Bears Win MacTier Cup in One Point Thriller: Coaches Thank Community for Support
First of all congratulations to the players and coaches who put in a massive effort to represent the province in their off season. They've been playing rugby solid since last September and the new season is just a few weeks away. It's a lot of work and commitment and to see it pay off with a national championship makes it sweeter for everyone involved.
Phil Mack the player/coach summed it up nicely in his tweet.
The same sentiment was echoed by head coach Tony Healy.
It starts with the clubs who nurture the players, some from youth, some as later arrivals. Then the regional games in May that provide a link from the BC club season to the CRC summer season. The regional games which culminate in the McKechnie Cup nearly didn't get off this year, many years in recent history they've been cancelled completely. The regions help recruit the players who are willing to play beyond club season. This year the South Island Tide, North Island Tsunami and Vancouver Tyee provided that structure. It was a huge effort by Curry Hitchborn and Rick Bourne to put together the Vancouver Tyee which provided a three team competition and a pathway for mainland players. All these steps were important to support the coaching staff of Tony Healy and Phil Mack, and they delivered.
As for the game it delivered on drama and entertainment although sometimes coming up short on execution and skills. The match report and timeline is listed below.
Focusing on individuals, who raised their profile for national honours in the match? Phil Mack had one of his quieter games in the tournament but his leadership came through strong, he made key plays at key times that kept the game always within reach. Mike Nieuwenhuysen who scored two tries showed what he can do when he fine tunes his running angles and timing. He's a big unit with potential but hasn't shown the full impact until this match. Travis Larsen won man of the match honours, he puts in lot of work around the contact area and is a jackal threat at the breakdown.
There's no point going into the deficiences like the lineout as the team will go into hibernation for a year with the BC club season on the horizon for another cycle. This is all about enjoying the moment and basking in the national championship during the last few weeks of summer sun.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS from Rugby Canada
CALGARY – The BC Bears won the MacTier Cup for the first time since 2009, as they beat the Ontario Blues 30-29 in a thrilling Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) final Saturday at Calgary Rugby Park.
After the Bears Mike Nieuwenhuysen scored a 73rd-minute try to put the Bears ahead 30-24, the Blues came roaring right back, with Peter Milazzo scoring with just a few minutes remaining to put the game on the boot of Andrew Ferguson.
However, a conversion attempt from just inside the sideline sailed wide.
After going five years without a win against the Blues, the BC contingent earned back-to-back victories over Ontario to cap this year’s CRC campaign. BC finished the CRC with a 4-0 record, including wins over the Prairie Wolf Pack and Atlantic Rock. On Wednesday, the Bears edged the Blues 34-31.
Nieuwenhuysen finished with two tries for the Bears, while Karsten Leitner added one. Flyhalf Giuseppe Du Toit put up 15 points, including three penalties and three conversions.
Blues scrumhalf Ferguson finished the game with two tries and two conversions, while Josh Campbell, Rory McDonell and Milazzo also found the try line.
After trailing by as many as nine points, 19-10, early in the second half, the Bears put up 13 straight points to take a four-point lead and set up a back-and-forth final 20 minutes.
Nieuwenhuysen got the offence rolling for BC in the first half when he scored in the sixth minute and, with Du Toit converting, the Bears held an early seven-point lead. However, the Blues responded with back-to-back converted tires, first from Campbell and then McDonell to go ahead 14-7.
A 24th-minute penalty from Du Toit rounded out the first-half scoring with BC trailing the Blues 14-10.
Early in the second half, Ferguson put the Blues ahead by nine when he scored his first try of the evening and seemingly gave Ontario key piece of momentum.
But on the strength of the boot of Du Toit, the Bears forced their way back into the match. After the Du Toit had missed penalty attempts just prior to and just after the half, he slotted consecutive penalties from well out to put the Bears within three points, 19-16.
With BC clawing momentum back, Leitner took advantageous of a fortuitous bounce and ran in untouched to put the Bears ahead. A kick forward from Du Toit took a friendly hop into Leitner’s hands and the Blues were caught with their feet in the mud.
The pendulum swung back Ontario’s way when Ferguson punched in his second try of the half, but inside the final 10 minutes Nieuwenhuysen scored and Du Toit converted what would prove to be the winning points.
A well-timed grubber from Ferguson sent Milazzo in for his try in the 75th minute.
