NA4 Competition

July 30 2006


Scott Franklin - Canada West
© Sharon Tiffin

Canada West win inaugural NA4 competition with 31-20 victory over USA Falcons


posted July 30 2006
[ed. when the NA4 was held in Vancouver we provided half-time and full-time scores on our website. Rugby Canada, for the first time, did the same thing. We're flattered that Rugby Canada raised their coverage level in response to our effort but what happened this time when there wasn't any coverage "competition". We're left with Ian Kennedy's post midnight reports. Although Kennedy works very hard on these it would have been good if RC could have provided half-time and full-time summaries as they did in Vancouver.]

As Kennedy reports on the Rugby Canada website, Canada West won the first NA4 championship overcoming the USA Falcons 31-20. Canada East won the Consolation Final with a 34-18 result against the USA Hawks. Both game reports are on www.rugbycanada.ca

It will be interesting to see how the NA4 evolves. Next year will be a World Cup year so will the NA4 expand, perhaps taking over the RCSL in the process or will it remain dormant for a year in its current form.

Another intriguing aspect is the player allocations for these competitions and the club competion. The national coaches created a stir last year when they gave the word for certain players to sit out BC Premier club games before internationals or tours. In a world cup year, it may get worse for clubs, although it seems teams playing for Fix or Parfrey have an exemption from the rule. Sluggo is finding out there are some people that you just don't say "no" to...



Canada East win 34-11 over Hawks, Canada West win 25-24 over Falcons


posted May 27 2006
[ed. comments below]

No doubt Canada East were the best team on the park today. Their scrum was solid they played a good structured game and were rewarded with a 34-11 victory.

Canada West started the same way going up 7-0 and it looked like it would be an easy victory. Then mental mistakes crept in, crucial dropped balls while running at pace, an interception try by the Falcons, missed tackles, it was turning into a nightmare. Players were going off injured, Brodie Henderson was the first to go off in the opening period, then a number of others. Eventually Mark Lawson was playing wing while Pat Riordan played hooker. It was a fiasco and certainly not one any of the selectors would have been impressed with, Culpan at outside centre continued to soldier on even though the inside centre dropped a few key balls. Ed Fairhurst tried his hardest at #10 but even some of his kicks were atrocious. It was another game that Canada West could have run up the score but they let the other team in through mistakes and lack of focus. Fortunately the USA Falcons ran out of time or they surely would have won. Many fans even though enjoying the drama of the close game were disappointed with Canada West's performance.

Many of the West Players who were selected for the Churchill Cup either did not suit up or came up 'injured' early in the game. Again another reason to look at the selection process and for Rugby Canada to get a solid plan together for selection criteria. The NA4 WAS NOT a selection tournament for the Churchill Cup team no matter what Rugby Canada says and the IRB should pay more attention to how its money is being spent.

The Pletch brothers looked good for Canada East (on Churchill Cup) as did Oliver Atkinson (not on Churchill Cup). Kris Witkowski (not on Churchill Cup) looked good for Canada East on the Wing. For Canada West not much to report, the scrums were messy, the #9 looked dazed at times, Ed Fairhurst (on Churchill Cup) tried with what he had, Culpan (not on Churchill Cup) at outside centre had some good runs, that's about it. Really even though victorious, a disappointing day for Canada West. DTH, Mensah-Coker, Kleeberger, Spicer all selected for Churchill Cup begged off on the last IRB sponsored NA4 competition. So which is more important and is this competition even valid for selection purposes? I have my doubts....

Video highlights to follow....

By the way, I lost my bet as we determined there were less than 700 in attendance. Close though maybe 650.



