Canada vs BC XV 2007

August 12 2007

Canada's Ed Fairhurst
© Hugh Jervis

Canada Coast to a 38-3 Victory Over a BC XV but Lack Second-Half Burners

[ed. hopefully we'll have a full match report by Ben Buan later on. Also we'll have a few video clips including a post-game interview with NSMT assistant coach, John Tait.]
posted Aug 12 2007

Leading by a score of 26-3 at half, many pundits thought that the final score would hit 60, after all the Canada team had superior fitness and that's what the better teams do, run you down in the first half and then hit the gas in the second half. But it didn't happen. Canada only scored two tries in the second half and BC upped the tempo of their game, tackling ferociously for a full 80 minutes.

It was unlike the 1999 pre-world cup meeting between these teams where BC lead 13-12 at the half and Canada hit the gas in the second half, winning 50-13. How this bodes for the upcoming 2007 world cup starting next month is difficult to say. Canada have two more games, one against Portugal, and the other versus the Rock to prove their ability to bury a team in the second half.

The game had some niggle to it as players were trying to make a point about making the team or being left off it. The crowd estimate would be about 2,000.

Starting Lineups for Saturday's match at UBC: BC XV vs Canada: UPDATE Ben Buan analyzes the starting matchups

by Ben Buan
posted August 10 2007

A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.
Charles M. Schwab

Coach Ian Hyde-Lay announced his starting XV and reserves for Saturday’s big match against a Canada squad that it would be no surprise to see inked into the game sheet for the WC opener against Wales. “ A match against a first choice Canada XV just weeks away from the World Cup is just a wonderful opportunity for all of us” said Hyde-Lay.

Enthusiasm should be at record levels on the BC squad as they relish the chance to test their skills, fitness and attitude against the best the NSMT selectors have decided upon to contest this World Cup. If they can achieve even some small measure of the success on the rugby pitch that Mr. Schwab did in the financial world, there will be many happy faces in the BC locker room after Saturday afternoon’s clash.

Four years ago this same match yielded a 52-7 win for Canada and this group of BC players is convinced it can put up a much better showing, even though by all accounts Canada’s squad this year is several steps advanced in terms of skill and fitness from the 2003 squad. Hyde-Lay is keeping close to his chest the expectations he has placed on the players, as he should, but he stressed that “the squad has made a great deal of progress in the past two days, and is very much looking forward to Saturday’s game. The attitude and the work ethic of all the players has been terrific”.

It appears from his starting XV that the form players are those who benefited from the NA4 competition as 12 of his starters were participants in at least one leg of that competition and most of them all three legs. It might be interesting to look at the positional match-ups and do some handicapping.

Front Row

1. Canada: Tkachuk (Glasgow) - BC: Emil Christensen (Bayside)
2. Canada: Pat Riordan (Burnaby) - BC: Mark Lawson (Velox)
3. Canada: Jon Thiel (Bayside) - BC: Mauro Perizollo (Burnaby)

Canada: Scott Franklin (CW) and Dan Pletch
BC: Joe Scale (Meraloma)

Hooker: The front row presents some intriguing match-ups starting at hooker where the discarded Mark Lawson faces up against Canada’s top-ranked hooker Pat Riordan. There are no secrets left between these two as they have faced each other for years in the BC Premiership and have been team-mates on Canada squads and most recently in the opening round of the NA4. The 6’1” and 245 pound Riordan is more imposing physically than the 6’0”, 225 pound Lawson which should give him an advantage in the set pieces. Lawson “runs like a dog” as one team-mate put it a few years ago, never seeming to tire and leading to the breakdown with regularity. Riordan has worked hard in the past year on his line-out work which previously had been a weakness. I see little to choose between these two and would rank them as even if odds-making. If and when Aaron Carpenter enters the game, I would give the edge to Lawson as despite his impressive physical attributes, Carpenter is still learning the position.


Props: The first mismatch in favour of Canada appears to be with loosehead Tkachuk facing up against 19 year old Mauro Perizollo at tighthead for BC. Young Perizollo looks like a great prospect for the future and is an imposing physical specimen for a man his age, but he should expect to learn some lessons from the intelligent and highly experienced Glasgow professional, Tkachuk.


