Wolf Pack Claim CRC Title; Bears 3rd; Review of Top CRC Players
posted July 1 2015
[ed. comments below]
The Wolf Pack won the CRC defeating Ontario Blues 33-25 making them the best regional rep team in the country. Their management team did a great job not only in preparing the team and developing a game plan but instilling a team culture that was observable from afar. So well done Graeme Moffat and crew.
For the Bears they claimed 3rd with a 31-30 win over the Atlantic Rock. It was an abysmal display of rugby so I won't go into the match details, you can read Brendan Munro's report
on the BCRU website, it's his job to make the Bears look good. You can also watch the archive footage of the game below.
A twitter comment from eastern-based rugby writer Bryan Ray was not far from the mark, upon hearing the end-of-match whistle in the Bears v Rock match he wrote the following.
Rugby Canada did a good job with the online streaming with Bryan Kelly and Gareth Rees providing informative commentary. The Calgary Rugby Union appear to have provided a top class venue for the event.
I prefer to close out the 2015 CRC on a positive by looking at some of the players who made an impression. Starting from the 4th place Rock and ending with the winning Wolf Pack.
- he's been in the mix for several years in 7s and XVs at the national level but never really stood out. He's a very intelligent player and was used at #10 by the Rock. He's likely to be at the Canada camp I would think. Chauncey O’Toole
- coming back from a long layoff from rugby he's obviously intent on making the national team in a World Cup year. His speed and reaction time are what set him apart. He'll be battling a few others for the starting openside position but I wouldn't count him out. There's no doubt he'll be at the national team camp.Patrick McNicholas
- a young player, he was representing NFLD U18 in 2010 so in his early 20s now. He scored a beauty of a try against BC, at first glance I thought he had beaten a prop on the outside but it was in fact the BC winger, he's quick. He also has an amazing boot and took a penalty from his side of centre and drifted it just wide but it had the distance. I doubt if he'll get an invite to the Canada camp since he's relatively unknown but get him out to BC for the winter Premier.
- didn't have a stellar tournament but his team were 15 individuals wearing the same coloured jersey, it wasn't a great vehicle to showcase his talent. Still he didn't look to offload when he did break through and often ran with the ball tucked under his arm football style. He'll be at the Canada camp no doubt but I would think he'll be battling for openside not #8 where the Bears played him. He'll be battling O'Toole and Dala at least. Kimi Vunituraga
- this young player is Lomu-esque in stature. He scored a power try and he definitely fits into the power winger category. Burnaby speak highly of him. He took some time off rugby with a shoulder injury but had a great season in 2015 for the Lakers. Again unlikely to get invited to the Canada camp but one to keep an eye on.Jeke Gotegote
- Another flying Fijian playing for Burnaby, he had a quieter game today but over the two game series was probably BC's most consistent player. He set up one of BC's tries and was the player most likely to break the gain line when he had the ball. Deserves to be recognized but whether he'll go further is up to national team selectors.
- still the best hooker in Canada [said with a straight face], actually he deserves a T-shirt "Best Hooker in Canada". He's getting up there in age but he's still got it, doing everything a hooker should be doing including getting the opposition riled up. He has a good lineout throw, always a menace at the breakdown, will definitely see him at the Canada camp. Doug Woolridge
- he was solid, up against Buydens and it was a stalemate. Not a lot to say about good props, they don't look flashy but get the tough work done. A definite for the Canada camp.Djustice Sears-Duru
- he seemed to give Tiedemann a bit of trouble when he came on at loosehead. The Ontario scrum jumped up a notch, not sure how good he is in loose play but I would think he gets a Canada camp invite.Jamie Mackenzie
- I think he outplayed McRorie in today's game and you don't often hear that said. He's probably 3rd best scrum-half in the country after Mack and McRorie but on this performance he deserves to be at the Canada camp.Phil Mackenzie
- brother Phil is the more accomplished of the Mackenzie's in terms of national team honours and he looked very good in today's game. Hitting the line at pace, getting perfect passes from his brother, they make a great combination. A definite for the Canada camp.Aaron Carpenter
- is he a hooker or a blindside or both. Wasn't a huge standout and is finishing off a professional career but he'll be in the mix no doubt at the Canada camp.
