TORONTO — Canada will play Irish powerhouse Leinster in a Rugby World Cup warmup match Aug. 24 at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.
The game will be part of Leinster’s pre-season preparations.
“This fixture is crucially important for our preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup,” Canada coach Kingsley Jones said in a statement. “Leinster are one of the top clubs in all of Europe. They will bring a wealth of experience and provide high-quality opposition for us as we build towards facing Italy on Sept. 26 (at the World Cup), and I look forward to a large home crowd for this match.”
Leinster will look to defend its European crown Saturday in Newcastle, England, against England’s Saracens in the Heineken Champions Cup final. Saracens were European champions in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Leinster, whose star-studded lineup includes Johnny Sexton, Tadhg Furlong, Cian Healy, Sean O’Brien, Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Garry Ringrose, Devin Toner and Rob Kearney, will then face Munster in the Pro14 semifinals on May 18.
“As a club, this will be the first time we have travelled to Canada for our pre-season preparations,” said Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. “We are looking forward to the visit and the challenge of taking on a full international side which we haven’t done in quite some time. It will be an excellent opportunity for a number of our players to get some great experience ahead of the 2019-20 season.”
Canada beat the Glasgow Warriors 19-12 in Halifax in its final home warmup for the 2015 World Cup.
The Leinster game will follow Pacific Nations Cup away games in late July and early August against the U.S., Fiji and Tonga.
The Canadian men, currently ranked 21st in the world, begin their 2019 World Cup campaign Sept. 26 in Japan.
Canada has been drawn in Pool B at the World Cup in Japan alongside No. 1 New Zealand, No. 5 South Africa, No. 14 Italy and No. 23 Namibia.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press