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Young Canadians ready for World Rugby U20 Trophy competition in Brazil

Scrum half Will Percillier, who has already won two caps with the senior team, will captain Canada at the second-tier World Rugby U20 Trophy in Brazil.

Percillier, who plays for the Stade Francais academy in France, will be joined by Toronto Arrows back Avery Oiteman and former Toronto Wolfpack player Quinn Ngawati in coach Jeff Williams' lineup. Not to mention four cousins: Jack Carson (scrum half), David Carson (hooker), Frank Carson (second row) and Nick Carson (No. 8).

The winner of the eight-country tournament will take Scotland's place in the elite World U20 Championship. Scotland was relegated after finishing bottom of the 12-team tournament won by France last month in Argentina. 

Canada opens Tuesday against Tonga in Sao Jose dos Campos, 90 kilometres northeast of Sao Paulo, before facing Portugal on Saturday and Hong Kong on July 17. The team will finish off with a ranking position game July 21.

The other pool is made up of Brazil, Uruguay, Kenya and Japan, which was relegated from the top-tier championship in 2018.

Ngawati will start at inside centre with Oiteman at fullback against Tonga.

Williams says his team comes with size and a good rugby IQ.

"We're a big side, we're quite a physical side," Williams said from Brazil. "But the way we've trained we have the ability to move the ball. So I think we have a really nice blend of being big and physical but also having the touch to be able to put the ball in different places and move it out wide."

Canada defeated the U.S. 44-33 and 23-5 to earn the right to represent North America at the tournament.

Canada finished seventh at last year's World Rugby U20 Trophy, defeating Romania 71-14 after losses to Portugal, Uruguay and Fiji. The Canadians were beaten by two points by Portugal and four by Uruguay before losing 53-26 to eventual winner Fiji.

Returning players from last year's competition are Percillier, props Tyler Rowland and Guerschom Mukendi, second-row forwards Reid Davis and Tyler Duguid, blindside flanker Quentin James and outside centre Gabe Casey.

The Canadians made it to the final in 2013 and 2015 but lost both times.

This year's team features 12 players from B.C., nine from Ontario, two each from Alberta and Quebec and one from Newfoundland and Labrador.

The team's preparations have been aided by the sponsorship of Shawnigan Lake School and money raised by a support group that includes David Robertson, Andrew Purdey, Mike Holmes, Toronto Arrows founder Bill Webb, former Canadian international Mark Wyatt and former national team coach Pat Parfrey.


Canada Roster

Antoine de la Fontaine, Sherbrooke Abenakis; Avery Oiteman, Toronto Arrows; Brock Webster, Mississauga Blues; David Carson; David Richard, Oshawa Vikings; Frank Carson, UBC; Gabriel Casey, UVic; Guerschom Mukendi, Stoney Creek RFC; Jack Carson, Castaway Wanderers; Jared Augustin, Queens University; Jarvis Dashquewytch, UVic; Josh Tweed, UBC; Lachlan Kratz, UVic; Mason Flesch, James Bay AA; Michael McCarthy, Swilers RFC; Nick Carson, UVic; Quentin James, Stade Francais (France); Quinn Ngawati, Westshore RFC; Reid Davis, James Bay AA; Siaki Vikalani, Burnaby RFC; Stefan Zuliani, Queens; Thomas Isherwood, Westshore RFC; Tyler Duguid, Edmonton Nor'westers; Tyler Rowland, UBC; Will Matthews, Beaconsfield RFC; Will Percillier (capt.), Stade Francais (France).


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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