WOLF PACKGordon McRorie
- not much more to be added, he had a subdued game today by his standards but made some strategic kicks that were important. Delivers fast ball on target, makes good decisions and has an educated boot both from the tee and from hand. Absolutely at the Canada camp.Nanyak Dala
- he came off early, that's worrying, he's had a muscle tear in his arm that has plagued him in his rugby career. I hope that wasn't aggravated. Like O'Toole extremely quick reaction time, causes turnovers, one of the leaders for the openside spot. Gradyn Bowd
- like McRorie a more subdued game today but I like his style from #10 including the ability to break the gain line with ball in hand if necessary. Will Crowley and company have seen enough to give the young player an invite to the Canada camp, I hope so. Either way, get this guy out to BC for the winter Premier.Kyle Gilmour
- #8 of the tournament, he along with the Blues Seb Pearson will be at the Canada camp looking to make a claim for the spot come the World Cup.Mozac Samson
- Mozac probably ended the tournament as top try scorer with 2 previously and 3 in this game. He was always there in support and almost impossible to stop from close range. If he doesn't get an invite to the Canada camp then I'll be very suspicious about some prejudice in the selection process... be watching that one closely.Carl Pocock
- great boot got the Wolf Pack out of trouble on several occasions, probably won't get the invite but would love to see him out in BC in the winter playing PremierAndrew Tiedemann
- was part of a good Wolf Pack scrum, had a little problem when a fresh loosehead came on in the second half but solid and definitely vying for one of the World Cup spotsHubert Buydens
- the starting loosehead for Canada earned his reputation, solid, consistent, likely to remain starting loosehead for Canada.
Bears Make 7 Changes for Canada Day Match vs The Rock
posted June 30 2015
BC have made 7 changes to the squad that got demolished by the Wolf Pack on Sunday. Cody McClary comes on as tighthead replacing Burnaby's Ryan Ackerman. That's the only change in the forwards. In the backs Jorden Sandover-Best replaces James Pitblado at scrum half, Sandover-Best raised the pace of the match when he came on in Sunday's game but his teammates weren't up to the task. Hopefully they'll be more committed this time around. The wingers are new with Kimi Vunituraga and Karsten Leitner getting the start. Karsten came on briefly in Sunday's game and looked ready to make an immediate impact. I'm disappointed that UVic's Crosby Stewart isn't getting the start but at least he's on as a replacement in this match.
WOLF PACK V BLUES
BEARS V ROCK
Adam Timler starts at inside centre, which moves Jeke Gotegote to outside centre. Jeke was the man of the match for the Bears in Sunday's game. Sean Ferguson gets moved to fullback replacing Caleb Hansen who had a tough go of it on Sunday.
This is a winnable game for the Bears, the Rock feature Pat Parfrey at #10 and Chauncey O'Toole at openside, they will be the Rock's main weapons. O'Toole single-handedly accounted for two tries on Sunday in a losing cause against the Ontario Blues. The game starts at 10am and is streamed live at livestream.com/rugbycanadaofficial
In the following match the Ontario Blues take on the hometown Prairie Wolf Pack.
