Canadians Playing Professional Rugby

September 15 2013

Jamie Cudmore

A Review of Canadians Playing Top Level Professional Rugby – Weekend of September 14th: UPDATED

posted Sept 15 2013
[update from a reader on Hassler and Ardron in the Ospreys game.]

There are seven Canadians playing top level professional rugby at the present time, one in Scotland, one in New Zealand, two in Wales, two in England and one in France. There are a number of others playing 2nd level rugby in Europe mostly in the RFU championship league.

All seven of the top professionals have played for BC Premier league teams as part of their rugby development. In terms of their early rugby development two have come from Saskatchewan (one via South Africa), two from Ontario, one from Alberta, one from New Brunswick and one from BC.

DTH van der Merwe (James Bay) (Glasgow)

DTH started for Glasgow this weekend, he played the full 80 minutes and almost scored a try in Glasgow’s 13-12 win over Ulster.

Hubert Buydens (Castaway Wanderers) (Manawatu)

Buydens got in for last 20 minutes in Manawatu’s win over Southland 27-17

Video highlights

Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler (James Bay) (Ospreys)

Ardron and Hassler were dressed on the bench but didn’t get in the game for Ospreys in their 29-29 draw with Leinster

"Just an update on the Osprey v. Leinster game. In your article on overseas players you listed both Hassler and Ardron to not have played but I watched the game and they were both brought on with about 10 minutes remaining. There was no announcement from the Irish commentators at the time of the substitution however. In the first instance I noticed Ardron on the field he made a tackle but was referred to, by the commentators, as someone else. Also,it was Hassler's run that led to the penalty that allowed the Ospreys to tie it at the death. They both acquitted themselves well in the short time they had on the pitch."

Jebb Sinclair (Castaway Wanderers) (London Irish)

Sinclair was dressed and on the bench but didn’t get in the game for London Irish in their 20-18 win over Worcester

Jamie Cudmore (Capilano) (Clermont)

Cudmore started the game for Clermont in their 27-13 win over Grenoble

Match photo

Phil Mackenzie (UVic) (Sale Sharks)

Phil Mackenzie started for Sale Sharks in their 15-14 loss to Newcastle, he was replaced at the 55 minute mark.

DTH Hamstring Injury; One Regular Season Game Left for Sinclair in Currie Cup; Mackenzie Scores Try for London Welsh; Cudmore Cleared by Disciplinary Committee

posted Oct 7 2012
[ed. comments below]


DTH pulled a hammy in a valiant effort to set up a try against the Italian team Zebre, final score was 22-19 for Glasgow. Recuperation time estimated at 6 weeks. DTH also scored a try in the game.


There's one regular season game left in the Currie Cup, Western Province are home to last place Cheetahs. The top four teams go into the playoffs and currently WP is in 3rd place but with 3 points separating 3rd and 6th it's a must win situation for WP to make the playoffs.

1. Lions 28
2. Sharks 25
3. W.Province 20
4. Griquas 20
5. Blue Bulls 18
6. Cheetahs 17


Jamie Cudmore was cleared by the disciplinary committee of the T14 league, he had been cited in a game between ASM Clermont Auvergne and Grenoble on September 22nd. Clermont remain top of the T14 league in France despite losing to Castre on Friday. Cudmore did not play in that game and is carrying a thigh injury according to Planet Rugby. Clermont start Heineken Cup action on October 13th when they play Scarlets, they are in Pool 5 with Scarlets, Exeter and Leinster.


Phil Mackenzie and London Welsh currently sit in 9th place in the 12 team English premiership. They lost to Saracens on Friday 28-23 although Mackenzie scored a try in the game. Their next game is against Stade Francais on Oct 13th in the Amlin Cup Challenge.

DTH Scores 2 Tries in Glasgow Victory Over Ospreys

posted Sept 14 2012

DTH van der Merwe scored two tries in Glasgow's 28-10 victory over Welsh team Ospreys on Friday and won Man of the Match honours.

Here are a couple of match reports:

For those at the Tyee v Blues game on Saturday, we'll have collectable cards of DTH available for giveaway. Ask and you will receive. Perfect for the young rugby fan.

Jebb Sinclair Plays for Western Province in Currie Cup: Game Televised Sunday

posted Aug 11 2012
[ed. comments below. Apparently Sinclair will return to London Irish following the Currie Cup season, which ends in October.]

Jebb Sinclair has decided to stay in South Africa after his debut with the Stormers in Super 15 action. He'll be playing for Western Province in the Currie Cup competition which is a level below Super 15 play.

The game is scheduled to be rebroadcast on SportsNet World (formerly Setanta) at noon (PT) on Sunday, check your local schedule to verify.

