Shane O'Leary - Canada U20, Connacht
Canada A (Pacific Tyee) Defeat BC Bears 42-15
posted May 27 2017
[ed. comments below]
It was a low key affair, no streaming, many from the women's event had left but there was still a respectable number in the stands.
The first two scores occurred almost before the fans got comfortable in their seats. First it was BC scoring from a blocked kick and then Canada struck back on the outside. It was clear from that point on with Trainor and Blevins in the centres, Canada would enjoy some advantage. Doug Fraser seemed to get injured as he was noticeable in the early going but was off the field early on and wouldn't return.
The BC forwards were matching up well in the sets and loose play in the starting XV. That would change a bit in the second half as the Canada backup players like Ray Barkwill and Djustice Sears-Duru came on and had an edge on their BC counterparts. Clint Lemkus continues to impress and gave tighthead Jake Ilnicki all he could handle and more in the battle of the starting front rows. Ryan Ackerman also did a good job and came back into the game to go up against Djustice Sears-Duru when he started dominating in the second half.
The BC flankers Nakai Penny and Travis Larsen did well and didn't hurt their chances for first team selection.
Shane O'Leary looked composed at #10 for Canada doing most of his talking with the boot and the pass, taking the game out to Canada's backline advantage. Connor Braid didn't have the same luxury out wide and had to rely on his running game more.
The game went into the break at 21-10 for Canada.
The second half subs made the difference for Canada and they started to press their advantage, especially in the sets. They now had the advantage in the forwards as well and mauled one in, then added another, it could have got ugly at this point, 35-10. Connor Braid stepped up his game and helped BC to strike back and it was 35-15 before Canada closed out the scoring, 42-15.
Overall BC could be happy with their first string forwards, they held their own. They didn't have the depth of Canada losing players like Connor Trainor, Admir Cejvanovic, Brock Staller and Guiseppe du Toit to the Canada side. If they had played with those four it could have been a different story. They lost Doug Fraser early on and that magnified Canada's advantage in the backline. Phil Mack was rested early and he was a major driving force in BC's attack, probably their most dangerous attack player on the day.
Rosters Announced for Canada A (Pacific Tyee) vs BC Bears
posted May 25 2017
[ed. comments below]
It's starting to get interesting with the labels being applied to the teams. Last week it was the Vancouver Tyee taking on the Tide with Rick Bourne of Langara Fishing Lodge the main backer. Now the Canada A side is being labeled as the Pacific Tyee, not sure what to read into that but will this be the new name for the centralized team and will Rick be a major sponsor of the team? It's peripheral business but interesting for speculation.
Now down to business, two good looking rosters and this will be an excellent selection tool for the Canada coaching staff. Rugby Canada didn't release their roster by starting position but we took a shot at that. The Bears did list their starting positions with a caveat that there may be changes. This is a selection match so an extended roster is permitted.
Also we've included a letter from BC coach Tony Healy that lays out his plans and ensures players there's still room to impress and make the squad for one of the summer matches. That's appended after the rosters.
The BC team looks strong, the south african prop Clint Lemkus destroyed the Tide tighthead last week and he's being doing the same for UBC this season. It's a good call on the starting front row. UBC's Connor Weyell who had that big intercept last week gets the start with UVic rival Liam Chisolm. The loose forwards look impressive, a physical bunch with Nakai Penny the only Tsunami player to make the starting roster. Connor Hamilton at #8 is the only forward who didn't participate in the regional matches the previous two weeks.
In the backs Jorden Sandover-Best was the best scrum-half in the regional games and the return of Connor Braid from the UK sees him slot into the #10 spot. Only two backs didn't take part in the regional games but Sean Duke would get in on reputation alone, he's a great 7s player but I haven't seen a lot of his XVs play recently. This will be a good evaluation tool. Anton Ngongo is the other player who jumped in without regional play but he was seconded to the Canada U20 team during that time. Both good choices outside. Aaron McLelland was probably the best back in regional play and merits the #15 start. The centres are the only area where I think it's not quite spot on, the Vancouver team had dominance over the Tide in this area but neither AJ King or Cullie Quirk are listed while the Tide centres get the start. Doug Fraser wasn't present for that Vancouver match and Mike Nieuwenhuysen is a big unit who looks good when he gets lots of crash ball. It's a talented group of players.
The Canada A side, the Pacific Tyee, would represent the probables in a Probables vs Possibles match if we were to label the game that way. These are the players who will have to be knocked out of their position by one of the possibles. The #10 battle looks promising with Shane O'Leary getting his first look by the senior national team. He could be posted in the centres but Canada really need to explore the #10 option and he was Canada's best U20 #10 in recent history. Braid vs O'Leary would be an excellent matchup. Lots of front row talent, this is the de facto Canada front row and who starts is up to conjecture at this point. It should be an entertaining match and a good chance for Canada selectors to evaluate players.