Canada West squad named for tomorrow's match against USA Falcons


posted May 26 2006
[ed. it's too bad the East-West game couldn't have been played this Saturday after the naming of the Churchill Cup team so we could see how the 'unselected' front row of Canada West would answer their 'selected' numbers across the divide. Pat Desaulles is probably the least well known of this front row, so we'll see how he performs against the USA Falcons. Velox have a good representation in the forward eight, with Daryll Hall and Milan Mrdjenovich having a chance to show their stuff. Ian Smortchevsky is a superb #9 who hasn't had a good shot at the national team, so this is a chance to make a statement. Ed Fairhurst finished Wednesday's game well at #10 so again a chance to show selectors that he has the right stuff. Spicer isn't on the bench so Chuck Baumberg will back up Fairhurst. An excellent backline with another chance to see Brodie Henderson in action, along with Abbotsford teammate Ryan McWhinney]

CANADA WEST TEAM TO PLAY US FALCONS

1. Desaulles, Pat - UBCOB Ravens

2. Lawson, Mark - Velox Valhallians

3. Cooke, Garth - Castaway-Wanderers

4. Bickerton, Pat - Bayside RFC

5. Hall, Daryll - Velox Valhallians

6. Mrdjenovich, Milan - Velox Valhallians

7. Meechan, Neil - U of Victoria

8. Biddle, David - Meralomas RFC

9. Smortchevsky, Ian - Capilano RFC

10. Fairhurst, Ed - U of Victoria

11. Henderson, Brodie - Abbotsford RFC

12. McWhinney, Ryan - Abbotsford RFC

13. Culpan, Craig - Meraloma RFC

14. Warden, Geoff - James Bay RFC

15. Wilson, Eric - UBC

RESERVES:

16. Baumberg, Chuck - Castaway Wanderers

17. Franklin, Scott - Castaway-Wanderers

18. Hotson, Tyler - UBC

19. Jones, Morgan - UBCOB Ravens

20. McKeen, Tom - U of Victoria

21. Riordan, Pat - Burnaby Lake RFC

22. Weller, Tony - Capilano RFC




Canada West score try in injury time to tie Canada East 28-28: UPDATE post game audio report: UPDATE Video highlights and interviews with Derek Daypuck and Ed Fairhurst


posted May 24 2006 9:20pm

Full time report from Mike Doyle at Thunderbird Stadium Audio format 7 minutes

CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO CLIP

Game highlights Canada East 28 - Canada West 28
Interview with Canada West, Ed Fairhurst
Interview with Canada East, Derek Daypuck

Ed Fairhurst slotted a difficult conversion in injury time to tie up the game after JBAA's Geoff Warden had scored for Canada West. Canada West down by 13 points at the half had to dig deep to win the second half and pull out the tie. Noticeable performances in the second half by Ed Fairhurst and Justin Mensah-Coker from the West team.

Canada West goes ahead of the standings with one win and a draw, the USA teams have one win and one loss while Canada East has one loss and a draw.

We'll have video highlights tomorrow.

Saturday's games see Canada East vs USA Hawks and Canada West vs USA Falcons.



Canada East leading at half-time 23-10: UPDATED half-time audio report


posted May 24 2006 8:20pm

Half time report from Lisa Cooper at Thunderbird Stadium Audio format 3 minutes

In a surprise result so far, Canada East is ahead of Canada West by a score of 23-10. Penalties have plaqued Canada West and the boot of Derek Daypuck is leading Canada East. The field is slick with a slight drizzle.

DTH van der Merwe has left the game with an injury. Kris Witkowski, the wing for Canada East, and Derek Daypuck at #10 are the standouts so far.



Surprise result in USA match as Hawks down Falcons 33-22


posted May 24 2006 7:15pm

In a match just completed the USA Hawks rebounded from the 98-0 drubbing at the hands of Canada West to defeat the USA Falcons 33-22.

The Hawks coaching staff must be happy with the turn around as the Falcons had dispatched Canada East on the weekend 29-14 and were pre-game favourites.

The Canada West-Canada East match is about to start and we'll have a half time report in about an hour.



