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Dublin: 8°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

Irishman Shane O'Leary to play for Canada in crunch Rugby World Cup qualifier against the US

The Cork native recently left Connacht after three years with the province.

Image: Ryan Byrne; ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne/INPHO

SHANE O’LEARY has been included in the Canada team to face the United States in the first-leg of their crunch Rugby World Cup qualifier in Hamilton, Ontario this weekend.

Having made his debut in a 13-0 defeat against Georgia earlier this month, he returns at out-half for Saturday’s clash.

The return leg is set for San Diego on 1 July with the winner slotting into a tough Pool C at the 2019 tournament in Japan alongside England, France, Argentina and another qualifier from Oceania.

The 24-year-old recently left Connacht after three seasons and is currently unattached, having previously been with Grenoble in France.

O’Leary is a Cork native but grew up in Ballina, Tipperary and represented Munster at various underage levels. He qualifies to play for Canada through his mother and had already played international rugby for them in 2013, as part of their U20 side that finished runners-up at the Junior World Trophy.

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Canada’s head coach is Mark Anscombe, who was previously in charge at Ulster and he called O’Leary into a trial squad for a couple of domestic games in early June.

O’Leary impressed and will now try and help a struggling Canadian side that’s ranked 23rd in the world.

Despite having qualified for every World Cup over the last three decades, the team has lost its last five internationals. Over the last 12 months, they’ve played 10 games but won just once.

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About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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