Canada’s June Series Schedule:
Pacific Tyee vs. BC Bears — May 27 — Westhills Stadium
Pacific Tyee vs. Prairie Wolf Pack (Controlled scrimmage) — June 2 — Calgary Rugby Park
Canada vs. Romania — June 10 — Calgary Rugby Park — 5pm ET/2pm PT
Canada vs. Georgia — June 17 — Ellerslie Rugby Park — 5pm ET/2pm PT
Canada vs. USA — June 24 — Tim Horton’s Field — 3pm ET/12pm PT
Canada vs. USA — July 1 — San Diego — 6pm ET/3pm PT
1. Clint Lemkus (UBC)
2. Paul Ahn (UBC)
3. Ryan Ackerman (BLRC)
4. Connor Weyell (UBC)
5. Liam Chisholm (UVic)
6. Travis Larsen (JBAA)
7. Nakai Penny (UBC)
8. Connor Hamilton (UBC)
9. Jorden Sandover-Best (UBC)
10. Connor Braid (JBAA)
11. Sean Duke (UBC)
12. Doug Fraser (CW)
13. Mike Nieuwenhuysen (JBAA)
14. Anton Ngongo (CW)
15. Aaron McLelland (UBCOB)
16. Noah Barker (JBAA)
17. Anthony Luca (BLRC)
18. Neil Courtney (UBC)
19. Jordan Reid-Harvey (Capilano)
20. Taitusi Vikilani (BLRC)
21. Luke Campbell (JBAA)
22. Josh Thiel (Abbotsford)
23. Harjun Gill (UBCOB)
24. Kimi Vunituraga (BLRC)
25. Phil Mack (JBAA)
26. Shea Wakefield (JBAA)
27. James Pitblado (UVic)
28. Brandon Schellenberger (CW)
29. Tua Va’a (Westshore)
Pacific Tyee Squad for Domestic Trial Matches (possible starting roster)
1 Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
2 Ray Barkwill – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3 Jake Ilnicki – (Manawatu Turbos/BC Bears) Williams Lake, BC
4 Conor Keys – (UVIC Vikes/Atlantic Rock) Stittsville, ON
5 Adrian Wadden – (Oakville Crusaders), Oakville, ON
6 Kyle Baillie – (Westshore RFC/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
7 Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
8 Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
9 Gordon McRorie – (UBC Old Boys Ravens/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
10 Shane O’Leary – (Unattached) Cork, Ireland
11 Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
12 Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13 Conor Trainor – (RC Vannes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
14 Aidan McMullan – (Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC) Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC
15 Andrew Coe – (UBC Thunderbirds) Toronto, ON
16 Djustice Sears -Duru – (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
17 Matt Tierney – (Section Paloise/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
18 Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
19 Brett Beukeboom – (Cornish Pirates) Lindsay, ON
20 Matt Heaton – (Darlington Mowden Park/Atlantic Rock) Godmanchester, QC
21 Guiseppe Du Toit – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Maple Ridge, BC
22 Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders) Mississauga, ON
23 Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Red Deer, AB
24 Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Letter from Tony Healy to BC Rugby Community
Hello all players, clubs and regions of BC,
On behalf of the BC Bears staff, I would like to thank everyone for the amazing support and interest that we have enjoyed throughout our build-up to our first game v the RC Selects and on through the season. Between the North Island Tsunami, The Crimson Tide, Vancouver Tyee Barbarians, injured players, and players coming back from out of province, we have had close to if not more than 100 guys raise their hands to be counted! Additionally, we have had fantastic support from the coaches, clubs and volunteers who continue to keep to the BC rugby programmes alive. We are grateful and humbled by this sign of support. We are also very motivated to help restore BC rugby to the top of the Canadian rugby scene.
The entire BC Bears staff believes that rebuilding requires inclusion. We believe that the Bears belong to all of the BC rugby community and that by working together, outside of our partisan interests, we can all benefit together. To all players whose names have not appeared on our lists (yet), our practice sessions are open. We want all aspiring players to attend but beware, skill levels must be very high and you must be fit! If you can show through your skills, efforts and character that you deserve a spot, you’ll get a shot. Many of the players have already seen how much fun and growth can be had by training and playing alongside high quality players. Some are close to taking the next step but need experience and polishing. We want to help them shine. For any coaches who are interested in attending and observing with Q&A to follow, the doors are open!
Going into our BC Bears season, we have a named a large “squad.” The summer season is special. We know that some players will not be available while others will be. Our strength and success will come from our extended squad, including those not yet named, working hard together to be the BEST that we can be.
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." --Henry Ford
Thank you all in advance for your continued support,