NA4 competition resumes on Wednesday evening at UBC Thunderbird Stadium: 5:30pm and 7:00pm start times: UPDATE Canada West team announced


[ed. Canada West announced their team today in a Rugby Canada Press Release. The potent backline that contributed to the 98 points last game is enhanced by the addition of DTH van der Merwe at 15. Tony Weller fills in for Brodie Henderson on the wing. Other changes see Pat Riordan at hooker and David Biddle at flanker.]
posted May 23 2006

After surprising opening results on Saturday with Canada East losing to the USA Falcons 29-14 and Canada West with a huge 98-0 victory over the USA Hawks, the tournament resumes tomorrow evening at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver. Pre-game intel presumed some parity between Canada West and Canada East since the East-West game played in October was a close 13-7 victory for the West. It was assumed the American teams would also be of relative equal strength as the teams were put together in a hurry. Such may not be the case as the rankings after round 1 would look like this: Canada West, USA Falcons, Canada East, USA Hawks. I have to think the intra-country rivalry will improve performances and make these closer games than round 1 results would indicate.

Canada East announced its team today, the press release can be read on the Rugby Canada website. Some familiar names to BC fans as CW's Matt Weingart and Derek Daypuck team up at #9 and #10. Burnaby's Adam McCluskey starts at outside centre and Velox's Oliver Atkinson at second row. Remember the Pacific Pride, the Canadian development team centred in Victoria that was disbanded in May 2005 (with subsequent unfulfilled promises of a resurrection...but I digress). Several alumni of the Pride appear on the East team including: Sean-Michael Stephen; Kevin Parfrey; Mike Simpson. Simpson has great potential and was one of the best players on the Pacific Pride in the 2004-2005 season.

We'll have a half time report on Wednesday evening, check with us around 8:15 PST for a half-time summary of the Canada West-Canada East game and the final score of the USA Hawks-USA Falcons game. By around 9pm we'll have the final results of round 2 along with a post-game interview.

The USA Hawks-USA Falcons game starts at 5:30 pm and from round 1 results it looks as if the Falcons are clear favourites. The NA4 site (are there any tenders put out for all these new Rugby Canada websites...but I digress) has more information on the American teams.



Canada East loses match to USA Falcons 29-14 while Canada West pummels USA Hawks 98-0: UPDATE SCORESHEETS AND STORY LINKS, POST-GAME INTERVIEW WITH CANADA WEST COACH TONY MEDINA: UPDATE OVERVIEW OF CANADA EAST GAME


[ed. due to a ferry cancellation and the subsequent backlog of traffic I wasn't able to get to the game in Abbotsford. I did get hold of one of the organizers by phone on site to get the latest scores and an interview with Canada West coach, Tony Medina.]

POST-GAME INTERVIEW WITH TONY MEDINA - COACH OF CANADA WEST (AUDIO FORMAT)

LINEUPS AND SCORESHEETS FOR BOTH GAMES (IN .XLS FORMAT)

BC Rugby News viewers chose the Canada West team to win with the largest margin of victory today and they were correct. The final score was 98-0 for the Canada West team. A result no one expected before the game started. The following matchups vs Canada East (on Wednesday) and the USA Falcons (next Saturday) should be interesting.

[ed. previous entry]
Canada West are well on their way to the largest victory on the opening day of the tournament, ahead 55-0 with 20 minutes remaining. Canada East were shocked 29-14 by the USA Falcons in the first game. It looks like the USA Falcons v Canada West matchup at Centennial Stadium next weekend will be the big game to decide the champion. No more details yet, but we'll be getting the scoring reports after the match.

Rugby Canada article on Canada West win
Rugby Canada article on Canada East loss

A VIEWER GIVES HIS ANALYSIS OF THE CANADA EAST GAME

- The Falcons have two outstanding players at #10 and #7
- Canada East wingers played poorly missing opportunities to counter-attack on kicks
- The match was 15-14 at one point but Canada East lost it in the second half
- Generally the Canada East side lacked cohesion, they looked rusty and were pretty average
- PR for the event could have been better locally
- Attendence was about 500+



FIRST TWO GAMES OF INAUGURAL NORTH AMERICA 4 RUGBY TOURNAMENT SET FOR TOMORROW (SATURDAY) IN ABBOTSFORD


posted May 19 2006
[ed. a reminder that the first two games of the NA4 competition are tomorrow in Abbotsford, we'll be there with video highlights and match reports. Some interesting performances to watch, how will Spicer and Daypuck compare at #10, although not competing against each other today, both will be facing unknown challenges and both competing for the national #10 position. How will the American teams perform, not much is known about them at the present but the general expectation is they will have some talented individuals but may not be as cohesive and prepared as the Canadian squads. We'll see tomorrow if these expectations are true.]