1. Loose Head Anthony Luca Burnaby Lake Pitt Meadows
2. Hooker Andrew Lackner Burnaby Lake Pitt Meadows
3. Tighthead Cody McClary Port Alberni Black Sheep Port Alberni
4. Lock Sam Clark UBC Vancouver
5. Lock Callum Morrison UBC Old Boy Ravens Victoria
6. Blindside Tyson De Goede James Bay Courtenay
7. Openside Chase Kelliher Capilano Port Moody
8. No. 8 Adam Kleeberger Castaway Wanderers
9. Scrum Half Jorden Sandover-Best UBC Abbotsford
10. Outside Half Giusseppe Du Toit UVic Maple Ridge
11. Wing Kimi Vunituraga Burnaby Lake
12 Centre Adam Timler Burnaby Lake
13. Centre Jeke Gotegote Burnaby Lake
14. Wing Karsten Leitner UBC
15. Fullback Sean Ferguson UBC Old Boy Ravens Cochrane
16 John Braddock Castaway Wanderers Wellington
17 Noah Barker James Bay
18 Ryan Ackerman Burnaby Lake Regina
19 Alex Boyd Meraloma
20 Luke Campbell UVic Victoria
21 James Pitblado UVic Vancouver
22 Crosby Stewart UVic Victoria
23 Keenan Horton Castaway Wanderers
Bears Ravaged 57-7 by Hungry Wolf Pack: Blues Hammer Rock 44-22
posted June 28 2015
[ed. comments below]
Well that was painful to watch, 57-7 was the final score for the Wolf Pack. As regular readers know I’m not a fan of BC’s participation in the CRC in its current state. Played outside the BC senior XVs season, it leads to a hastily assembled team with little cohesion. While the Wolf Pack and Blues live for this competition, the Bears are assembled as an afterthought to appease Rugby Canada. A few years ago Jeff Sauve, the BCRU CEO, refused to enter a team and Rugby Canada ran the team under the name Pacific Tyee. At least with Rugby Canada running the team that year they were forced to play BC’s national team players, so Phil Mack, Harry Jones, Mike Fuailefau, Connor Braid, Aaron Flagg, Pat Kay, Sean White, Connor Trainor, Sean Duke all showed up that year.
I feel for BC’s Director of Rugby, from what I’ve heard from sources he tried to find a top level coach for the team within the BC Rugby community but the interest just wasn’t there for summer rugby, he ended up running the team himself with the help of Roger Robinson as the backs coach. While the Wolf Pack were running well rehearsed back plays, BC fell back to the basics of quick hands to the outside. The commentary team continue to pound the message of needing a top level above club but really is this the showcase they’re looking for? The BC Premier in the winter can offer as much if Rugby Canada supported it, including head to head competition with the best club in the USA loaded with capped Eagles. If Rugby Canada were truly interested in elite development in BC they would realize that different approaches are needed for different regions – the CRC isn’t working for BC. With an Australian now at the helm in BC perhaps that idea of a large country and different regional approaches will stick, it doesn’t seem to get through with the kiwis.
Anyway my 2 cents, now onto the game.
It’s hard to find too many positives from a BC perspective, I thought Jeke Gotegote was the best of the bunch. He was up fast on defence, he had some bollocking runs, and looked for offloads. When Jorden Sandover-Best came on he brought a new energy but when he upped the pace there were none with him in support. That was very telling. It’s difficult to evaluate players in such a one-sided match. Did Adam Kleeberger do enough to warrant selection for the national team, hard to say, he was subbed off early in the second half. However on reputation alone he would be in the mix. There’s not a lot to say on the BC side of the ledger, except the Rock match will be a better contest.
For the Wolf Pack, a lot of positives. Gordon McRorie - besides Phil Mack I can’t think of a better Canadian scrum half. He looks better every game and full of confidence. The front row, Buydens and Tiedemann, they’ll be on the national squad, they were dominant. Mozac Samson looked good and the Wolf Pack backs coach did his homework, impressed with his work. One new name that I wasn’t familiar with and perhaps this is one player who may work his way up the selection ladder, Gradyn Bowd. He played #10 for the Wolf Pack and he did everything well. I have a feeling we might hear more from him this summer.
In the other match it was Ontario Blues 44 – Atlantic Rock 22, setting up a Blues v Wolf Pack final and Bears v Rock consolation.
Chauncey O’Toole is making his comeback and he was prominent for the Rock in a one-sided loss. Interesting to watch a Kleeberger v O’Toole matchup in the loose forwards on Wednesday, July 1st at 10am.