The other front row clash will be between the venerable Jon Thiel at tighthead for Canada, easily one of the nicest and most polite men one could hope to meet and his Bayside mate in the CDI, Emil Christensen at loosehead for BC. Christensen’s rapid advancement up the depth chart in the past season has much to do with his association with Thiel and he will be highly motivated to try to one-up his mentor.

In relief Canada has Scott Franklin at tight-head and Dan Pletch at loose-head along with Aaron Carpenter at hooker while BC counters with only one front row player in Joe Scale of the Meraloma, This could be a crucial edge in the last 20 minutes as one of the BC props must play the full 80 minutes. The prospect of facing a fresh Franklin and Pletch could be daunting.


Second Row

Canada 4: Mike James (Stade Francais – ret’d) - BC 4: Tyler Hotson (UBC)
Canada 5: Jamie Cudmore (Claremont-Auvergne) - BC 5: Aidan Buan (Meraloma)

Probably the biggest mismatch appears at second row with Canada’s pairing of Mike James and Jamie Cudmore, Stade Francais and Claremont-Auvergne opponents respectively in the French league final, lined up against Tyler Hotson of UBC T-Birds and Aidan Buan of the Meraloma. Only 22, Hotson has aspirations to become a professional rugby player and to some day represent his country at the senior level, something he has done at the U-19 and U-21 level. It will be a great test of where he stands in his goal-seeking for him to have the opportunity to face James and Cudmore. Twenty-six year old Buan can count nine of the starting XV and four of the Canada reserves as former team-mates at the club or representative level, but it will be his first time on the field with both James and Cudmore. Buan played a season for Northern Suburbs in Sydney and has had a taste of the higher pace and skill level of Super 14 players. He also has a mean streak inherited from his mother’s side of the family. These two may have to have the games of their lives not to be totally outshone by the experienced professional duo of James and Cudmore.

Reserves: Canada has Mike Burak ready in the wings. The Pau professional doubtlessly is pleased at his decision to give up varsity basketball 5 years ago to concentrate on rugby. For BC, 21 year old Mike MacKay a St. George’s product and University of Victoria club member waits to come on in relief of one of the starters at lock. The 6’6” and 250 pound red-head hopes one day to play for Canada and professionally.


Back Row

Colin Yukes, Stan McKeen and Sean Michael Stephen comprise an imposing triumvirate inserted by Canada assistant coach John Tait. Facing them will be Adam Van Staveren a veteran of the last world cup, Neil Meechan a rising star from U Vic and Tom McKeen, Stan’s younger brother and another U Vic stalwart. The Canada trio is bigger and probably faster at the flanker spots. McKeen and Yukes can wear down opponents with their hard inside running and add considerable muscle to the Canada pack in the set pieces and rolling mauls.

If Van Staveren has maintained his fitness over the summer break he will have a positive influence for BC at the breakdown and generally as a distraction with his up-tempo, in your face style of play. Meechan plays much the same style as his U Vic teammate and Canada player Adam Kleeberger. Sean Michael Stephen has made great strides in the past year and now appears poised to be one of Canada’s most dynamic players. He will be easily recognized with his flowing locks and Tom McKeen will have to be at his best if he wishes to contain Stephen who loves to run with the ball.

Reserves: Canada: Mike Webb - BC: Christophe Strubin, Seamus Gay

Webb is expected to see a lot of action off the bench and he will want to repeat the sterling performance he most recently exhibited against the NZ U-21 squad on the NZ tour in order to cement his place on the final 30 man squad. BC counters with the talented but perhaps rusty Christophe Strubin, a fixture on the Canada Sevens squad for some years and Seamus Gay from Castaway Wanderers a versatile loose forward or centre.



