BC Bears Dominant in 43-0 Win Over Prairie Wolf Pack: PHOTOS ADDED
posted July 14 2017
[ed. comments below]
First of all congratulations to the BC team and the coaches Tony Healy and Phil Mack. Phil as a player coach led by example and was the best player on the field by far. It has been a while since BC has put out a good team in the summer rugby season and it took a lot of effort by the coaches and the supporting regions (South Island Tide, North Island Tsunami, Vancouver Tyee) who put out teams in the selection "pathway" games.
With that said, let's look at this from the perspective of preparing for Uruguay. Now BC and Ontario have sent down teams that beat Uruguay in recent history. It's quite possible this BC team could beat Uruguay but Tony Healy and Phil Mack won't be coaching the Canada side, Mark Anscombe will, and the dynamics of the team, even though it will include BC players, won't be the same. We'll go through the list of players who enhanced their chances for selection in a bit but first an observation on the CRC as a whole. It was a useful selection game but the seriousness of the league was pretty well summed up by the commentary for those who watched online. You could call it (both the CRC league and commentary) entertaining in spots, distracting and irrelevant overall and definitely not professional.
So onto players and selections. Phil Mack is there anyone better at #9 in Canada, even though he retired once, he's still the best. Still that niggling tendency to make one sizeable mistake after a period of brilliance, that box kick at the end of the half that went straight up and down and could have put the Wolf Pack back in the game. OK it's a small point, it didn't allow them back in the game but he loses half a point on that, 9.5 out of 10.
Brock Staller, while taking copious notes during the game about the lack of support on line breaks, a typical Canadian problem, boom, Brock Staller subs in and there's suddenly support play. He scores twice off good support play, it was good to see, 8 out of 10.
Aaron McLelland, my one prediction before the game was that he would score a try, he did and it was a beauty. Both XVs and 7s coaches are watching for the day his Canada eligibility kicks in, 7.5 out of 10.
Harjun Gill, I liked his kicking, you could see he was thinking like an international #10, trying to control the game with field position. Some nice miss passes out to the wing, that's classy. Some of the plays were a little slow to develop though, a stronger defensive team, like Uruguay, would have caused problems. That's a coaching thing and a preparation thing, plays that were practiced took too long to develop and players were a fraction of a second too slow to get there. The Wolf Pack didn't put on enough pressure to matter but that needs to be fixed. I like the fact it wasn't always quick hands to the outside, there was a good mixture of inside runners, not perfect but 7.5 out of 10.
Centres du Toit and Barton did well, Guiseppe's kicking to touch from penalties was good and for conversions not too shabby. George had a few bashes and one big line break, he came off early on in preparation for the U20 tournament no doubt, 7 out of 10.
In the forwards, #8 Vikilani had his best rep game, always easier to look good when going forward. Some great runs and the forwards as a whole played well, 8 out of 10.
One thing I was a little concerned about in the first half was ball security, the Wolf Pack stole the ball at the breakdown more than they should have in the first 40. The clearing out at the breakdown needs to improve when measuring up against Uruguay, that's actually one area the Wolf Pack may have done better in the first half. It evened out in the second 40 as the Wolf Pack tired and the Bears were energized by the large lead. The BC flankers get a 7.5 out of 10 as they put in a massive effort in tackling and kept the Wolf Pack off the board.
The throw-ins were another area that needs to be fixed some real balloon balls going up from the hooker that didn't always hit their mark. The second row stole a couple of throw-ins, the scrum was dominant, all good from the tight five, 7.5 out of 10.
The commentary team, sorry boys, 4 out of 10, need to focus more on rugby and less on your aspirations for broadcast school and admiration for american sports. The halftime interview was probably their best moment.
The CRC, it's not professional by a long shot, it's not going to get Canadian rugby where it wants to go but the Bears did well today, kudos to the players and coaches, you gave your rugby career aspirations a shot in the arm for sure. Photos by pjCARRimages (with photographer's notes)
Taitusi Vikalani on the rampage all game
Phil Mack makes a cheeky break setting up Brock Staller for a try
Tusi Vikalani scores on initial movement despite fellow BLRC comrade Lucas Albornoz denial
Anton Ngongo in full flight
Starting Lineups Announced for Tonight's Match: Bears v Wolf Pack
posted July 14 2017
[ed. comments below]
This is supposed to represent the best rugby talent in BC and Alberta, in reality it's the best of those that made themselves available. Some players may be injured, some have work commitments, some may be taking a summer break, some may be thinking of sevens. There's no sign of Connor Braid, Gordon McRorie, Jorden Sandover-Best, Clint Lemkus, Nick Blevins, etc.
The value in these games is seeing how the young players match up against the veterans, and there are a lot of age 30+ players in the two rosters. How will young Vikilani match up against Panga at #8? He has looked good in Burnaby colours but never really shone in rep rugby. How about Nakai Penny against the veteran Kyle Gilmour at openside, both hoping to impress the coach and get a spot on the fall tour.
There's no Mack v McRorie battle but the unknown (in BC) figure of Jake Robinson gets to make a statement playing against a legend of the game. How will Harjun Gill do with a starting #10 role, he's up against Povey who has already had a shot at the senior team. Bowd and Samson against du Toit and Barton. There's lots of good match ups in this game.
The CRC is never going to make Canadian rugby better regardless of what Rugby Canada says, blind reliance on it to fulfill that role is part of the reason why Canada has slid so far behind other countries. It is however a very good selection tool, a chance to see key match ups and to give young players a larger stage to perform on and see how they handle pressure. If it's played in that spirit hopefully it will be an entertaining match.