Starting Lineup Announced for BC Bears: Kickoff vs Wolf Pack at 2pm PT - Live Streaming
posted June 27 2015
[ed. comments below]
I was hoping by end of day on Saturday that all rosters would have been posted but only the Bears and Blues have posted their lineups for tomorrow. If the CRC wants to be taken seriously they have to mandate that lineups are released the day before, the BC Premier has slowly evolved to that level of professionalism and it's disappointing that a competition that bills itself as a national championship can't meet that effort.
BEARS V WOLFPACK LIVE 2PM
BC have decided to start a full Burnaby front row with Luca, Lackner and Ackerman. They'll have their hands full as they likely go up against Buydens and Tiedemann, two national team props. The Wolf Pack also feature two young BC players who will likely have a backup role, Liam Beaulieu who played for BC at the U19 level and for Fraser Valley in the 2013 McKechnie Cup, and Clayton Thornber who plays for CW and previously for UVic. The Bears front row reserves are Port Alberni's Cody McClary, James Bay's Noah Barker and CW's John Braddock. A solid scrum will be crucial for the Bear's success and with two national team props the Wolf Pack will probably feel they have the advantage.
The second row features Callum Morrison who has played for Canada A on several occasions and will be looking to impress selectors with the World Cup on the horizon, he partners with Sam Clark who was an important part of UBC's BC Premier championship side. The big name on the team is Adam Kleeberger who has been in and out of rugby since the last world cup. He's obviously making a run at this year's World Cup team. He partners with Thy de Goede and Chase Kelliher in the loose forwards. They'll have strong opposition with the likes Nanyak Dala, Kyle Gilmour and Evan Olmstead on the other side of the ball. On paper the Wolf Pack team are stacked, it's what happens on the field however that counts and it's a chance for some of the Bears to make a name for themselves and get noticed by selectors.
In the backs it starts with the young halfback combination of Pitblado and Du Toit. Pitblado will be up against incumbent national team scrum half, Gordon McRorie, so a real test for him. The Wolf Pack may start Adam McQueen at #10, another young player so a good matchup for Guiseppe du Toit. In the centres it will likely be Blevins for the Wolf Pack up against Gotegote, if Jeke is on his game for a full 80 this could be an interesting matchup. Blevins is a capped player, one of the go to centres used by Crowley, but Jeke has the Fijian flair that makes him dangerous in open play. He's partnered with another player with flair, Sean Ferguson, if they can do the job on defence they may have the advantage with ball in hand.
Rounding out the backs are the Ravens Nolan McAllister, and CW's Keenan Horton, both good finishers and the Rower's Caleb Hansen. Caleb took a bit of time off rugby this spring and summer but he looks like he's added some muscle so interested to see how he performs at fullback.
Overall the Wolf Pack have the national team players, they'll go in confident at home. If the Bears can match up in the forwards in the sets and at the breakdown, they have the backs who can get it done. Should be interesting, game kickoff is at 2pm PT and live streamed at livestream.com/rugbycanadaofficial
1. LOOSE HEAD ANTHONY LUCA
2. HOOKER ANDREW LACKNER
3. TIGHTHEAD RYAN ACKERMAN
4. LOCK SAMUEL CLARK
5. LOCK CALLUM MORRISON
6. BLINDSIDE THYSSEN DE GOEDE
7. OPENSIDE CHASE KELLIHER
8. NO. 8 ADAM KLEEBERGER
9. SCRUM HALF JAMES PITBLADO
10. OUTSIDE HALF GUISEPPE DU TOIT
11. WING NOLAN McALLISTER
12. CENTRE JEKE GOTEGOTE
13. CENTRE SEAN FERGUSON
14. WING KEENAN HORTON
15. FULLBACK CALEB HANSEN
16. Front Row JOHN BRADDOCK
17. FRONT Row NOAH BARKER
18. FRONT ROW CODY McCLARY
19 LUKE CAMPBELL
20 ALEX BOYD
21 JORDEN SANDOVER-BEST
22 ADAM TIMLER
23 KARSTEN LEITNER
BLUES V ROCK MATCH LIVE NOON
Bears Announce Roster for CRC Tournament Starting Sunday
posted June 22 2015
The Bears released their lineup today and as usual the first thing I do is look at who is missing. It was fairly easy to pick 16 BC players not on the list. The first ones were the 7s players likely taking part in the PanAm games:
Then there were the ones I would like to see.
