Challenge Cup of the Americas - 2022

June 18 2022

Challenge Cup of the Americas

Jaguares XV Dominate Ravens to Win Challenge Cup of the Americas

It was a lot to a little for the Jaguares XV side as they grew a 47-0 lead and coasted to a 80-10 win over the Ravens. The Ravens tries were scored by Blake Mahovic and Alex Ball. In the second game Penarol defeated American Raptors 26-10.

To put the playing strengths in perspective the Jaguares XV were a full professional side that play in SLAR, equivalent to the top MLR teams in the playoffs this weekend. Penarol also play in SLAR but sent a development side, Ravens are an amateur team that plays in the BC Premier, American Raptors are a team focused on turning football players into rugby players. Ravens came second in the competition but are a ways off the playing level of a professional team. Just comparing the body types of the forwards between the Jaguares XV and Ravens it was clear who was going to win the contact area.

A top BC Premier team is better than a MLR/SLAR academy side but well below a professional level. Allowing more imports next season may raise that level a bit. The Canada West team that participated in the Coast to Coast Cup may bridge that gap a bit, above BC Premier, more of a BC Premier All-Star team, but again not quite at the professional level.

The replays are on the website.

Ravens Name Roster for Jaguares XV Match on Saturday

The Ravens named their squad to face the Jaguares XV on Saturday at noon PT. The later match, American Raptors vs Penarol, takes place at 2:30pm PT. The match will be live streamed from Infinity Park.

Last weekend the Jaquares defeated American Raptors 69-0 while the Ravens got by Penarol 23-14.

There was a midweek match on Tuesday between a local Rocky Mountain Selects side, which included a number of Raptor players, and the Ravens. The match wasn't part of the Challenge series but it gave a number of Ravens' players a chance for game time. Some first team players like Grady Bowd and Aaron McLelland didn't suit up for the match. The Ravens won 41-40 with young Raven Henry Bibby scoring a couple of tries.

The game on Saturday will be a step up for the Ravens and they'll need a top defensive effort to keep the Jaguares in check. There's only a few lineup changes from last Saturday's match vs Penarol. Nathan Stewart gets the start at #8 with Grant Crowell as the reserve. Jasper Mellish starts at inside centre with Jake Holmes moving to the reserves. Reserve prop Ian Prendiville picked up a knock in the midweek match and isn't in the match day 23.

1 John Braddock
2 Sean Pyle
3 Tom Kaijaks
4 Henry Stevenson
5 Kaden Duguid
6 Blain Meek
7 Simon Etheve
8 Nathan Stewart
9 Alex Ball
10 Grady Bowd
11 Blake Mahovic
12 Jasper Mellish
13 Brandon Schellenberger
14 Tyler Hume
15 Aaron McLelland
16 Antonio Corbin
17 Alu Taito
18 Louis Millet
19 Sawyer Herron
20 Grant Crowell
21 Billy Wickham
22 Jake Holmes
23 Jack Shaw

Ravens Top Penarol 23-14 with Second Half Comeback: Video Highlights

The Ravens were down 7-6 at the half with two penalty kicks by Bowd keeping them in the match. They would go down 14-6 early in the second half and it didn't seem there was the offensive spark to ignite the attack and break down a stubborn Penarol defence.

It would take two exceptional players and two exceptional plays to unlock the Penarol defence twice to give the Ravens the win. First Grady Bowd found a gap and sliced past the would be tackler, he found Alex Ball in support and Ball showed some great evasive running skills to beat the last defender.

Later in the second half, Aaron McLelland would show some magic and glide through a gap in the defence and again it was Alex Ball in support who would finish it off. Those two converted tries and the perfect 3 for 3 penalties by Bowd would be enough to win the match. A gritty performance by the BC representatives.

Another bit of skill that caught viewers, and commentators, attention was the 50/22 kick by hooker Sean Pyle. Well done to the players and coaches, a good representation of rugby in BC to a wider audience.

In the other match the formidable Jaguares XV destroyed the local American Raptors team 69-0. The Ravens will have to put in a massive defensive effort in order to tame the Jaquares attack.

The next match day is June 18th, it will be UBCOB Ravens vs Jaguares XV at 12pm PT and American Raptors v Penarol at 2:30pm PT.

Video highlights are courtesy of the Infinity Park Live Stream.

1st Ravens Try - Grady Bowd linebreak finished off by Alex Ball

2nd Ravens Try - Aaron McLelland linebreak finished off by Alex Ball

Sean Pyle shows remarkable kicking skills for a hooker

UBCOB Ravens Name Roster for Penarol Match on Saturday

The Ravens have released their roster for tomorrow's match and it will be interesting to see how the team stacks up against Penarol from Uruguay.

