Toronto scrum half Ross Braude is shown in action May 8, 2021, at Lupo Family Field at Life University in Marietta, Ga., in the Arrows 33-29 Major League Rugby loss to Rugby ATL. Canada and England name their matchday squads ahead of Saturday's rugby test at Twickenham. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Arrows-Karl Moore *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Victoria centre Lachlan Kratz set for Canada test rugby debut against England

Victoria centre Lachlan Kratz set for Canada test rugby debut against England

Victoria centre Lachlan Kratz makes his test rugby debut Saturday when Canada takes in England at Twickenham.

The 21-year-old back, who plays for NOLA Gold in Major League Rugby, is one of just three changes to the starting 15 that lost 68-12 to No. 6 Wales last Saturday in Cardiff.

Coach Kingsley Jones makes two changes to the forward pack with Reegan O’Gorman shifting from blindside flanker to second row in place of the injured Josh Larsen. Corey Thomas of the Los Angeles Giltinis, born in Australia but eligible for Canada through his Edmonton-born father, comes in at No 6.

Kratz slots into the backs with Quinn Ngawati dropping to the bench in place of Lucas Albornoz. A veteran of the Canadian U-20 and University of Victoria teams, Kratz played his club rugby in B.C. for Castaway Wanderers.

Houston SaberCats prop Liam Murray, in line for his first cap, is among the replacements for the 23rd-ranked Canadians. He steps in for Tyler Rowland.

Lucas Rumball captains Canada with Toronto Arrows teammate Ben LeSage as vice-captain.

England is missing 12 players who are on tour in South Africa with the British and Irish Lions. Coach Eddie Jones is also resting several veterans including George Ford, Jonny May and Ben Youngs for the summer test series.

A young English side, with 12 debutants in the matchday 23 including eight in the starting 15, defeated the 16th-ranked U.S. Eagles 43-29 at Twickenham last Saturday.

Four players will make their England debuts Saturday: centre Dan Kelly, wing Adam Radwan, lock Harry Wells and No. 8 Alex Dombrandt. Flanker Lewis Ludlow captains England while hooker Jamie Blamire makes his first England start.

Highly touted Harlequins fly half Marcus Smith, 22, earns his second England cap.

The 15 Canadian starters total 204 caps with 53 of those coming from prop Djustice Sears-Duru. The pack has a combined 159 caps going into the match while the backs number 45.

The English starting 15 goes into the match with a combined cap count of just 129 with centre Henry Slade (39), prop Ellis Genge (29), lock Charlie Ewels (22) and flanker Sam Underhill (23) accounting for 113 of those.

England lost backrower Jack Kenningham and an unidentified staff member to COVID-19 protocols this week. While the Rugby Football Union said neither had tested positive, they are self-isolating after being identified as being in the vicinity of someone who did.

The rest of the England squad and staff continues to undergo daily testing. The touring Canadians are in a bubble in England in a bid to reduce contact with others.

Last weekend’s loss to Wales at Principality Stadium marked Canada’s first match since Oct 8, 2019, when it was beaten 66-7 by eventual champion South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Kingsley Jones is using the July tests as a warmup for World Cup qualifying this fall.

Canada

Djustice Sears-Duru, Andrew Quattrin, Jake Ilnicki, Reegan O’Gorman, Conor Keys, Corey Thomas, Lucas Rumball (captain), Siaki Vikilani, Ross Braude, Peter Nelson, Kainoa Lloyd, Lachlan Kratz, Ben LeSage, Cole Davis, Cooper Coats.

Replacements

Eric Howard, Cole Keith, Liam Murray, Donald Carson, Michel Smith, Quinn Ngawati, Will Percillier, Robbie Povey.

England

Ellis Genge, Jamie Blamire, Joe Heyes, Harry Wells, Charlie Ewels, Lewis Ludlow (captain), Sam Underhill, Alex Dombrandt, Harry Randall, Marcus Smith, Adam Radwan, Dan Kelly, Henry Slade, Joe Cokanasiga, Freddie Steward.

Replacements

Curtis Langdon, Beno Obano, Paul Hill, Callum Chick, Lewis Ludlam, Dan Robson, George Furbank, Joe Marchant.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 8, 2021.

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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