Jorden Sandover-Best (good 7s player and XVs scrum half)
Ty Shannon (probably best Div 1 player in the Province)
Anthony Selva (like to see him against better competition)
Joe Dolesau (still got it in the centres, not many better)
Aaron Flagg (is he still available or gone to UK)
James Reekie (best #10 in BC)
Nate Rees (best centre in BC)
Manar Kulkhan (one to watch from UBC)
Then I check the clubs represented. I thought there would be more Burnaby based on the McKechnie Cup but how many players didn't play in the McKechnie Cup but are still on the team, Kleeberger, de Goede, Ferguson, Morrison?? I guess if you're a certain level of good you don't have to follow the "pathway" that's common knowledge.
Port Alberni 1
Then I take a look at the positions. 5 wings, 1 scrum half, 1 fly half.... WHAT! What's going on here, someone like Crosby Stewart is played on the wing at UVic and by the Tide but everyone picks him as a future scrum half, so I'm guessing wing and backup scrum half. Who will back up #10? I'm not seeing an obvious choice. Only two second row and who from the back row could fill in - Alex Boyd perhaps?
It looks like a decent front row, 2nd row is OK but hope no one gets hurt. Back row with Adam Kleeberger, Thy de Goede and another player should be fine. #9 and #10 are fine unless someone gets hurt then there's problems. It's a young combination though and they could be outplayed by a more experienced duo, but the CRC is all about development so see how they do. The centres look competent, Gotegote is strong, Timler has one foot in union and one in league so see if his union star is rising, Ferguson can light it up 7s style. 5 wingers, we'll see if the ball gets in their hands enough to make a difference.
BC take on the Wolfpack on Sunday, June 28th at 2pm PT in Calgary.
The games will be streamed live online at livestream.com/rugbycanadaofficial
BC Bears Roster
Adam Kleeberger Back Row Castaway Wanderers
Adam Timler Centre Burnaby Lake
Alex Boyd Back Row Meraloma
Alex Mascott Hooker UBC
Andrew Lackner Hooker Burnaby Lake
Anthony Luca Loose Head Prop Burnaby Lake
Caleb Hansen Wing Vancouver Rowing Club
Callum Morrison Second Row UBC Old Boy Ravens
Chase Kelliher Back Row Capilano
Cody McClary Tight Head Prop Port Alberni Black Sheep
Crosby Stewart Wing UVic
Giusseppe Du Toit Fly Half UVic
James Pitblado Scrum Half UVic
Jeke Gotegote Centre Burnaby Lake
John Braddock Loose Head Prop Castaway Wanderers
Karsten Leitner Wing UBC
Keenan Horton Fullback Castaway Wanderers
Kimi Vunituraga Wing Burnaby Lake
Luke Campbell Back Row UVic
Nolan McAllister Wing UBC Old Boy Ravens
Ryan Ackerman Tight Head Prop Burnaby Lake
Sam Clark Second Row UBC
Sean Ferguson Centre UBC Old Boy Ravens
Thyssen De Goede Back Row James Bay
BC Bears Open Camp in Victoria This Weekend at SMUS
posted June 13 2015
The Bears have an open camp in Victoria this weekend at St Michael's school. The event runs 10:30am to 3pm Saturday and Sunday according to the BCRU site.
BC Bears training camp schedule:
March 15 - Open Camp: Victoria
March 29 - Open Camp: Delta
April 26 - Vancouver
June 13 & 14 Open Camp: St. Michael's University School (3400 Richmond Road, Victoria) 10:30-3:00pm
June 20 & 21, Camp: Vancouver 10:30am - 3:00pm
Players interested in attending the the open selection camps should contact:
Performance Development Manager
778 847 2466
BC Bears 2015 CRC Schedule
Sunday, June 28 BC Bears v Wolfpack - Calgary, AB
Wednesday, July 1st BC Bears v opponent TBD - Calgary, AB