Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) Dates Announced for 2018: July 27th to August 26th
The CRC kicks off this year under a slightly revised format. Last year BC hosted the Wolfpack then all the teams converged on Calgary to finish up the tournament over 3 matches. BC ended up playing all the teams before meeting Ontario for a second time in the final. BC won it all last year.
This year BC will do a home and away with the Wolfpack before all teams converge again on Calgary. This time however it's West 1 v East 2 and East 1 v West 2 in the semis and then the finals. It's possible BC won't play both eastern teams this year depending on the semi-final result.
In 2016 teams travelled across the country with BC playing Atlantic in Newfoundland. Money might be a factor in adopting this format as Rugby Canada seem to be struggling with funding these days so the regional play and a 2 match final tournament seems more viable.
There's no overlap with MLR as that ends July 7th so players should be available for the CRC.
With Canada's current form it would seem a prime chance for players to get a shot at the national team as the incumbents haven't been getting the job done.
The November repechage will be the focus for the men's XVs team. In 2016 after the CRC, Canada A took a tour to the UK to play Doncaster, Ulster and Glasgow. Seeing as head coach Kingsley Jones has already displayed a propensity for UK travel with the Oxford trip before Uruguay, might there be a European tour between CRC and November? Time will tell.
As for the BC team, last year Tony Healy and Phil Mack were the coaching duo that led BC to glory after a number of lean years. That winning leadership have moved on to Seattle Seawolves so who will lead the team this year? Names we've heard are Dean Murten head coach, Angel Cividanes forwards coach and Scott Manning backs coach but that hasn't been officially confirmed yet. from Rugby Canada
“The CRC is an important part of the pathway to the senior men’s program,” said Canada’s senior men’s head coach Kingsley Jones. "In recent years players have been given the opportunity to play test match rugby through being identified and excelling in Canada's top domestic competition. This year, as we build towards the repechage tournament in November, building depth through high level competition is essential and I look forward to working with all the regions to develop players.”
This year’s edition will see a home-and-away series between the East (Ontario Blues & Atlantic Rock) and West (Prairie Wolf Pack & BC Bears) teams in their respective regions between July 27th to August 10th before all four sides round out the tournament at the Calgary Rugby Union. The semi-finals will take place on August 23rd before the finals on the 26th.
“It will be great to return to Calgary again for the CRC after their tremendous hospitality during the 2015 and 2017 editions of the tournament,” said Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada Interim GM. “The critically important Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage tournament is fast approaching and the CRC is the opportunity for domestic players to be seen in regional competition."
The BC Bears are the defending CRC champions after an exciting one-point victory over the five-time MacTier Cup Champions Ontario Blues last August in Calgary. Ontario, winners of the tournament in 2011-14 & 2016, hold the record with five national titles while the Bears (2) are in second and The Rock and Wolf Pack each lifting the title once.
Broadcast details, as well as kickoff times and venues, for all matches will be confirmed in the coming months.
2018 CRC Senior Men
July 27th, 2018 – BC Bears vs. Prairie Wolfpack @ Calgary, AB, venue: Calgary Rugby Park
August 4th, 2018 – Ontario Blues vs. Atlantic Rock @ Montreal, QC, Venue TBD
August 7th, 2018 – Atlantic Rock vs. Ontario Blues @ Toronto, ON, Venue TBD
August 10th, 2018 – Prairie Wolfpack vs. BC Bears @ Vancouver, BC, venue: UBC
(Semi-Final 1) August 23rd, 2018 – East 1 vs. West 2 @ Calgary, AB, venue: Calgary Rugby Park
(Semi-Final 2) August 23rd, 2018 – West 1 vs. East 2 @ Calgary, AB, venue: Calgary Rugby Park
(3rd Place) August 26th, 2019 – Loser SF 1 vs. Loser SF 2 @ Calgary, AB, venue: Calgary Rugby Park
(Final) August 26th, 2019 – Winner SF 1 vs. Winner SF 2 @ Calgary, AB, venue: Calgary Rugby Park
Previous MacTier Cup Winners:
2017 – BC Bears
2016 – Ontario Blues
2015 – Prairie Wolf Pack
2014 – Ontario Blues
2013 – Ontario Blues
2012 – Ontario Blues
2011 – Ontario Blues
2010 – Atlantic Rock
2009 – BC Bears