9. Canada: Morgan Williams (Albi) - BC: Pat Fleck (Meraloma)
10: Canada: Ryan Smith (Montauban) - BC: Jeff Williams (JBAA)

Canada: Ed Fairhurst (Cornish Pirates) - BC: Sean White (JBAA)

Canada starts its top duo of Morgan Williams and Ryan Smith against BC’s Pat Fleck and Jeff Williams. I am not certain how much history of rivalry exists between the Williams brothers but such match ups usually provide an extra element of intensity. Fleck is one of two BC players on the non-travelling reserve list, ranked as a surprise to many in 4th place at the scrum half position. Morgan Williams and Fleck play similar styles, eager to run the tap and go and maintain a high pace of action wherever possible. Ryan Smith seems to have overcome his problems with kicking from hand at the #10 spot and his defensive skills and physicality moulded in his years as a centre makes him an imposing player at outside half. Jeff Williams is a chatterbox and firebrand on the field but he and Fleck have had little recent playing time together so they will have to use all their experience to create offensive opportunities for BC.

Canada has the luxury of bringing in the exciting and highly experienced Ed Fairhurst at halfback, while BC can counter with the young and up-and-coming Sean White of James Bay AA. White was recently singled out by John MacMillan former Canada assistant coach and Crimson Tide coach as a skilled young player with much potential.



11. Canada: James Pritchard (Bedford) - BC: Kris Witkowski (CW, Canada Reserve)
14. Canada: Justin Mensah-Coker (Albi) - BC: Tony LaCarte (CW, Canada Reserve)

Pritchard appears to be one of the premier goal kickers in all of rugby and will be a key to Canada’s success in the World Cup if they are to have any chance at advancing to the quarterfinals. Mensah-Coker after a break through season in 2006 has emerged as one of the most explosive wingers Canada has ever produced. His pace combined with his size makes him a constant threat. BC counters with two players who are on the reserve list and could still be called upon to represent Canada should injuries befall the starters.
Witkowski had an uneven showing in the NA4, scoring some brilliant tries but also showing some handling and defensive deficiencies. The hirsute La Carte can play wing or centre and in the final leg of the NA4 showed the kind of pace and power that will be needed on Saturday afternoon.

Reserves: James Potter (UBC OB), Shawn Mercier (Meraloma) and Ben Trevorrow UBCOB)

Not a lot to choose on the reserve bench as these three are all young and future stars.



12. Canada: David Spicer (U Vic) - BC: Bryn Keys (Abbotsford)
13. Canada: Craig Culpan (Meraloma) - BC: Akio Tyler (Capilano)

Reserves: Canada: Nick Trenkel - BC: Matt Evans

The Canada combination of Spicer and Culpan has been one of the most satisfying combinations in the work up to the World Cup. Both highly intelligent players, Spicer features more of the powerful inside running augmented by superb kicking from either side while Culpan has that ghostly gliding style of running based on great vision and superb lines of attack. Both are sure tacklers as they demonstrated with frequency in the All Blacks match where they had plenty of practice. Trenkel is the second youngest member of the Canada squad and brings a great attacking style coupled with solid defending.

BC counters with Abbotsford’s Bryn Keys, a player who cannot be much separated from the pack based on skill and tenacity and Akio Tyler. Tyler was a highly regarded centre a few years back before focusing more on Sevens play and having to deal with injuries. He will be excited about getting back onto the field against Canada’s senior squad. In support BC has young Matt Evans the Cowichan product who played last season in the UK after graduating from high school.



15: Canada: Mike Pyke (Montauban) - BC: Phil Mack (JBAA)

Pyke is one of the players many thought should have been at the 2003 World Cup and from his play for Canada since then he has his sights firmly set on making an impact in France. His exciting long distance try against the All-Blacks and his reserved and understated reaction thereafter has earned him fame on the internet with the Mike Pyke Nonchalant Try Scoring Award handed out by the East Terrace RFC in Wales. BC can only hope he doesn’t get a chance to repeat his remarkable sangfroid on Saturday afternoon. Opposing him is the diminutive Phil Mack for JBAA. Mack is a veritable water bug once he gets the ball, but it is difficult to imagine how he will manage defensively if confronted one on one with the much larger Canada backline.


Unsurprisingly, Canada is the overwhelming favourite going into this match. Nevertheless, BC has a solid core of experienced players. Hyde-Lay has placed the emphasis “on the execution of basic skills, which, it goes without saying, will be critical against such powerful opposition. Likewise, he added, our set piece work must be of a consistently high standard”.

