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Peter Nelson: Former Ulster player selected in final Canada squad for Rugby World Cup

Former Ulster player Peter Nelson
Former Ulster player Peter Nelson

While three Ulster players have secured their spot on the plane to the Rugby World Cup with Ireland, one of their former team-mates has successfully checked in on a different ticket.

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It's Dungannon man Peter Nelson, who impressed enough over the summer to be included in Canada's 31-man squad just over three months after departing Kingspan Stadium.

Nelson, who made 60 appearances for Ulster during an eight-year stay, was a shock inclusion in Canada's wider training panel earlier this summer, with his north American heritage a mystery to many.

As it turned out, he qualifies to play for Les Rouges through his Toronto-born grandmother and was first in touch with head coach Kingsley Jones last year.

Having never even been to Canada, he left Ulster to fly out to the team's training headquarters on Vancouver Island.

The versatile back went on to split his time between fly-half and full-back during Canada's Pacific Nations campaign and a friendly against Leinster.

And his performances were good enough to make it into the final panel, teeing him up for a group campaign against New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia.

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He had previously represented Ireland U20s and the Emerging Ireland side although his career was hampered by a foot injury suffered in December 2015, which kept him out of action for over a year.

Former Connacht fly-half Shane O'Leary has also been named in the Canada squad.

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