FORMER ULSTER BACK Peter Nelson has been named at out-half for his Canada debut against the US tomorrow in the Pacific Nations Cup [KO 1am Irish time, World Rugby channels].
The 26-year-old left his native province at the end of last season and received a call-up to the Canada squad last month.
Nelson will make his Test debut against the US. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO
A Dungannon man by birth, Nelson qualifies for Canada through his Toronto-born grandmother and will now launch his international career only eight weeks out from the World Cup in Japan, where the Canadians will face New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia in Pool B.
Canada boss Kingsley Jones has handed Nelson the 10 shirt for his debut and the former Ireland U20 and Emerging Ireland international will hope to bring his 60 caps worth of experience with Ulster to bear.
Canada have also named Ireland native Shane O’Leary among their replacements for the clash with the US. Nottingham out-half O’Leary qualifies through his mother.
Meanwhile, the US starting XV includes Irishmen AJ MacGinty, Dylan Fawsitt, Paul Mullen and John Quill, while Paddy Ryan is on the bench.
Dublin-born out-half MacGinty, who plays for Sale Sharks in the Premiership, made his debut in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup and is well established as a key man for the States.
Like MacGinty, hooker Fawsitt qualified for the US on residency grounds and made his Test debut last year, while tighthead prop Paul Mullen also debuted last year – qualifying through his grandfather and having previously played at U20 level for the States.
Openside flanker Quill – who qualifies through his US-born mother – made his debut back in 2012 and has earned 33 Test caps, while tighthead prop Ryan has won four caps so far and also qualifies through his mother.
The Eagles’ attack coach, Irishman Greg McWilliams, will be hoping to see his charges fire with ball in hand.
Ireland’s World Cup Pool A rivals Japan and Samoa are also in Pacific Nations Cup action tomorrow.