The match kicks off at 7pm, the live stream on bcrugby.com/bc-rugby-live-streaming/
Bears Annnounce Squad for Friday Match vs Prairie Wolf Pack
posted July 11 2017
Vancouver, BC - BC Rugby is proud to announce the BC Bears squad ahead of their first match in the 2017 Canadian Rugby Championships, sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures. Canadian and BC stalwarts Phil Mack, Anthony Luca and Jake Illnicki will be leading a squad balanced with young talent and experienced hands against the Prairie Wolf Pack at Thunderbird Stadium this Friday. As the only home game in the competition, The BC Bears are keen to make the most of the home field advantage before the tournament moves to Calgary in August.
The new-look squad, under the direction of Head Coach, Tony Healy of James Bay AA, will be keen to get off to a winning start and make amends for last year. The opening match of the 2016 CRC witnessed a closely fought game against Prairie Wolf Pack, with victory stolen from the Bears in the closing moments. Seven players that started that match are present this year, including Giusseppe DuToit, Doug Fraser, Andrew Lackner, Anthony Luca, Craig McLaughlin, Jordan Reid-Harvey and Brock Staller.
New additions to this year's line-up include George Barton and Anton N’Gongo who both starred in Canada's U20 Men’s qualifying victory over the USA in Edmonton this June. Joining them are Paul Ahn, Luke Campbell, Neil Courtney, Harjun Gill, Jake Ilnicki, Travis Larsen, Phil Mack, Aaron McLelland, Mike Nieuwenhuysen, Nakai Penny, Cam Polson, Gavin Rowell, Taitusi Vikilani and Connor Weyell.
Canada Senior Men's Team players Ilnicki, Mack and Luca will bring an extra element of experience and composure to the squad off the back of the test series games against Romania, Georgie and USA last month. With a further five players hailing from the BC Rugby Men's Premier League 2017 Champions, UBC Thunderbirds, there is no question that the squad is well equipped to deal with the pressure and expectation building ahead of the match.
Senior Manager of Rugby Growth & Development at BC Rugby, Dean Murten, struck a positive tone stating, "I am excited to see how the BC Bears perform in the 2017 CRC. They started the season well with a good performance against a Canadian Tyee team in May, and they've been putting the work in to ensure they are well prepared for a high tempo match."
Murten went on to say, "The team has a good balance of youth, and experience. We know the Wolfpack will play a direct physical game and we're all very excited to get this season off to a great start."
UBC Thunderbird Stadium will be the venue for this much-anticipated match, with kick off at 7.00pm (PDT). Tickets are available at the gate from 6pm at just $12 for adults and free for minors (please bring valid High School ID).
For those that can’t make it to the venue, the game will be live streamed at bcrugby.com/bc-rugby-live-streaming/.
After this opening match, the CRC tournament will shift to Calgary, with the remaining games being played from August 13-19 at Rugby Park.
BC Bears vs. Prairie Wolf Pack
2017 Canadian Rugby Championship, sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures
Thunderbird Stadium - UBC
Friday, July 14, 7pm Kickoff
Tickets at the Gate from 6pm
BC Bears’ Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule
Bears vs. Wolf Pack — July 14 — 7pm PDT
Bears vs. Rock — Aug 13 — 3pm MDT/2pm PDT
Bears vs. Blues — Aug 16 — 5pm MDT/4pm PDT
3rd Place Playoff — Aug 19 — 5pm MDT/4pm PDT
CRC Final — Aug 19 — 7pm MDT/6pm PDT
BC Bears' Squad vs. Prairie Wolf Pack
Paul Ahn UBC Thunderbirds Vancouver, BC
George Barton ASM Clermont-Ferrand Duncan, BC
Luke Campbell James Bay AA Victoria, BC
Neil Courtney UBC Thunderbirds Vancouver, BC
Giusseppe DuToit UVIC Vikes Victoria, BC
Doug Fraser Castaway Wanderers RFC Victoria, BC
Harjun Gill UBCOB Ravens RFC Vancouver, BC
Jake Ilnicki Castaway Wanderers RFC Victoria, BC
Andrew Lackner Burnaby Lake RFC Pitt Meadows, BC
Travis Larsen James Bay AA Victoria, BC
Anthony Luca Burnaby Lake RFC Pitt Meadows, BC
Phil Mack James Bay AA Victoria, BC
Craig McLaughlin Burnaby Lake RFC Burnaby, BC
Aaron McLelland UBCOB Ravens RFC Vancouver, BC
Anton N'Gongo Castaway Wanderers RFC Victoria, BC
Mike Nieuwenhuysen James Bay AA Victoria, BC
Nakai Penny UBC Thunderbirds Comox, BC
Cam Polson Castaway Wanderers RFC Victoria, BC
Jordan Reid-Harvey Capilano RFC Vancouver, BC
Gavin Rowell UVIC Vikes RFC Abbotsford, BC
Brock Staller UBC Thunderbirds Vancouver, BC
Taitusi Vikilani Burnaby Lake RFC Burnaby, BC
Connor Weyell UBC Thunderbirds Vancouver, BC
Tony Healy Head Coach Victoria, BC
Phil Mack Assistant Coach Victoria, BC
Des Lynch Manager/Mental Skills Coach Vancouver, BC
Monique Charbonneau Therapist Vancouver, BC