Wales aiming for clean sweep

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The Independent Online
Wales and Canada will be locked in a battle for rugby credibility when they meet in Toronto today. With the possibility of the teams being drawn in the same pool for the 1999 World Cup, the game has taken on greater significance as Wales wind up their six-match summer tour of north America.

Wales, with an unblemished record on the trip to date, will be looking to complete a clean sweep of Test wins having beaten the American Eagles 30-20 and 28-23 on the two previous weekends.

The Wales coach, Kevin Bowring, knows that the Canadians, who won at Cardiff Arms Park in 1993, will provide the greatest test of all for his makeshift young side.

It will also be a daunting prospect for the stand-in captain, Paul John, who will become the 111th captain of his country when he stands in for the injured Gwyn Jones. John made his first appearance for the senior Welsh side in Canada in 1994 when he helped the tourists defeat Canada B.

"We know exactly what to expect and we know exactly what is expected of us," he said.

"I never took anything for granted when Gwyn was injured," he said "so even though I had captained Wales A against Romania earlier in the year, being handed the captaincy for this Test was a massive shock."

The Canadians, bolstered by their three senior professionals, Wasps' Gareth Rees, Al Charron and Rod Snow, know they must build on their comfortable triumph in the Pacific Rim championship. "We want to re-establish ourselves on the world rugby scale and beating Wales would make everyone sit up and take notice of us again," said Rees, the Canadian captain.

Wales have made four changes, all in the pack, from last weekend's side and the Swansea duo of Steve Moore and Rob Appleyard will make their first international appearances.

WALES (v Canada, Toronto, today): K Morgan (Pontypridd); W Proctor (Llanelli), L Davies (Cardiff), G Thomas (Bridgend), N Walker (Cardiff); A Thomas (Swansea), P John (Pontypridd, capt); I Buckett (Swansea), G Jenkins (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), S Moore (Swansea), M Voyle (Llanelli), A Gibbs (Llanelli), S Williams (Neath), R Appleyard (Swansea). Replacements: N Boobyer (Llanelli), L Jarvis (Cardiff), A Moore (Richmond), N Thomas (Bath), C Anthony (Swansea), R McBryde (Llanelli).