From the Editor's Desk - December 2019

December 17 2019

BCRN 2019

A Review of Canadian Rugby including Pacific Pride, MLR, Canada U20, Men's & Women's XVs, Men's & Women's 7s, BC Premier and the RC Financials (Sung to the Tune Why Are We Waiting)

It's always a slow period for rugby over the end of year holiday season. People are shifting focus to family and running around to make sure they have that last minute gift. So for our own benefit and to see what people want to talk about we've listed a number of topics for review, feel free to comment in the section below. If you have some news stories to share you can post below or email

Pacific Pride

One of the positives this year in the men's XVs program is the restart of the Pacific Pride U23 academy under Jamie Cudmore. They've gone undefeated in the BC Premier, their tightest match was against last year's champions UBCOB Ravens and they'll face UBC in the new year which should be another competitive match. A number of players are starting to emerge as potential senior team players already and it will be interesting to see Kingsley Jones' selection policy this summer.


The new season isn't far off, starting February 8th. By a quick count there are 45 Canadian players in the league, 26 for the Toronto Arrows and 19 distributed across 7 other teams, the next largest Canadian contingent located at the Seattle Seawolves. The league added several teams this year Old Glory, Atlanta and New England. A couple of teams changed names, Austin from Elite to Herd and Glendale to Colorado.

Austin (2) - Moe Abdelmonem, Aidan McMullan (?)
Colorado (0)
Houston (0)
San Diego (0)
Seattle (7) - Hassler, Mack (coach), Penny, Staller, Barton, Ilnicki, Sears-Duru
Utah (1) - Rob Povey

New England (1) - Josh Larsen
New Orleans (2) - Kyle Baillie, Eric Howard
Old Glory (3) - Travis Larsen, Doug Fraser, Ciaran Hearn
New York (0)
Atlanta (3) - Matt Heaton, Karsten Leitner, Conor Keys
Toronto (26) -

Men's Canada U20

The Canada U20 program have their first camp from January 3-7 at Shawnigan Lake school. They then travel to Portugal in February, to the UK in May and then Uruguay in June for the U20 ARC tournament. They'll play USA at the ARC tournament and the winner goes to the JWRT in Spain in September. It's the most ambitious preparation for the U20 team in the program's history, funded through the Canadian Rugby Foundation, we'll see if it's reflected in results on the world stage.

Women's XVs

The women's XVs seem to be on track for the 2021 World Cup, they just finished a two game series vs the USA where they won both matches. Previously in the summer tournament they were competitive with the top teams in the world and defeated France. It all seems to be going to plan. The Monty Heald Fund run by the Canadian Rugby Foundation helps to fund the team, you can make a tax deductible donation here.

Men's XVs

The men's XVs program continues to struggle, the World Cup was a disappointment, the much anticipated match vs Namibia was cancelled by weather. Canada weren't competitive in any of the matches they did get to play and had some of the worst stats at the tournament. We won't get to see them in action until July now which begs the question, what is the coach doing in the meantime?

Women's 7s

The women's 7s program is humming along under the leadership of John Tait, probably the flagship program in Canada in terms of results and profile. They currently sit 4th in the standings but are on track to medal at the Olympics and defend their Bronze medal.

Men's 7s

It seems a continuation of last year's form and an 11th place finish. Currently sitting in 12th place after two tournaments, the question is will the team be able to break into a Cup round in the new year? Wales and Japan seem the worst teams this year so Canada seem safe from relegation if the pattern continues from the first two tournaments. Some younger players are coming in Cooper Coats, David Richard, and Theo Sauder and they've played well. The return of Justin Douglas, Cole Davis and Adam Zaruba will help the squad. Coach Henry Paul has called in some friends to help at the tournaments, like Ben Gollings in Cape Town and expect some cameo appearances in the new year.

BC Club Season

The men's Premier season has reached the halfway mark and the usual contenders are at the top, UBC, UBCOB Ravens and Burnaby. Surprising this year was the slow start of CW and the fast start by Capilano. There are 6 teams with 2 losses or less so far this season, Burnaby, UBC, Capilano, Pacific Pride, James Bay, UBCOB Ravens. They would be a good bet to be the 6 teams going ahead into the playoffs, however the Pride aren't eligible for the playoffs. When you jump down to the next group with 5 losses already this season you see CW, UVic and Seattle and at least one of those teams will make the postseaon. The season resumes January 25th.

RC Financials

USA Rugby have released their 2018 financials and it's caused a bit of a storm south of the border. USA Rugby released a statement on December 13th. A couple of statements about decentralizing caught our eye, "USA Rugby will now expedite the strategic plan objective of decentralizing resource and operation while evaluating what services the National Office can effectively provide to the community game." and "The Task Force will focus on regional empowerment, and how the National Office can most effectively support rugby organizations". They also put out their 2018 Financials which shows they spent about $4M more than their revenue. Add in a negative balance brought in from last year and their net assets are a minus $4,973,403. Not looking good.

However in Canada the Rugby Canada Board haven't even released the 2018 financials which gives hints of some problems brewing or some reporting that didn't meet standards. Unlike the USA where they have a Congress that can hold the Board of Directors accountable, it's a closed shop in Canada between Rugby Canada and the Provincial Unions who are the only "members" of Rugby Canada. The latest word we've heard is that the audited financials will be out in January 2020 but we've been hearing the "next month" scenario for several months now. Also there's no 2018 Annual Report online and the last AGM reports posted are from 2016.

Pemberton Holmes
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