BC Bears at CRC Tournament 2017

August 16 2017

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BC Bears Hang on to Win After Second Half Collapse: 31-0 HT - 34-31 FT

BC narrowly avoided an embarrassing loss after an epic 2nd half collapse. BC went into the break ahead 31-0 and then saw Ontario score 31 of their own in the second half, BC managed one penalty in the second half to secure the win. Ontario appeared to score a try at the whistle but the last pass was adjudged to be forward.

The difference again is when Phil Mack came off, Mack took himself off the field at half time presumably to see how the team would perform without his leadership, the answer is clear, not very well.

At this point national selectors are watching the games asking the question, "who would fit into the Canada team, who would be an asset in defeating Uruguay"? You want players who show they are clinical, make an impact when they come in, can play a full 80 if necessary, are good decision makers, are not a liability with poor execution and decision making, make their tackles... the list goes on. The incumbents have an edge, newcomers have to show more.

Who caught our eye? Aaron McLelland at fullback is slick, scoring two tries in the first half and making some line breaks. He's a little frivolous with the ball sometimes however, with behind the back passes, great showmen but can make you cringe with some of his decisions around ball security. It may be a moot point however as his Canada eligibility is still on the horizon as far as we know. Phil Mack, of course, best player for BC, a certainty for Canada one would think. The loose forwards seemed to tire and lose intensity in the second half, the BC forwards as a whole were disappointing in the second half. Anthony Luca had some good set pieces and won a key penalty from the scrum in the second half as well as putting some pressure on at the breakdown. Fitness in the off season may be an issue for some of the BC players and hopefully they'll be evaluated during the BC season starting in September.

Ontario started some of their best players off the bench and it showed. When Eric Howard, Rob Brouwer, Tom Dolezel, Lucas Rumball, Kainoa Lloyd came off the bench they made a huge impact. The turnaround started when Seb Pearson the Ontario #8 stole the ball at the breakdown, when the ball found its way to Kainoa Lloyd he was well behind the gain line with a BC loose forward hanging off of him. He brushed him aside, beat another forward and the wing and galloped down the field which eventually culminated with Ontario scoring their first try. After that it looked like Ontario had a couple more men on the field as BC started to tire and weren't able to keep their defensive structure. Dan Moor and Marcello Wainwright the blindside flanker also had strong games for Ontario.

The teams have a rematch on Saturday for the MacTier Cup.


from Rugby Canada

CALGARY – The BC Blues scored four first-half tries, building a 31-point lead, before hanging on against a hard-charging Ontario side for a 34-31 win in Round 3 of the Canadian Rugby Championship Wednesday at Calgary Rugby Park.

In a preview of the championship match on Saturday, it was a tale of two entirely different halves, with the Bears dominating the first 40 minutes, before the Blues responded with an impressive second half that saw them outscore BC 31-3.

For a moment, it looked like the Blues had pulled off a stunning comeback, with Ontario’s Andrew Coe touching down at the death, but the play was called back on a forward pass and the Bears earned their first win over the Blues in five years.

While the BC win was something of a statement victory, the contest was a battle of the backups, with both teams resting many of their starters in anticipation of Saturday’s final. With each team winning their first two matches, both teams entered Wednesday’s game having already secured a spot in the title tilt.

Ontario and BC will meet again Aug. 19 (9pm ET/6pm PT) for the MacTier Cup at Calgary Rugby Park.

“It’s difficult when you know you’re going to play them in a few days and do it all over again,” said Phil Mack, who is the Bears assistant coach and scrumhalf. “I thought we had a pretty good mindset going into it, but I guess it was a game of two halves. But right now, we’re 3-0 and BC hasn’t been in that position for a while and we’re going to enjoy the win tonight.”

Aaron McLelland led BC with two tries, while Mack and Craig McLaughlin also touched down for the Bears.

Marcello Wainwright and Andrew Wilson each scored twice for Ontario, while the Blues Dan Moor also found the try line.

