Player Profiles

June 10 2014

Shane O'Leary - Canada U20

A Tale of Two Halfbacks: Canada U20 O'Leary Signs with Connacht and McRorie's Former Coach Waxes Eloquent about Uni Days

posted June 10 2014

It seems halfbacks are in the news today. First there’s a newspaper article on new Canadian #9 Gordon McRorie, new in several ways, as the article by his former University coach highlights. It's an interesting read, well written.

"Congratulations to Gordon “Mouse” McRorie, who is as Scottish as a Tunnock’s tea cake but started for Canada against Japan at scrum-half yesterday in Vancouver."

Apparently McRorie, if he's chosen ahead of Phil Mack (which is another article in itself), will be facing some players he played with in "County". County in the Scottish terminology referring to Stirling County RFC, not the correctional institutes portrayed in popular American culture... although hopefully McRorie will think of stealing some ball if he has the chance.

You can read the full article in the Scotsman at the link below, worth the read.

Full Article

When posting this story I saw the Player Profile from last year on Shane O’Leary (see below), “what’s he up to now” was the thought process and a quick Google search found this article from May. Good on Shane. Actually the first image to pop up on the search was him wearing the BCRN baseball cap I had given him prior to leaving for Chile in May 2013 where he helped Canada to their best finish in the U20 Tier 2 championship. They narrowly lost to Italy in the final and that’s why Italy are taking part in the JWC this year.

So after spending a year with Grenoble Academy he earned himself four appearances with the senior team, including a match against Amlin semi-finalists, London Wasps. Connacht obviously liked what they saw and brought him back home.

“Before joining the growing Irish contingent in the Rhône-Alpes region, O'Leary spent the early part of last summer representing Canada, whom he is qualified to play for through his mother's roots in New Brunswick, in the IRB Junior World Trophy in Chile.

The top points scorer in the international competition, O'Leary helped Canada to the final where they were beaten by Italy U20s.

Grenoble coach Bernard Jackman describes the young back as "a very talented rugby player. He integrated incredibly well here at FCG this season and proved that he has a bright future.
"He will be missed here but we wish him all the best with Connacht."

Commenting on the latest player signings, head coach Pat Lam said:

"It's fantastic to have two more, young, Irish-qualified backs on board for next season. Both Ian and Shane will be valuable additions to the squad.

"Having someone like Shane who can play 13, 12 or 10 is a huge asset. Both himself and Ian have goal-kicking abilities and this is something we looked at when recruiting for the season ahead."”

I’ll have to read up on the iRB rules but if he’s played for Canada at the U20 level, can he play for Ireland at the senior level or is he locked into Canada? If he can, he may be the one that just got away, although if Ireland ignore him, Canada I’m sure will be waiting with open arms.

The full article is available below on the RTE website.

Full Article

A Chat with Shane O'Leary of Canada U20 and Young Munster

posted May 22 2013

Hi Shane, Canadian rugby fans have noticed your name showing up on the U20 scoring list in recent matches. The program lists you as Young Munster so this interview is to let fans know a little bit more about your rugby background in Ireland and your Canadian connection.

BCRN: Where did you first start playing rugby, what age group were you in?
SHANE: I first started playing rugby at the age of 8. I started at U9 at my local rugby club, Ballina-Killaloe RFC.

BCRN: Before Young Munster, there’s mention of you playing for North Munster U16 and Scariff RFC in County Clare. What can you tell me about Scariff RFC and the youth rugby there. How many teams would Scariff have and which clubs would they play against?
SHANE: The reason I ended up playing for Scariff was because after mini rugby, (U12), we didn't have enough youngsters to play 15 aside and neither did Scariff RFC. This meant that the teams joined together with players from all of east Clare playing on the team. Scariff RFC have teams from U6 the whole way up to adult teams. The teams that we would have played against would have been from all over north Munster, Young Munster RFC, Garryowen RFC, UL Bohs RFC and many other teams too.

BCRN: What about the Young Munster program? What age groups does that cover and how would you compare the level of rugby to what you’ve experienced so far playing for Canada?
SHANE: Young Munster RFC is the club team that I play for. It is located in a city in Munster called Limerick. Its one of the strongest clubs in the country and a great club to play at. The standard here is very high and is up there with the top club rugby league in Ireland, the All Ireland League. I also played with my province, Munster. This is the professional franchise that all of you know. I played U18, U19 and U20 with them. The standard is also similar to the standard here, very good.

BCRN: What’s the normal progression from Young Munster, what options are available to players graduating from that program?
SHANE: The progression for me hopefully will be from Young Munster RFC to a professional team in the next year or two years. I still have aspirations to become a professional rugby player so hopefully by playing the top level of amateur rugby in Ireland I will get scouted by a professional team.

BCRN: How were you “discovered” by the Canadian team and what’s your Canadian connection?
SHANE: After my season with the Munster U20 team had finished I wanted to make the most of my opportunities and play rugby at an international level. My mother was born in Edmunston, New Brunswick. This left me eligible to play for Canada so I emailed Mike Shelley and enquired about it. We then skyped a few times to talk about it. I had to send him over game footage of myself playing at home for him to judge if I was of standard. He then invited me over and now I am really enjoying my chance to play for Canada on the international stage.

BCRN: How much of Canada have you seen so far?
SHANE: On previous trips with my family I saw a bit of the east side of the country and on this trip I have seen the West coast, Victoria and Vancouver. Its such a beautiful country and I love getting to see more of it whenever I can.

BCRN: What are your rugby plans after the JWRT in Chile?
SHANE: My plans for after the JWRT in Chile will be to return to Ireland and play a full season of AIL with Young Munster RFC and gain a bit more experience. Unless the opportunity to join an academy at a professional club was to arise.

BCRN: Which senior players have influenced your style of play and which coaches have been the most influential in getting you to this level?
SHANE: The player that has influenced my style of play the most would probably be Ronan O`Gara the Munster and Irish player. I always want to be as accurate with everything I do as he did for the last 15 years at the height of international rugby. The coach that has influenced me the most would be my father, Declan O`Leary. He always helps me to review my games and helps me work on my techniques to always keep improving.

Thanks Shane, for taking the time to answer these questions, we wish you and the rest of the Canadian team success at the JWRT in Chile and also in your future rugby endeavours whether they be in Canada or in Europe.

Pemberton Holmes
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