BC Name Team for Canadian Rugby Championship Four Match Series
[ed. BCRU made an error in announcing the team, it is Jared Douglas not Justin Douglas who is on the team.]
The Canadian Rugby Championship between the four rugby Provinces/Regions of Canada - BC, Prairies, Ontario and Atlantic - takes place from July 27th to August 26th. BC will start with a home and away series with the Prairies to determine the top western seeding, in the east Ontario and Atlantic will follow the same format. All four teams converge on Calgary August 23rd with West #1 vs East #2 and East #1 vs West #2. The winners of those matches battle it out for the title while the losers settle for a 3rd/4th match. Last year it was BC vs Ontario in the final with BC claiming the national title.
This year has extra significance as Canada are entered in the November repechage tournament in France, a last attempt to make the Rugby World Cup in 2019. For that reason the teams are stocked with the centralized players, basically Canada "A" players. BC claim their share with Barker, Campbell, Dobravsky, Du Toit, Fraser, Murray, and Nieuwenhuysen.
BC look to have a solid front row with Clint Lemkus, Steve Ng, Noah Barker a possible starting rotation. John Braddock, Paul Ahn and Liam Murray backups. Lemkus will be eligible for the 2019 World Cup if Canada gets through the repechage. Barker can also play hooker and that might be a permutation worth exploring.
There are a lot of players missing, the MLR players for example, George Barton, Nakai Penny, Brock Staller, Cam Polson. Phil Mack no doubt getting some rest with a summer wedding on the horizon. Some players from last year's championship team also MIA Anthony Luca, Andrew Lackner, Connor Weyell, Travis Larsen, Kevin Leask, Kimi Vunituraga, Harjun Gill, Neil Courtney, Jordan Reid-Harvey to name a few. The Canada U20 players have also been left out of selection. The 7s players are out except Justin Douglas, no Connor Braid or Andrew Coe. Disappointing that Luke Bradley couldn't get a run in this competition. There are a number of players due to work commitments that aren't present, one of the most exciting backline players in league play last year, Jared Stephens, is back fighting fires in the north of BC. Even though this is a strong BC side, a team of equal strength could be assembled from the players not available. On that note one player who deserves mention is David Dinbandhu who played exceptionally well in the regional selection games and the BC Bears game vs RAF. He wasn't selected for reasons unknown.
One area Canada needs to find some gold before the repechage are the flanker spots, we have some capable players in there now but not outstanding. Dustin Dobravsky, Ollie Nott, Shea Wakefield, Luke Campbell, Connor McCann are all talented players capable of taking on various loose forward assignments. If one or more have an outstanding series of games they could punch their ticket to the repechage.
Theo Sauder no doubt will get the start at #10 with his halfback partner likely to be Jorden Sandover-Best or James Pitblado. Fraser Hurst also impressed at scrum half in the regional U23 match but they may use him at fullback as well. The centres look capable and experienced Fraser, Nieuwenhuysen, Meeres, Thiel. Guiseppe du Toit could play centre or flyhalf but more than likely fullback based on the team selections. On the outside they have 7s finisher Justin Douglas, he hasn't really stood out in XVs in previous matches, so this will be interesting to see. It's one area that the team selections seem a little light. There are no proven XVs wingers on the team, a number of players who could slot into that position and do a good job, perhaps Hurst or Thiel will find themselves outside along with Justin Douglas. How BC will fare going up against someone like Kainoa Lloyd on the outside is something to keep an eye on.
Lots to look forward to in the matchups these games will bring and no doubt Kingsley Jones will be pouring over game footage to find that key bit of skill or attitude he's looking for in his repechage 23 come November.from BCRU
BC Bears Names Team to Begin Defence of Canadian Rugby Championship Title
Vancouver, BC – July 14, 2018 – BC Rugby is proud to announce the BC Bears team ahead of their opening match in the 2018 Canadian Rugby Championships (CRCs), sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures. Lead by Victoria’s Luke Campbell, the team will kick off the defence of their 2017 CRC title on the very pitch that they won the coveted MacTier Cup last summer. They will face Prairie Wolfpack, with the match will be hosted at Calgary Rugby Park on July 27 and is set to kick off at 7pm (MDT)/6pm (PT).
