The Canada Men’s Under-20 15s program is set to compete against Portugal’s national side in Lisbon, Portugal on Feb. 17 and 20 in a pair of exhibition games.
Rugby Canada announced their roster on Jan. 20, and it features three Queen’s men’s rugby players.
Freshman William Matthews and sophomores Jared Augustine and Liam Casey all made the cut.
The U20 roster is constituted of athletes from across Canada who currently play in leagues in Canada, France, Australia, Ireland, and England.
“I was really excited to hear the news of being on the list. The main reason for this is because it’s always exciting to wear the maple leaf on your jersey, as well as an honour,” Matthews told The Journal.
“Additionally, I know the quality of rugby will be exceptional as well as challenging.”
The only Canadian university with more athletes selected for this team is the defending Canadian University Men’s Rugby Champion, UBC, with four.
Canada’s junior program finished fifth at last July’s World Rugby U20 Trophy tournament. Portugal finished second after losing to Japan last year.
“I am both excited and nervous, because I know Portugal will be an extremely strong side and will bring a lot to the table,” Matthews said.
Despite the pressure, Matthews is staying confident about the games to come. “I would say I am more filled with excitement than nerves, but these two are
“I think the strength of the Canadian side is very high this year.”
With the tour less than a month away, Matthews was pragmatic when speaking about how much preparation he could squeeze in.
“As of now, the only thing to do is make sure I’m fit for the fight, meaning staying physically fit as well as healthy. As well, I’ll make sure to get as many touches on a rugby ball prior to the games.”
Matthews is taking his training seriously in the run-up to the matches, but he’s not losing sight of the bigger picture.
“I think it’s a huge deal to represent the leaf, because you are not only representing yourself but an entire nation.”
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