Guisseppe Du Toit, who finished the game with 14 points, opened the scoring in the fifth minute, slotting a penalty to put BC up early on.

With momentum on their side, the try-scoring began for BC five minutes later when McLelland touched down. With du Toit knocking through the convert, the BC side was up 10-0.

The speedy McLelland scored again in the 16th minute, slipping through the Blues defence and racing around the outside for his second try of the afternoon.

The Blues found themselves in the sin bin midway through the first half, with both Moor (24th) and Mike Sheppard (31st minute) seeing yellow cards. BC took advantage, scoring twice before halftime, with Mack and McLaughlin both touching down and du Toit converting both.

Ontario’s Wainwright came out of the break with a purpose, scoring twice before the second half was 10 minutes old and, with a pair of conversions from Andrew Ferguson, the Blues closed the gap to 31-14.

The Blues offensive charge continued in the 62nd minute, with Wainwright sending Moor down flank with a beautiful offload, before the Ontario winger finished the job, getting his team within 12 points.

With a comeback attempt on the table, the Blues Wilson earned Ontario its fourth try of the half and after a Ferguson convert, the scoreline was just a five-point difference.

A du Toit penalty expanded the Bears lead to eight points and that would prove to be the difference in the contest. Wilson scored again just a few minutes before the full-time whistle, getting Ontario within three points, which set up a wild finish.

“There are a lot of the guys on the BC team that have been at this for a while and Ontario has obviously been a pretty strong team over the past decade or so,” Mack said. “To get that win means a lot to the guys, but at the end of the day, we need to get the big win in a few days, so that’s our focus now.”

The Blues have won five of the last six Canadian championships, while BC’s last title was in 2009.

Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule
July 14 – BC Bears 43 Prairie Wolf Pack 0
July 22 – Ontario Blues 24 Atlantic Rock 17
August 13 – Ontario Blues 45 Prairie Wolf Pack 22
August 13 – BC Bears 20 Atlantic Rock 13
August 16 – BC Bears 34 Ontario Blues 31
August 16 – Atlantic Rock vs. Prairie Wolf Pack – 9pm ET/6pm PT
August 19 – 3rd Place Match – 7pm ET/4pm PT
August 19 – Championship Game – 9pm ET/6pm PT

Canadian Rugby Championship – Rosters
Ontario Blues
1. Pat Lynott, Bytown Blues
2. Andrew Quattrin, Aurora Barbarians
3. Ryan Surgenor, Bytown Blues
4. Paul Ciulini, Aurora Barbarians
5. Mike Sheppard, Stoney Creek Camels
6. Marcello Wainwright, Toronto Saracens
7. Peter Milazzo, Toronto Saracens (captain)
8. Seb Pearson, London St. Georges
9. Mario Van Der Westhuizen, Guelph Redcoats
10. Mitch Richardson, Stoney Creek Camels
11. Dan Moor, Balmy Beach
12. Kyle Lagasca, Toronto Saracens
13. Andrew Coe, Markham Irish
14. Brandon McLeod, Aurora Barbarians
15. John Sheridan, Markham Irish
16. Eric Howard, Brantford Harlequins
17. Rob Brouwer, Lindsay RFC
18. Tom Dolezel, London St. Georges
19. Lucas Rumball, Balmy Beach
20. Andrew Wilson, Crusaders
21. Andrew Ferguson, Crusaders
22. Josh Campbell, London St. Georges
23. Kainoa Lloyd, Mississauga Blues

Chris Silverthorn - Head Coach
Cory Hector - Assistant Coach
Mark Winokur - Team Manager
Chris Kelly - Athletic Therapist
Rodin Lozada - Video Analyst
Dr. Chris Gallimore - Team Doctor

