Canadian rugby is getting a huge boost, thanks to an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Union.

Ten of Canada's premiere domestic players will have an opportunity to play a four-month exhibition schedule in North Wales with a team of Welsh professional players.

"Providing elite competition and training environments for our best players has always been a goal for Rugby Canada,'' Rugby Canada chief executive officer Graham Brown said in a statement. "The North Wales project is one part of our development program and a significant partnership for Rugby Canada.''

Former Wales defence coach Clive Griffiths will serve as head coach of the North Wales development side.

Four of the 10 Canadian members play with the Prairie Wolf Pack of the Americas Rugby Championship: centre Nick Blevins of Calgary, prop Tom Dolezel of London, Ont., (also an Ontario Blue), fly-half Steve Woodward of Calgary and flanker Nanyak Dala of Saskatoon.

BC Bears' second row Luke Cudmore of Squamish, B.C., and Victoria's Sean White are also on the team, as are the Ontario Blues prop Doug Wooldridge of Lindsay, Ont., and Atlantic Rock's Ciaran Hearn of Conception Bay, N.L., on the back three role, flanker Chauncey O'Toole of Belle Isle, N.B., and second row/back row Jebb Sinclair of Fredericton, N.B.

"The inclusion of 10 Canadian players in the squad will help to raise the standards and profile of the North Wales side on and off the field and help to give North Wales a competitive, semi-professional side almost immediately,'' said Joe Lydon, Welsh Rugby Union head of rugby development and performance.

Nine exhibitions have been confirmed, beginning with a Leicester Tigers Development XV on Jan. 15.

Rugby Canada makes historic deal with Welsh