If Hyde-Lay can inspire his team to play an intense and focused game and if the fitness gap between the mostly professional Canada side and the fully amateur BC side is not too great, then fans should be entertained by a hotly contested and not overly one-sided and perhaps even memorable contest in which hands will have been raised by players from both squads.

[ed. Canada are putting out a strong lineup, quite likely their starting lineup for the world cup so BC will have huge task ahead of them. It should be an entertaining game and we hope to have a few goal area video clips of tries scored by both teams]

posted Aug 10 2007


1. Tkachuk, Kevin Glasgow Warriors (SCO)
2. Riordan, Pat Burnaby Lake
3. Thiel, Jon Bayside
4. James, Mike Stade Francais
5. Cudmore, Jamie Clermont-Auvernge
6. Yukes, Colin Agen
7. McKeen, Stan Cornish Pirates
8. Stephen, Sean-Michael Beziers
9. Williams, Morgan (c) Albi
10. Smith, Ryan Montauban
11. Pritchard, James Bedford
12. Spicer, David University of Victoria
13. Culpan, Craig Meraloma
14. Mensah-Coker, Justin Albi
15. Pyke, Mike Montauban
16. Carpenter, Aaron Brantford
17. Franklin, Scott Castaway Wanderers
18 Pletch, Dan Oakville Crusaders
19. Burak, Mike Pau
20. Webb, Mike Vancouver Rowing Club
21. Fairhurst, Ed Cornish Pirates
22. Trenkel, Nick Capilano




BC Selects Named to Face NSMT on Saturday, August 11th: Ben Buan Analyzes the BC Selections

by Ben Buan
posted Aug 6 2007

The BCRU is to be commended for setting aside the resources to provide the BC Selects with a three day training camp in Vancouver in preparation for their Saturday afternoon match against the NSMT as it kicks off it pre-World Cup tour across Canada.

Coaches Ian Hyde-Lay and Gareth Rees with the able assistance of the irrepressible Des Lynch as team manager, Isobel Grondin, therapist, BCRU Development Manager Dave Brown and team doctor Peet du Toit, will gather their 25-man squad together Wednesday afternoon at UBC. They will train Wednesday evening, Thursday morning and afternoon and Friday evening with all sessions at UBC Wolfson Field. The Vancouver Island based players and staff members will stay at UBC while the Vancouver team members will join them for training, team meetings and outings.

BC will have one advantage not available to the BC Selects side that faced Canada in advance of the last World Cup, in that 14 of the players on this team participated in some or all of the legs of the NA4 with the champion Canada West squad. This will set up some combinations where the players are more familiar with one another than are most Select squads, and the four training sessions will create opportunities for the other 10 players to work on the game plan.

Hyde-Lay and Rees have assembled a nice mix of veteran players with some exciting up-and-comers. On the veteran side the team captaincy goes to Mark Lawson for whom the players have enormous respect. Lawson had a strong NA4 series and his is always one of the highest work rates on any team he plays for. Scrum-half and a non-travelling Canada reserve member Pat Fleck, along with a member of the last Canada World Cup team, Adam van Staveren will bring their usual high tempo style of play along with their considerable experience. The Capilano RFC contributes two capped players in Akio Tyler and Christoph Strubin.

There will be two brother combinations facing each other in this match as Jeff Williams will look across the line at his brother Morgan, while Tom McKeen must contend with older brother Stan as he lines up in the BC back row.

Three exciting young players are also featured on the team. Canada U-19 captain Matt Evans, a Shawnigan Lake School and Cowichan RFC product, Evans has been playing in the UK the past season and it will be a treat for Lower Mainland fans to get look at this promising young prospect. Oak Bay High School product and JBAA club member Sean White is also on the squad, likely to back up Pat Fleck at scrumhalf. Hyde-Lay knows him as a skilful, tough and smart player and thinks he has a great future. Coach Rees brings along Ben Trevorrow, a UK born and raised winger now playing for the UBC Old Boys who apparently has great potential.

Every club from the Island and Lower Mainland is represented on the team. Reigning CDI Premiership champion JBAA contributes Williams and White along with Scott Warren and Phil Mack. Warren will contribute to a strong front row that BC can send out against Canada, while the exciting Mack can play halfback, wing or fullback.