BC Bears
1. Blake Van Heyningen , James Bay AA
2. Paul Ahn, UBC Thunderbirds RFC
3. Noah Barker, James Bay AA
4. Craig McLaughlin, Burnaby Lake RFC
5. Shea Wakefield, James Bay AA
6. Tua Va'a, Westshore RFC
7. Kevin Leask, UVIC Vikes RFC
8. Travis Larsen, James Bay AA
9. Phil Mack, James Bay AA
10. Guisseppe du Toit, UVIC Vikes RFC
11. Karsten Leitner, UBC Thunderbirds RFC
12. Mike Nieuwenhuysen, James Bay AA
13. Doug Fraser, Castaway Wanderers RFC
14. Reid Watkins, Foothills Lions RFC
15. Aaron McLelland, UBCOB Ravens RFC
16. Andrew Lackner, Burnaby Lake RFC
17. Anthony Luca, Burnaby Lake RFC
18. Neil Courtney, UBC Thunderbirds RFC
19. Cam Polson, Castaway Wanderers RFC
20. Jordan Reid-Harvey, Capilano RFC
21. Gavin Rowell, UVIC Vikes RFC
22. Riley DiNardo, Castaway Wanderers RFC
23. Harjun Gill, UBCOB Ravens RFC
24. Dustin Dobravsky, Castaway Wanderers RFC
25. Kimi Vunituraga, Burnaby Lake RFC
26. Connor Weyell, UBC Thunderbirds RFC

Tony Healy - Head Coach
Phil Mack - Assistant Coach
Des Lynch - Manager/Mental Skills Coach

BC Coach Tony Healy Brings in Wholesale Changes for Match Versus Ontario Today at 4pm PT: LIVE NOW

BC Coach Tony Healy has brought in wholesale changes with only 5 backs retaining a starting role and the forwards completely changed. He's switched around the front rows so the James Bay pair of Noah Barker and Blake Van Heyningen start at prop with UBC's Paul Ahn at hooker. The Burnaby duo sit on the bench as reserves along with Neil Courtney. It's an interesting call, Barker usually plays loosehead for the Bays, he was worked over pretty well at tighthead by Clint Lemkus when Tyee played Tide in May. The Blues are also placing their big front row names on the reserve bench, Eric Howard, Rob Brouwer, Tom Dolezel so there could be a bit of a cat and mouse game here between coaches.

The second row and loose forwards are also new, with Craig McLaughlin and Shea Wakefield getting the start at locks. Tua Va'a, Kevin Leask and Travis Larsen start in the back row. Leask plays 2nd row for the Vikes but has been praised for his high work rate so this will be interesting to watch. Larsen could be in the running for the Canada #8 jersey if he shows well in the next two games. Missing is openside Nakai Penny, no word on his injury status.

In the halfbacks, Guiseppe du Toit comes back into the standoff position, he was in line for the Canada #10 role at one time but hasn't quite matured enough to take that on. It's good to test him again to see how his game management and decision making have progressed. Harjun Gill takes the bench as one of three backline replacements. Gill played well at #10 in the win over the Wolf Pack but didn't quite put his stamp on the game versus the Rock. Mack of course starts at #9.

The Tide pairing of Fraser and Nieuwenhuysen take the centre, not a bad combination, perhaps lacking a bit of speed but lots of go ahead power to break the gain line. Karsten Leitner keeps his wing position but due to a Brock Staller injury it looks like they grabbed someone local to fill in, Reid Watkins from Calgary, don't know much about him. Sean Ferguson is perhaps injured as well as he would be expected to fill the wing position behind Staller. Watkins was training behind Gordon McRorie at #9 for the Wolf Pack in 2014, so we'll see how this works out for BC. Riley DiNardo the Maple Leaf 7s player is one of the backline reserves.