Vancouver, B.C. – The first two games of the inaugural North America 4 Rugby Tournament will be played tomorrow, May 20th at Rotary Stadium in CFV Exhibition Park in Abbotsford. The first game will begin at 1 pm and features Canada East versus the USA Falcons. Canada West takes on the USA Hawks beginning at 3 pm on the same pitch. Each team competing in the International Rugby Board (IRB) financed competition will face each other twice during the event, with games won and lost determining the winner. The schedule continues Wednesday, May 24th in Vancouver and Saturday, May 27th in Victoria. The second leg of the tournament will be played in Columbus, Ohio, July 22nd-29th.

The complete NA 4 schedule is as follows:

May 20th – CFV Exhibition Park (Abbotsford)

1:00 pm – Canada East vs. USA Falcons
3:00 pm – Canada West vs. USA Hawks

May 24th – Thunderbird Stadium (Vancouver)

5:30 pm – USA Hawks vs. USA Falcons
7:30 pm – Canada West vs. Canada East

May 27th – Centennial Stadium (Victoria)

1:00 pm – Canada East vs. USA Hawks
3:00 pm – Canada West vs. USA Falcons

Twenty players on the two teams that are representing Canada West and East have been 'capped' and have represented their country in international competition. For the most part, players on the Canada East teams live and play their rugby in Eastern Canada and similarly with the West team. However, there are a number of exceptions as the selectors seek to balance Canada’s two entries.

Tickets for all three venues and games are now available and can be purchased in several ways.

Single game ticket prices for the North America 4 Tournament are $15 in advance and $20 at the stadium box office on game day. Youth single game tickets (grade 12 & under) are only $10, and there are special group rates at 20 tickets ($150 - $7.50 each) and 50 tickets ($300 - $6.00 each) for Junior and age-grade rugby programs, as well as high school teams. Tickets are available on-line at www.ticketmaster.ca, at the head office of the British Columbia Rugby Union by phone 604-737-3095, and at the stadium box offices on event days.



NA4: CANADA WEST NAME TEAM FOR OPENER


[ed. a few key omissions from the talent pool. The most noticeable is the absence of DTH van der Merwe at fullback, perhaps choosing to go to the club championships with JBAA rather than the NA4. The overlapping schedule between the NA4 backed by Rugby Canada and the Invitational Club tournament organized by Rugby Canada again highlights the question, "who exactly is steering the ship?"]

by Ian Kennedy – RC Press Officer
May 18, 2006

Canada West Coach Tony Medina has named a strong side, which includes nine international players, to play the US Hawks on Saturday at Rotary Stadium, Abbotsford at 3 pm.

Twenty-seven time cap-winner Victoria’s Ed. Fairhurst will captain the side, playing in the pivotal scrum-half position, where Fairhurst earned most of his caps; he has also played fly-half for his country.

Canada West fields a full international front row with Castaway-Wanderers loose-head Iain Exner, Velox-Valhallians hooker Mark Lawson and Castaway-Wanderers’ tight-head Garth Cooke.

Bayside lock Pat Bickerton and UBC Old Boy Raven Tyler Hotson will make up the second row. Bickerton won two caps against the USA and Japan at the 2004 Super Cup in Tokyo. Hotson meanwhile has progressed up through the Rugby Canada age-grade system.

The back row sees the University of Victoria flanker partnership of Neil Meechan and international Adam Kleeberger joined by Ravens’ Morgan Jones at #8.

“Neil Meechan played for me at the U19 Championships in France in 2000,” commented Medina. “Morgan Jones played #6 for the SMUS XV last weekend, but he plays #8 as well.”