The Blues had entered the contest looking for their sixth CRC title in the last seven years. Since, a run of four consecutive titles for the Ontario outfit, there have been three different CRC champions, including the Prairie Wolf Pack (2015), the Blues (2016) and now the Bears (2017).
Tries: Nieuwenhuysen (2), Leitner (1)
Conversions: Du Toit (3)
Penalties: Du Toit (3)
Tries: Ferguson (2), Campbell (1), McDonell (1), Milazzo (1)
Conversions: Ferguson (2)
BC – Try – Mike Nieuwenhuysen – 5’
BC – Conversion – Giuseppe DuToit – 6’
ON – Try – Josh Campbell – 10’
ON – Conversion – Andrew Ferguson – 10’
ON – Try – Rory McDonell – 18’
ON – Conversion – Andrew Ferguson – 19’
BC – Penalty – Giuseppe DuToit – 23’
ON – Try – Andrew Ferguson – 43’
BC – Penalty – Giuseppe DuToit – 49’
BC – Penalty – Giuseppe DuToit – 53’
BC – Try – Karsten Leitner – 56’
BC – Conversion – Giuseppe DuToit – 57’
ON – Try – Andrew Ferguson – 64’
BC – Try – Mike Nieuwenhuysen – 73’
BC – Conversion – Giuseppe Du Toit – 74’
ON – Try – Peter Milazzo – 75’
Preview of MacTier Cup Final BC vs Ontario at 6pm PT
The Bears have run into some injury problems and absences for other reasons. They're missing seven players from their first match vs the Wolf Pack back in July. They lost three players at the Calgary tournament alone with McClelland, Staller and now Sean Ferguson failing a late fitness test. That has meant some last minute alterations to the roster. Harjun Gill is taken from #10 and moved to #15, Guiseppe du Toit moves from centre to #10 and Doug Fraser comes into the centres.
On paper Ontario look stronger and have more capped players, their front row of Brouwer, Howard, Dolezel are all capped, for BC only Loosehead Anthony Luca is capped. Plus add in Ontario #8 Lucas Rumball with 12 caps. In the halfbacks BC has the advantage with Mack and Guiseppe du Toit gaining caps for Canada. Phil Mack at 41 caps is the most decorated player on the field and really his presence is why BC have got this far undefeated. The back three for Ontario are all capped players Moor, McDonell and Lloyd, BC will have their hands full on the outside.
In order for BC to win the match Phil Mack will have to be at his creative best and stay on the field for the full 80. The forwards will have to play at full intensity for a full 80, something that has eluded them in Calgary so far. The backline will have to contain the dangerous Ontario outside threats. Kainoa Lloyd single handedly put Ontario back in the match last game with a solo effort beating several BC defenders. Guiseppe du Toit at #10 will have to rise to his best match to control the tempo of the game and force the game to be played in Ontario's half.
The game kicks off at 6pm PT and will be shown on the Rugby Canada facebook page.
1. Anthony Luca ©
2. Andrew Lackner
3. Noah Barker
4. Craig McLaughlin
5. Connor Weyell
6. Travis Larsen
7. Kevin Leask
8. Dustin Dobravsky
9. Phil Mack
10. Guiseppe du Toit
11. Karsten Leitner
12. Mike Nieuwenhuysen
13. Doug Fraser
14. Kimi Vunituraga
15. Harjun Gill
16. Paul Ahn
17. Blake Van Henigan
18. Neil Courtney
19. Cam Polson
20. Jordan Reid-Harvey
21. Riley di Nardo
22. Gavin Rowell
23 Reid Watkins
1 Rob Brouwer (capt.)
2 Eric Howard
3 Tom Dolezel
4 Hank McQueen
5 Mike Sheppard
6 Marcello Wainwright
7 Peter Milazzo
8 Lucas Rumball
9 Andrew Ferguson
10 Shawn Windsor
11 Dan Moor
12 Mitch Richardson
13 Josh Campbell
14 Kainoa Lloyd
15 Rory McDonell
16 Andrew Wilson
17 Pat Lynott
18 AJ Quattrin
19 Paul Ciulin
20 Seb Pearson
21 Mario van der Westhuizen
22 Kyle Lagasca
23 Johnny Sheridan
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.
MATCH VIDEO 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
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
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