UVic Vikes have along with McKeen, Canada reserve winger Kris Witkowski, flanker Neil Meechan, and second row Mike MacKay. Witkowski will want to put his hand up high in this game in the event there are any injuries amongst the back line of the 30 man roster in the lead up to World Cup.

Vancouver Meraloma RFC members joining Pat Fleck are prop Joe Scale, winger Shawn Mercier and second row Aidan Buan. Mercier obtained his first Canada 7’s caps this season after an outstanding CDI season as one of the leading try scorers. Scale was a big part of the Meraloma success last season and Buan featured in all the NA4 games for Canada West.

CDI finalist Bayside Sharks have Van Staveren and prop Emil Christensen as their representatives. Christensen was part of the very tough bayside front row playing from either the prop or hooker position and he was a big contributor to the Canada West NA4 success with his high work rate and abundant enthusiasm. Van Staveren is almost assured to get under someone’s skin with his aggressive play and quickness to the breakdown.

Capilano RFC contribute two experienced players better known for their Seven’s play in recent seasons but Christoph Strubin and Akio Tyler are both impact players.

The Old Boy Ravens, along with Trevorrow, contribute winger/fullback James Potter the St. George’s graduate and Canada U-21 member. Potter looked very much at home in his 3rd leg appearance for Canada West scoring a try in the second game of the final leg and filling in admirably at fullback when DTH van der Merwe was injured in the championship game.

Castaway Wanderers have two representatives in Tony LaCarte an exciting centre/winger and another player with a lot of incentive to show well in this game. Seamus Gay a very gritty and intelligent loose forward who was one of the standouts for the CW club last season joins him.

Burnaby Lake’s Mauro Perizzolo is that club’s representative. He is another exciting young prospect who though only 19 years old, handled himself very well at tight head in the NA4’s against much older and experienced opposite numbers.

Velox Valhallians have captain Mark Lawson as their representative. Abbotsford is represented by centre Bryn Keys who played in the second leg of the NA4 for Canada West and UBC T-Birds by second row Tyler Hotson who was a big part of the success of the Canada West tight five, appearing in all their games.

There are numerous members of the BC Selects side who can genuinely say they don’t see much separating themselves from some of their counterparts on the NSMT and will want to show that with their play on the field. The veterans whose best years may be behind them but whose experience, skill and pride will be great assets for the overall team play join them. Likely the greatest thrill will be for the youngsters if they get the opportunity to play against some of the iconic Canadian veterans like Mike James, Morgan Williams, and Jamie Cudmore.

The BC Selects’ goal is to give Canada the best possible challenge they can next Saturday afternoon at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, and in so doing to provide the fans with an entertaining match as they send off the Canada squad to what all hope will be a successful World Cup competition.

BC Selects Roster


Aidan Buan, Emil Christensen, Seamus Gay, Tyler Hotson, Mark Lawson (Capt), Mike MacKay, Tom McKeen, Neil Meechan, Mauro Perizzolo, Joe Scale, Christoph Strubin, Adam Van Staveren, Scott Warren


Pat Fleck, Matt Evans, Bryn Keys, Tony LaCarte, Phil Mack, Shawn Mercier, James Potter, Ben Trevorrow, Akio Tyler, Sean White, Jeff Williams, Kris Witkowski

Coaches: Ian Hyde-Lay, Cowichan RFC; Gareth Rees, UBC Old Boy Ravens
Manager: Des Lynch – Ebb Tide
Therapist: Isobel Grondin – Cowichan RFC
Development Manager – Dave Brown – BCRU
Team Doctor – Peet du Toit, Ridge Meadows RFC

BC Rugby announces Canadian Direct Insurance Senior Men’s Squad to play Canada

BCRU Press Release
posted Aug 3 2007

Vancouver, BC - BC Rugby announced today the squad of 25 named to the Canadian Direct Insurance BC Senior Men’s team to play Canada on Saturday, August 11th, 2007 at the University of British Columbia’s, Thunderbird Stadium. Kick-off is set for 2:00 PM.