There is another University of Victoria partnership in the half-backs as Fairhurst and David Spicer combine. Both Spicer and Fairhurst, graduates of St. Michaels University School in Victoria, played for the SMUS XV last Saturday with Fairhurst playing most of the game at fullback; Spicer played centre where he laid on two deft tries. With Spicer returned to full fitness following a lower body injury that has plagued him for the past six weeks, this combination could play a deciding role in Saturday’s game against the Hawks.

Versatile Chuck Baumberg, who can play anywhere in the backs and Meraloma Craig Culpan make up the centre pairing.

“Chuck usually plays #10 and is a very steady player,” added Medina. “Culpan had a fine run on the weekend for the Canada XV scoring two tries. They’re a solid combination.”

Brodie Henderson and Justin Mensah-Coker, both try-scorers in the SUMS versus Canada XV last Saturday, will hope to continue their try-scoring ways against the Hawks. University of British Columbia Thunderbird Eric Wilson will play fullback.

In the reserves, international hooker Pat Riordan will likely be used as an impact substitute. Pat Dessaullts, who played U-19 for Canada in 2000, will act as reserve prop. The UBCOB Raven prop was called in to the camp yesterday to replace international Casey Dunning, who suffered a lower limb injury that made him unable to continue for this tournament.

Pat Kearney, who played at the U21 World Championships in Argentina last year spares as lock. Tom McKeen, brother of Canada back-rower Stan, will relieve for the back row, if needed. Cowichan wing Trevor Geach and Capilano scrum-half Ian Smortchzsky round out the squad.

“What the Hawks will be like is a complete mystery to us,” concluded Medina of his team’s opponents on Saturday. “We’re treating every game as a final and we’re out to win.

“We can expect typically big, athletic players who will be physical but probably won’t have the same amount of rugby knowledge as our players. Having said that they will be formidable opponents who will be dangerous.”

CANADA WEST TEAM TO PLAY US HAWKS

NAME
CLUB
2005 RCSL TEAM

1. Exner, Iain
Castaway-Wanderers

2. Lawson, Mark
Velox-Valhallians

3. Cooke, Garth
Castaway-Wanderers
Crimson Tide

4. Bickerton, Pat
Bayside RFC
Valley Venom

5. Hotson, Tyler
UBCOB Ravens
Vancouver Wave

6. Meechan, Neil
U of Victoria

7. Kleeberger, Adam
U of Victoria
Crimson Tide

8. Jones, Morgan
UBCOB Ravens
Vancouver Wave

9. Fairhurst, Eddie (Capt.)
U of Victoria
Crimson Tide

10. Spicer, David
U of Victoria
Crimson Tide

11. Henderson, Brodie
Abbotsford RFC

12. Baumberg, Chuck
Castaway-Wanderers

13. Culpan, Craig
Meraloma RFC

14. Mensah-Coker, Justin
Meraloma RFC

15. Wilson, Eric
UBC
Vancouver Wave


RESERVES:

16. Riordan, Pat
Burnaby Lake RFC

17. Franklin, Scott
Castaway-Wanderers

18. Desaulles, Pat
UBCOB Ravens

19. Kearney, Pat
U of Victoria

20. McKeen, Tom
U of Victoria

21. Geach, Trevor
Cowichan
Vancouver Island Raiders

22. Smortchevsky, Ian
Capilano RFC



NORTH AMERICAN FOUR: INAUGURAL CANADIAN SQUADS ANNOUNCED


by Rugby Canada press release
April 04, 2006


Rugby Canada’s national selectors, including Senior Men’s Head Coach Ric Suggitt and recently appointed NA-4 head coaches Simon Blanks and Tony Medina, announced the two Canadians teams that will compete in the North America-4 tournament. The International Rugby Board financed competition’s first leg will be played in British Columbia from May 20th-27th.

The competition will feature two teams from Canada (East and West) and two teams for the United States comprised mainly of domestic players. Each team will face each other once during the event with games won and lost determining the winner.