Game time is 4pm PT and should be streamed live on Rugby Canada facebook page and/or sportscanada.tv/rugbycanada/

1 Blake Van Heyningen - James Bay AA
2 Paul Ahn - UBC Thunderbirds RFC
3 Noah Barker - James Bay AA
4 Craig McLaughlin - Burnaby Lake RFC
5 Shea Wakefield - James Bay AA
6 Tua Va'a - Westshore RFC
7 Kevin Leask - UVIC Vikes RFC
8 Travis Larsen - James Bay AA
9 Phil Mack - James Bay AA
10 Giuseppe du Toit - UVIC Vikes RFC
11 Karsten Leitner - UBC Thunderbirds RFC
12 Mike Nieuwenhuysen - James Bay AA
13 Doug Fraser - Castaway Wanderers RFC
14 Reid Watkins - Calgary, AB
15 Aaron McLelland - UBCOB Ravens RFC
16 Andrew Lackner - Burnaby Lake RFC
17 Anthony Luca - Burnaby Lake RFC
18 Neil Courtney - UBC Thunderbirds RFC
19 Cam Polson - Castaway Wanderers RFC
20 Jordan Reid-Harvey - Capilano RFC
21 Gavin Rowell - UVIC Vikes RFC
22 Riley DiNardo - Castaway Wanderers RFC
23 Harjun Gill - UBCOB Ravens RFC

BC Bears Defeat Atlantic Rock 20-13: MATCH VIDEO

The timeline is listed below along with the full match video. A summary would be that the match was not of the highest quality, either team. As we're constantly reminded by announcers and Rugby Canada, "this is the highest level of domestic rugby" and it's just not good enough.

Players on occasion were unable to execute basics like leading a player with a pass. Ball security was almost non-existent as teams traded penalties all afternoon for tackled player holding on as support was slow to arrive. Game management turned to panic once Phil Mack left the field for the Bears. Runners getting trundled into touch instead of stepping inside, just basic stuff you don't expect to see at this level.

Who impressed, Phil Mack as usual for the Bears, Dobravsky reads the game well but needs more bulk to be a legit international #8, Doug Fraser showed some class with the pass that setup the last BC try. The front row held their own and put a bit of pressure on the Rock scrum at times.

For the Rock, Jon Phelan was a menace to the BC lineout. Moe Abdelmonen who scored the final Rock try looks to be a physical player and worth another look. Charles Debove beat his man to setup a Rock try and always seemed to break the gainline.

As for the competition itself, no starting rosters published before the match, virtually no one in the stands, it's time to close the books on the CRC after this year and find something more professional to represent the "highest level of domestic rugby".


3 min: Neil Courtney scored early from a pass by Dustin Dobravsky. Conversion was missed, 5-0

12 min: The Rock were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, successful, 5-3

23 min: Brock Staller scores out wide after sustained pressure inside Rock 22. Conversion missed by du Toit. 10-3

30 min: Anthony Luca gets yellow card, Rock miss the easy penalty kick. 10-3

38 min: Guiseppe du Toit slots a penalty from 50 metres out, sails through. 13-3


65 min: Sean Ferguson scores out wide with the Rock under a Yellow card, du Toit converts, 20-3

68 min: Aaron McLelland gets a yellow

71 min: Charles Debove steps inside du Toit and rumbles downfield, sends wide pass to Brett Johnson who scores near the posts, conversion missed. 20-8

77 min: Rock score another, Moe Abdelmonen powers over a defender, conversion missed. 20-13


Bears Missing Four Starters for Calgary Tournament: 28 Players Named for Three Game Tournament Starting Sunday

BC will be missing four starters from their team that defeated Prairie Wolf Pack 43-0. Jake Ilnicki will be moving back to the UK to start another pro contract, details to follow. George Barton and Anton Ngongo will be in Uruguay with the Canada U20 team and #8 Taitusi Vikilani was found guilty of manslaughter two weeks ago.

The nine new players brought in include Dustin Dobravsky, Blake Van Heningen, Karsten Leitner, Kimi Vuratunuga, Noah Barker, Riley Di Nardo, Shea Wakefield, Kevin Leask and Tua Va'a.