In what has become a pre-World Cup tradition, British Columbia plays host to the men’s national team as they prepare for their Rugby World Cup campaign. With a highly motivated provincial side and Canada’s top 22 in town, this promises to be an entertaining match.

Fresh off a North American 4 Rugby title and his first “NBA win” as the coach of the West at Steve Nash’s Charity Classic, Ian Hyde-Lay will coach the BC men. Joining him will be Canada’s all time leading scorer with 55 international caps and four World Cup appearances, Gareth Rees (UBCOB Ravens RFC).

"The BC side is looking forward to the opportunity to play Canada”, said Hyde-Lay. “We are under no illusions as to the difficulty of this challenge, given that the National team, in its final RWC preparations, has selected its first choice side. However, we have every confidence in the ability of the provincial team, and rugby supporters from all across the province can expect a skilful, physical, well contested match"

Hyde-Lay and Rees will draw upon 14 players who were part of the recent North American 4 champion Canada West squad, as well as capped centre/wing Kris Witkowski (Univeristy of Victoria Vikes RFC), who played for Canada East.

After another fine season in the Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League, BC captain and hooker Mark Lawson (Velox Valhallians RFC) has been in outstanding form throughout the summer, while props Mauro Perizollo (Burnaby Lake RFC) and Emil Christensen (Bayside Sharks RFC), and locks Tyler Hotson (UBC Thunderbirds RFC) and Aidan Buan (Meraloma RFC) help further anchor the tight five. In the back row, both Tom McKeen (University of Victoria Vikes RFC, and brother of Canada’s backrow standout Stan McKeen) and Neil Meechan (University of Victoria RFC) played important roles in the NA4 West team, with former internationals Adam van Staveren (Bayside Sharks RFC) and Christoph Strubin (Capilano RFC) also in the fold as key selections.

Behind the scrum, much will be expected from Pat Fleck (Meraloma RFC), who could be partnered with the vastly experienced Jeff Williams (James Bays Athletic Association veteran, and brother of Canada’s captain - Morgan Williams) at halfback. Full internationals Witkowski and Akio Tyler (Capilano RFC) will give the midfield a physical presence, with the likes of Tony LaCarte (Castaway Wanderers RFC) and Phil Mack (James Bay Athletic Association), dangerous out wide.

General admission tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth (under 19 years of age). Kids under 12 years old get in for free.

Roster for the Canadian Direct Insurance BC Senior Men:

Adam van Staveren
Bayside Sharks RFC

Aidan Buan
Meraloma RFC

Akio Tyler
Capilano RFC

Ben Trevorrow

Bryn Keys
Abbotsford RFC

Christoph Strubin
Capilano RFC

Emil Christensen
Bayside Sharks RFC

James Potter

Jeff Williams
James Bay Athletic Association

Joe Scale
Meraloma RFC

Kris Witkowski
University of Victoria Vikes RFC

Mark Lawson (captain)
Velox Valhallians RFC

Matt Evans
Cowichan Rugby Club

Mauro Perizzolo
Burnaby Lake RFC

Mike Mackay
University of Victoria Vikes RFC

Neil Meechan
University of Victoria Vikes RFC

Pat Fleck
Meraloma RFC

Phil Mack
James Bay Athletic Association

Scott Warren
James Bay Athletic Association

Seamus Gay
Castaway Wanderers

Sean White
James Bay Athletic Association

Shawn Mercier
Meraloma RFC

Tom McKeen
University of Victoria Vikes RFC

Tony LaCarte
Castaway Wanderers RFC

Tyler Hotson
UBC Thunderbirds RFC

Ian Hyde-Lay (Coach)
Cowichan Rugby Club

Gareth Rees (Coach)

Des Lynch (Manager)
Ebb Tide RFC

Isabel Grondin (Therapist)
Cowichan Rugby Club

Dave Brown (Dev’t Mgr)
British Columbia Rugby Union

Peet du Toit (Doctor)
Ridge Meadows RFC

Canada vs. British Columbia
presented by Canadian Direct Insurance
Saturday, August 11th, 2007
2:00 PM kick-off
UBC Thunderbird Stadium
Vancouver, British Columbia

$20 General Admission
$10 Youth Admission
Free to kids under 12

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