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Four locals to don maple leaf in international play

The Canadian men’s under-20 rugby team features four Newfoundlanders, from left Michael McCarthy, Connor McKinney, Thomas Hagan and Campbell Clarke.
The Canadian men’s under-20 rugby team features four Newfoundlanders, from left Michael McCarthy, Connor McKinney, Thomas Hagan and Campbell Clarke. - Contributed

Clarke, Hagan, McCarthy, McKinney will play for U20 squad in qualifying games vs U.S.

The Canadian men’s under-20 rugby team, which features four Newfoundland players on the roster, dropped a 37-15 decision to Portugal in a test match Sunday in Caldas de Rainha, Portugal.

The game was held to prepare for Portugal for its European qualifier, and Canada for its upcoming qualifying series of games.

The Canadians and the United States will play a two-game, total point series in British Columbia in June, with the winner advancing to the World U20 Rugby Trophy championship slated for July in Brazil.

Last year, Portugal defeated Canada at the World Trophy and finished third in the tournament. Canada finished seventh.

Of the 23 players on the roster, four are from this province — Campbell Clarke, Thomas Hagan, Michael McCarthy and Connor McKinney.

Clarke, widely recognized as one of the most promising young rugby players in the country, played on last year’s team as a 17-year-old.

Hagan is making his debut with the U20 team after a successful campaign with the national U19 team last season. He played with the Canada U19s on two test series tours in 2018.

McCarthy is making his international debut with the Canada U20 team as an underage player. He was the only Newfoundland and Labrador player who started Sunday’s game.

McKinney is also making his international debut with the Canada U20 team as an underage player.

All four players helped the Atlantic Rock place second at last year’s national U19 championship.

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