised for his bad tackling technique!” he joked in reference to his Scotstoun team-mate. “That was a great day. Hopefully we can get that kind of support again from the people in Edmonton. I’m looking forward to it.”
Of course, Jackson, pictured, is not the only member of the Scotland squad whom Van der Merwe knows well, and head coach Kingsley Jones has relied on his captain for some first-hand knowledge of the opposition. “It doesn’t matter what team Scotland put out, it will be an exciting group of guys with players like George Horne and Adam Hastings, guys who love playing with the ball in hand,” the winger continued. “They play an exciting brand of rugby with Glasgow already. I was coached by Gregor for years and he likes to play that style of rugby.
“There are aspects of their game I know inside out and which I will be trying to pass on to my team. Ultimately, it’s Canada versus Scotland and anything I can do to dissect the opposition is going to help us in this game.”
Having said that, whatever happens this weekend, the key target for this year is that repechage in November. While it would be useful to gain some morale-boosting results against Scotland or their other opponents in the coming weeks, Russia and the United States, the main aim of both captain and coach is to identify the players most likely to serve them well in the end-of-year series that will determine whether they get to Japan in the autumn of 2019.