The BC Bears won last year’s CRC campaign with a flawless run, undefeated in the whole tournament, beating Ontario Blues in a nail-biting final by just a single point (30-29). Since then a number of the players in that 2017 team have gone on to play for their home clubs in an exciting BC Rugby Premier Men’s League, as well as take up roles in MLR and the Candian Men’s XVs in the America’s Rugby Championship (ARC) and the 2018 Summer International Test series. Having only played together in BC colours once since last summer, this opening match against Prairie Wolfpack will be a real eye-opener with what is a much-changed side from 2017.
While a core of nine players from last summer’s side remains (Paul Ahn, Noah Barker, Luke Campbell, Dustin Dobravsky, Giuseppe DuToit, Doug Fraser, Craig McLaughlin, Mike Nieuwenhuysen and Shea Wakefield), there are a number of new faces for this CRC season. That doesn’t mean they are entirely new to the BC Bears set up though, or indeed top level rugby.
Five of the named team have already played at the national level in 2018, including newly capped Jordan Sandover-Best (UBCOB Ravens) and Theo Sauder (UBC Thunderbirds). Eleven of the side were also part of the BC Bears team that won against the British RAF in June (the RAF having already defeated Prairie Wolfpack just days before). There are some rising talents as well, with Abbotsford’s Josh Thiel continuing to show that top-level rugby runs in the family. Theil played for Canada’s U20 Men’s XV team with his twin brother Jake and many will remember their dad Jon, who racked up 44 caps playing prop for the Maple Leafs. Josh is joined by Liam Murray, Steven Ng and Fraser Hurst, all of whom had the honour of playing for the BC U23 Men’s XV earlier this year when taking on Canada’s Men’s U20 XV in an exhibition match at Abbotsford in May.
BC Bears coach Jebb Sinclair was cautiously optimistic when discussing this year’s CRC tournament. “We’re lucky to have rugby action in BC year round, so we hope to use that experience to our advantage when facing opponents who have to sit out the winter season”. It’s not all been straightforward though, as Sinclair noted, “These guys are so used to being opponents in club leagues for most of the year, so they have to adapt to working side by side. The RAF match was a real plus for us, not only in terms of game time but as an opportunity to get things out of the system and start to build a strong team dynamic.”
Looking beyond the first match, the BC Bears will play a return leg against Prairie Wolfpack, this time on home soil at Klahanie Park in North Vancouver on August 3, KO 7pm (PT). This will be the only opportunity for fans to see the BC Bears playing in the Province this summer, and the significance of that is not lost on the players either. “For a lot of these guys, this is still a huge honor to pull on Provincial colours”, remarked Sinclair, “Only one game at home means the pressure will be on in that match to put in a really great performance, not just for the team but for friends, family and fans”.
For the opening match, those unable to travel to Calgary to see the action live on Jul 27 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 vs. Wolfpack @ Calgary Park, AB July 27 7pm MDT/6pm PDT
Bears vs. Wolfpack @ Klahanie Pak, BC Aug 3 8pm MDT/7pm PDT
Bears vs. Ontario Blues/Atlantic Rock (SF) Aug 23 5pm MDT/4pm PDT
3rd Place Playoff Aug 26 12pm MDT/11am PDT
CRC Final Aug 26 2pm MDT/1pm PDT
BC Bears' Squad
Paul Ahn - UBCOB Ravens (Vancouver, BC)
Noah Barker - James Bay AA (Courtney, BC)
John Braddock - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
Luke Campbell - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Dustin Dobravsky - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Hanover, Germany)
Justin Douglas - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Guiseppe Du Toit - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
Doug Fraser - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
Fraser Hurst - UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
Clint Lemkus - UBC Thunderbirds (Cape Town, SA)
Connor McCann - Meralomas Rugby Club (Belleville, ON)
Craig McLaughlin - Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
Clayton Meeres - James Bay AA (Chilliwack, BC)
Liam Murray - James Bay AA (Langley, BC)
Steven NG - James Bay AA (Ottawa, ON)
Mike Nieuwenhuysen - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Ollie Nott - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
James Pitblado - Uvic Vikes (Victoria, BC)
Jordan Sandover-Best - UBCOB Ravens RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Theo Sauder - UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
Nathan Stewart - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)
Josh Thiel - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Shea Wakefield - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Coach - Dean Murten (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Jebb Sinclair (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Scott Manning (Victoria, BC)
Coach - Mario Domingues (Vancouver, BC)
Coach - Angel Cividanes (White Rock, BC)
Manager - Des Lynch (Victoria, BC)