The event will be played in two stages with the first encounters taking place in British Columbia. There will be double-header games on Saturday May 20th in Abbotsford, Wednesday May 24th in Vancouver and Saturday May 27th in Victoria. The second leg of the tournament will be played in Columbus, Ohio, July 22nd-29th. The first leg will see the teams come together May 14th, to train and prepare for the competition.

“We are pleased to be participating in this tournament and we think it will give our domestic based players the quality of competition needed to improve our overall playing strength,” stated Canada National Senior Men’s Team head coach Suggitt.

Canada West Coach Tony Medina (Brentwood) will have David Johnston (Bayside) and Ian Hyde-Lay (Crimson Tide) as his assistants with Des Lynch as Manager. Canada East Coach Simon Blanks (Swilers and The Rock) will have Jeff Prince (Brantford/Thunder) and Greg Thaggard (Ottawa Harlequins) as his assistant coaches with Rodger Swany (Meralomas) as Manager.

For the most part players from on the Canada East teams live and play their rugby in Eastern Canada and similarly with the West team, however, there are a number of exceptions as the selectors seek to balance Canada’s two entries.

CANADA WEST SQUAD

1
Baumberg, Chuck
Castaway-Wanderers

2
Bickerton, Pat
Bayside RFC

3
Biddle, David
Meralomas RFC

4
Collins, Jamie
James Bay AA

5
Cooke, Garth
Castaway-Wanderers

6
Culpan, Craig
Meralomas RFC

7
Dunning, Casey
Castaway-Wanderers

8
Exner, Ian
Castaway-Wanderers

9
Fairhurst, Eddie
University of Victoria

10
Franklin, Scott
Castaway-Wanderers

11
Hall, Daryl
Velox-Valhallians

12
Henderson, Brodie
Abbotsford RFC

13
Jones, Morgan
UBCOB Ravens

14
Keys, Bryn
Abbotsford RFC

15
Kleeberger, Adam
University of Victoria

16
Lawson, Mark
Velox Valhallians

17
MacSween, Mark
Balmy Beach

18
McKeen, Stan
UBCOB Ravens

19
McKeen, Tom
University of Victoria

20
McWhinney, Ryan
Abbotsford RFC

21
Meechan, Neil
University of Victoria

22
Mensah-Coker, Justin
Meralomas RFC

23
Molia, Sipili
Castaway-Wanderers

24
Mrdjenovich, Milan
Velox-Valhallians

25
Riordan, Pat
Burnaby Lake

26
Smortchevsky, Ian
Capilanos RFC

27
Spicer, David
University of Victoria

28
Van der Merwe, DTH
James Bay AA


CANADA EAST SQUAD

1
Atkinson, Oliver
Aurora Barbarians/Velox-V.

2
Barbieri, Mike
Yeomen RFC

3
Carpenter, Aaron
Brantford Harlequins

4
Daypuck, Derek
London St.George/C-W

5
Densmore, Peter
Vandals RFC

6
Dunham, Scott
Balmy Beach

7
Dunne, Simon
Irish Canadian RC

8
Fagan, Andrew
Swilers RFC

9
Hearns, Ciran
Swilers RFC

10
Kozina, Jordan
Brantford Harlequins

11
McLean, Mike
Ottawa Harlequins

12
Ough, Cameron
St. John Trojans

13
Parfrey, Kevin
Swilers RFC

14
Phinney, Matt
Markham RFC/Meralomas

15
Piatek, Steve
Brantford Harlequins

16
Pletch Dan
Oakville Crusaders

17
Pletch, Mike
Oakville Crusaders

18
Plewes, Kent
Velox-Valhallians

19
Selby, Jared
Lindsay RFC

20
Stephen, Sean-Michael
Oakville Crusaders

21
Thompson, Mark
Irish Canadian RC

22
Van Camp, Dean
Aurora Barbarians/Velox-V

23
Ward, Barry
Irish Canadian RC

24
Weingart, Matt
Nova Scotia Keltics

25
Wilson, Rob
Swilers RFC

26
Wish, Tyler
Swilers RFC

27
Witkowski, Kris
Cole Harbour/C-W

28
Wotherspoon, Kipp
Irish Canadian RC

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