BC's first game is Sunday against the Atlantic Rock at 2pm PT, streaming details to be provided closer to game time.

from BC Rugby Union

Vancouver, BC – Aug 10, 2017 – BC Rugby is proud to announce the BC Bears team ahead of their remaining matches in the 2017 Canadian Rugby Championships (CRCs), sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures. Lead by Canadian and BC stalwarts Phil Mack and Anthony Luca, the team has already secured one victory in this year’s championship and are looking for more. Rugby Park in Calgary will host the remaining matches between the 13th and 19th August, with BC keen to dethrone reigning champions Ontario Blues.

The BC Bears kicked off their CRC campaign with a comprehensive victory over Calgary Wolf Pack, winning 43-0 on home soil at UBC Thunderbird Stadium in front of a vocal crowd. They will now set their sights on overhauling Atlantic Rock on August 13th before a crunch match with 2016 champions Ontario Blues on August 16th. Standings after that match will dictate who will compete in the final, to be held on August 19th. The BC Bears haven’t laid their hands on the MacTier Cup, awarded to the CRC winners, since 2009. However, their performance in the opening match suggests this year’s team could well be in with a very real shout of the title this year.

After that opening match at UBC, BC Bears’ coach Tony Healy indicated there was still much work to be done in the buildup to these remaining games. The squad chosen to fly to Calgary contains 19 of the 23 players who took part in the first match. Included in that list are Brock Staller, who claimed a hat trick of tries against the Wolf Pack, catalytic scrum half Phil Mack and powerhouse Anthony Luca. New additions to the lineup include Dustin Dubrovsky, Blake Van Heningen, Karsten Laitner, Kimi Vuratunuga, Noah Barker, Rylie Darnardo, Shea Wakefield, Kevin Leask and Tua Va'a.

Canada Senior Men's Team players 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 in June. With a further seven 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 going into next week.

BC Bears’ Assistant Coach and player, Phil Mack, said he was looking forward to the challenge, stating, “We are excited to get to Calgary and compete. We are looking to build off the back of our first game and feel we have put ourselves in that position. The team have put a lot of work in and are eager to showcase what BC rugby is about. We know that if we stick to our processes that the results will take care of themselves.”

Those unable to travel to Calgary to see the action live can catch the game on live stream via Rugby Canada (details TBC). For up to date information on the CRCs tournament, check out the official site here.

BC Bears’ Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule

Bears 43 – 0 Wolf Pack July 14
Bears vs. Atlantic Rock Aug 13 3pm MDT/2pm PDT
Bears vs. Ontario 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

Paul Ahn Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC
Noah Barker Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Luke Campbell Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Neil Courtney Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC
Riley Di Nardo Victoria, BC Castaway Wanderers RFC
Dustin Dobravsky Victoria, BC Castaway Wanderers RFC
Giuseppe Du Toit Victoria, BC UVIC Vikes RFC
Doug Fraser Victoria, BC Castaway Wanderers RFC
Harjun Gill Vancouver, BC UBCOB Ravens RFC
Andrew Lackner Pitt Meadows, BC Burnaby Lake RFC
Karsten Leitner Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC
Travis Larsen Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Kevin Leask Victoria, BC UVIC Vikes RFC
Anthony Luca Pitt Meadows, BC Burnaby Lake RFC
Phil Mack Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Craig McLaughlin Burnaby, BC Burnaby Lake RFC
Aaron McLelland Vancouver, BC UBCOB Ravens RFC
Mike Nieuwenhuysen Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Nakai Penny Comox, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC
Cam Polson Victoria, BC Castaway Wanderers RFC
Jordan Reid-Harvey Vancouver, BC Capilano RFC
Gavin Rowell Abbotsford, BC UVIC Vikes RFC
Brock Staller Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC
Tua Va'a Victoria, BC Westshore RFC
Blake Van Heningen Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Kimi Vuratunuga Vancouver, BC Burnaby Lake RFC
Shea Wakefield Victoria, BC James Bay AA
Connor Weyell Vancouver, BC UBC Thunderbirds RFC

Tony Healy Head Coach
Phil Mack Assistant Coach
Des Lynch Manager/Mental Skills Coach

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