The front row features two UBCOB regulars Sean Pyle at hooker and Tom Kaijaks at tighthead, John Braddock from CW will be the loosehead prop.

Henry Stevenson and Kaden Duguid slot into the engine room. Stevenson is one of those players who has been on the periphery but never got a good look. He signed for the Dallas Jackals in the year (2021) they folded, he signed with the Arrows (2022) but has had little, if any, playing time. Kaden Duguid is the older brother of Tyler Duguid who plays for Montpellier in France. Kaden plays for Limoges in France, Limoges play in the Nationale 2 league. National selectors and MLR teams will be interested in watching these two in action on Saturday.

The loose forwards are Blaine Meek, Simon Etheve with Grant Crowell at #8. Crowell has played for the Ravens the last couple of seasons and before that he featured for the Prairie Wolfpack in the CRC (Canadian Rugby Championship). Crowell was outstanding in that CRC competition but hasn't had a true crack at the Ravens #8 spot on a regular basis with Brian Moylett owning the #8 jersey. Simon Etheve has been a regular starter with the Ravens and was on that 2018 tour when they beat the Houston Sabercats 26-23, Aaron McLelland is the only other player on this Ravens side who also played in that match. Blaine Meek was also a regular starter for the Ravens in the 2022 season.

The halfback pairing are Alex Ball and Grady Bowd. Ball is one of the regular Ravens scrum halves, along with Billy Wickham who is in the reserves. Grady Bowd gets the start at #10, he was masterful in guiding the Canada West backline in their Coast to Coast series wins against the Arrows Academy and Atlantic Selects. It will be interesting to see how he performs with a new set of backs. Jasper Mellish is the regular #10 and he's in the reserves.

In the centres are Jake Holmes and Brandon Schellenberger. Holmes was a bit of a mystery to us, until we found out it's Jake Gibson Holmes and he's usually listed as Jake Gibson in the Premier roster, a Ravens regular in 2022. Schellenberger is from CW, a scrum half converted to centre. Brandon played Canada U20 at scrum half but has been used by CW at centre more last season. He's a tenacious defender with an eye for a gap on attack.

The back three are Blake Mahovic, Tyler Hume and Aaron McLelland. Mahovic plays for Squamish, a veteran player, he toured with James Bay when they also played the Houston Sabercats in 2018, that match was won by Houston. The Ravens are the only BC Premier team to notch a win against a MLR side. Tyler Hume is a regular on the Ravens roster, either playing in the centres or the wing. Aaron McLelland needs no introduction, a player with the skills to be on the national radar in XVs or 7s, he's been with the Ravens since 2016.

Kickoff is at 2:30pm PT and preceded by the Jaguares XV vs American Raptors at noon PT. Live stream at Infinity Park also more info on the series at American Raptors

Ravens Roster

1 John Braddock
2 Sean Pyle
3 Tom Kaijaks
4 Henry Stevenson
5 Kaden Duguid
6 Blain Meek
7 Simon Etheve
8 Grant Crowell
9 Alex Ball
10 Grady Bowd
11 Blake Mahovic
12 Jake Holmes
13 Brandon Schellenberger
14 Tyler Hume
15 Aaron McLelland
16 Antonio Corbin
17 Ian Prendiville
18 Alu Taito
19 Louis Millet
20 Sawyer Herron
21 Billy Wickham
22 Jasper Mellish
23 Jack Shaw

Penarol Roster

UBCOB Ravens Name Travelling Roster for Challenge Cup of the Americas Tournament vs Jaguares XV of Argentina, Penarol of Uruguay and American Raptors

It's another great initiative for North American rugby on the heels of the Coast to Coast Cup which was held over the last two weeks. This tournament is being hosted by the American Raptors in Glendale, Colorado. The matches will be played June 11th and 18th with each North American team facing off against a South American side. The UBCOB Ravens will face Penarol on June 11th and the Jaguares XV on June 18th.

The American Raptors recently visited BC to play the Canada West extended squad, prior to the Canada West team being selected for the Coast to Coast Cup. Canada West went on to win the match against the Raptors and then captured the Coast to Coast Cup.

The UBCOB Ravens play in the BC Premier league, they were upset by CW in the semi-finals last season, with UBC Thunderbirds defeating CW in the final. The Ravens are one of the top sides in the Premier, having won the league title recently in 2018 and 2019. They also won the Canadian Club Championship in 2018.

