Canada head coach Kieran Crowley insists his team can cope without injured Ospreys flanker Tyler Ardron in their World Cup opener against Ireland in Cardiff.
Influential back-rower Ardron has lost his battle to beat a knee injury in time to face Ireland at the Millennium Stadium in Saturday’s first Pool D clash.
Evergreen lock Jamie Cudmore will lead the Canucks, with Aaron Carpenter and John Moonlight forging a strong partnership in the back row.
Head coach Crowley believes Canada are ready to take on the double RBS 6 Nations champions, even with eight World Cup debutants in their ranks.
“Unfortunately Tyler Ardron is unavailable due to injury but we hope he will be ready for our second game against Italy,” he said.
“Every game comes down to the set plays and we have got to get those things right on the day.
“If we achieve that, hopefully we can impose ourselves after that.
“They are one of the favourites for the tournament so we know we’ve got a massive challenge in front of us, but we’ve trained well and we are hoping things go our way.”
Clermont’s gritty 37-year-old lock Cudmore continues to churn out first-rate performances in France’s unforgiving Top 14, and will renew hostilities with old sparring partner Paul O’Connell on Saturday.
Crowley backed Cudmore to keep his cool in the heat of battle, and guide Canada’s engine-room fight against the much-fancied Irish.
“Jamie has a lot of experience in Europe and on the Test stage and he has been in France for a number of years,” Crowley said.
“He is one of Canada’s best-known rugby players and he will certainly roll up his sleeves.
“I know he’s looking forward to it. And it will also be interesting to see the battle between the two old warriors, Jamie and O’Connell.”