The Ravens are missing a few key players like Colby Mason and Brian Moylett but have picked up some reinforcements from CW. Travelling with the Ravens are Brandon Schellenberger who plays anywhere in the backline, including scrum-half; Grady Bowd possibly the top flyhalf in the country right now; John Braddock an experienced front row player; and Sawyer Herron an openside flanker. Kaden Duguid, fresh off a season in France, has also joined the tour. Ian Prendiville, blindside flanker from the Rowers, is on the roster as is Hank Stevenson, second row, with the Toronto Arrows extended squad. A couple of players from Bishops University in Quebec, Jack Shaw & Louis Millet, are from the Arrows Academy. Mason Switzer is from Saskatchewan. Nathan Stewart, formerly with CW, is on the rugby comeback path.

The squad is captained by Aaron McLelland.

They have two tough opponents, Penarol who won the SLAR competition this year. Followed by the Argentinean based Jaguares XV.

The tour has been put together at no expense to players thanks to support from Ravens alumni and hosts the American Raptors.

The two matches on June 11th will be live streamed and are scheduled for 1pm and 3:30 pm MT (12pm and 2:30 pm PT).

Aaron McLelland (c)
Alexander Ball
Antonio Corbin
Blain Meek
Blake Mahovic
Brandon Schellenberger
Gradyn Bowd
Robert Crowell
Jasper Mellish
John Braddock
Marceau Bertin
Mark Wandeto Ruga
Mason Switzer-Nelson
Nathan Stewart
Oakeley Mellish
Robert Jones
Sawyer Herron
Sean Pyle
Simon Etheve
Thomas Kaijaks
Tyler Hume
Jack Shaw
Henry Stevenson
Billy Wickham
Louis Millet
Ian Prendiville
Kaden Duguid
Jake Gibson

Official Press Release

The American Raptors and Infinity Park are proud to host the first Challenge Cup of the Americas. The round robin matches will be played June 11 and June 18 with two rugby teams from North America – the American Raptors and the University of British Columbia Old Boys Ravens – and two from South America – Jaguares XV (Argentina) and Peñarol Rugby (Uruguay) – facing off.

The American Raptors, based in Glendale, Colorado, traveled to Montevideo, Uruguay last fall to test their mettle against both local club teams and the Uruguayan National Team’s Academy side. While in Uruguay the Raptors were able to visit and spend time with teams and forge a relationship that brings the Superliga Americana de Rugby teams to the United States this summer.

“We were fortunate to meet the leaders of Superliga Americana de Rugby when the American Raptors toured in Uruguay last Fall,” said Mike Dunafon, Mayor of Glendale, CO. “Their goals are the same as our goals—to promote the growth of rugby in the Americas and to strengthen the quality of play in our respective countries. To now have the opportunity to welcome SLAR and the Canadian-based UBCOB Ravens to Glendale for the first Challenge Cup of the Americas is an exciting next step in our development.”

The Superliga Americana de Rugby is a professional league organized by Sudamérica Rugby, one of six regional associations of World Rugby, the international sporting federation. Participants of the league include Jaguares XV (Argentina), Cobras Brasil XV (Brazil), Selknam (Chile), Cafeteros Pro (Colombia), Olimpia Lions (Paraguay) and Peñarol Rugby (Uruguay).

“This initiative is part of the Superliga Americana de Rugby’s strategic expansion plan, which seeks to include other territories within the Americas and continue promoting our tournament, the Unions that comprise it, and fundamentally the players; these goals will continue to be our priority,” said Sebastián Piñeyrúa, President of Sudamérica Rugby. “We have always sought growth in the Americas through competition, and today we see in SLAR a good vehicle to achieve it.”

“We believe that competition can become an organized, sustainable, planned and meaningful pathway for the hundreds of thousands of players that play the game of rugby within the unions of our continent.”

Founded in 1974, the UBCOB Ravens have lifted the Rounsefell Cup (BC Championship) on seven occasions, most recently in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons. The Ravens are also the defending Canadian Club Champions after winning most recent iteration in 2018. On Jan 13, 2018, the Ravens beat the SaberCats in Houston and currently hold a 1-0 record against teams

from Major League Rugby. The Ravens had scheduled matches against the Toronto Arrows and Seattle Seawolves that were cancelled due to COVID, and they are looking forward to competing in high-performance rugby again in Glendale this summer.

Fans can expect an exciting international competition hosted in the Infinity Park stadium. Two matches will be played each day on June 11 and June 18 with the first match at 1:00 pm and the second kick off at 3:30 pm. Infinity Park is a great place to experience rugby and even first-time fans find the intimate placement of the pitch close to fans an exciting opportunity to learn more about rugby.

The fun is enhanced with plenty of food options and a safe environment for children. Cost for the event is affordable with daily tickets $10 for adults and kids 12 and under enter for free. All four matches will be streamed on Infinity Park’s website. For more match information check out the Tickets & Events section at

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