The South African betting site Voltbet had this to say about the matchup and Western Province's chances this season:

"Looking at the teams, WP have a solid backrow with Pietersen, van der Heever, du Plessis, Brache and Aplon. Burton Francis and Duvenage are the halfbacks with Canadian Jebb Sinclair joining Holmes and Fourie in the loosies. The tight five is made up of Steenkamp, Armand, Malherbe, Liebenberg and Carstens. The Sharks have rested McLeod and Bresler while Whitehead and du Toit are sidelined. The Sharks backline consists of Prinsloo, Ndungane, Jordaan, Bosman and Sithole. The halfbacks are Riaan Viljoen and Cobus Reinach. The loosies with Mtembu, Deysel and Botes and the tight five are Marais, Sykes, Herbst, Burden and Chadwick. Looking at the betting for this match, the Sharks SupeRugby contingent must be absolutely knackered from a disgusting travel schedule which has seen them clock up 42000 air miles. The Sharks half back pairing is untested at this level and I think the Sharks are in serious trouble on Saturday! I really fancy WP to win this match and make the handicap of WP -3.5 at odds of 9/8 the bet of the weekend! WP have home advantage, a solid side with 13 players in their matchday 22 with SupeRugby experience and are favourites to win the Currie Cup this season. WP jou lekker ding!"

So there you have it, Western Province to win the Currie Cup and you can even bet a few bucks (or rand) on it.

Two Young Canadians Get a Taste of Professional Rugby in Europe: Taylor Paris and Connor McCann Play in Preseason Matches

posted Aug 4 2012

Taylor Paris scored his first try wearing Glasgow colours in their preseason match against Castres, a narrow loss 20-17. The Glagow Warriors site had this to say:

"Second half scores from backline additions Taylor Paris and Byron McGuigan saw Gregor Townsend’s men push a side several weeks ahead of them in fitness and match action all the way, before a late pushover try with Ruaridh Jackson in the sin bin sneaked it for the French.

19-year-old Paris, the youngest player ever to be capped by Canada at both 15s and 7s, was the beneficiary of a fine break from Tommy Seymour, while McGuigan, a Scotland 7s cap, finished off a perceptive length of the field move started by Elite Development signing Fraser Thomson’s cute mark."

Elsewhere in France, another young Canadian was getting game time with the top team as Connor McCann played in Clermont's 31-19 victory over Lyon. Jamie Cudmore also suited up for Clermont.

Phil Mackenzie and London Welsh Promoted to English Premiership

posted June 29 2012

On June 6th London Welsh announced Phil Mackenzie's signing and today the club won their appeal against the RFU and its earlier decision to deny promotion to the 2012 RFU Championship winners. That means Canadian fans will be able to watch Phil Mackenzie from afar as Sportsnet World often carries English Premiership matches. Read more below.

Mackenzie Signing

Championship winners London Welsh have signed back Phil Mackenzie from Esher.

The 25-year-old, who can play at centre or on the wing, has won 13 caps for Canada and represented his country at last year's World Cup.

Mackenzie, who joined Esher in May 2010, scored 12 tries last season as the Molesey Road outfit were relegated from rugby's second tier.

Exiles coach Lyn Jones said: "Phil will bring an edge to our performances that can only help raise standards."

London Welsh Win Appeal

London Welsh will play in the Aviva Premiership next season after winning their appeal against a Rugby Football Union decision to block their promotion.

The Championship winners were originally denied the right to go up after being told they had failed to meet the minimum standards required of a Premiership club.

London Welsh's appeal was heard yesterday by an independent panel, who spent all of today deliberating over the evidence before finding in favour of the Richmond-based club.

The verdict condemns Newcastle to relegation after they finished bottom of the Premiership.

London Welsh were initially told they had failed the minimum standards audit on a number of factors but primarily because they did not meet the requirement for primacy of tenure.

In effect, that meant London Welsh were not allowed to share the Kassam Stadium with Oxford United even though three existing Premiership teams co-habit with football clubs.

London Welsh argued the primacy of tenure rule breached UK and European competition law and was therefore void and unenforceable.

The independent panel, which was comprised of QCs James Dingemans, Ian Mill and Tim Ward, agreed.

'We upheld London Welsh's complaint and concluded that the Primacy of Tenure rule gave rise to an unjustified distortion of competition, contrary to UK and EU competition law,' the panel said in a statement.

'While the rule included exemptions for three particular Premiership clubs ('the three club exemption'), there was insufficient justification for the narrowness of that exemption and its restrictive effect on aspirant Championship clubs.

'London Welsh argued and the RFU accepted that the consequence of such a finding was that the provisions that contain the Primacy of Tenure rule in the MSC (minimum standards criteria) are void.'

This is the second time the Premiership's minimum standards criteria have failed to stand up to a challenge.

Rotherham complained to the Office of Fair Trading after their promotion was blocked in 2002, leading to a change in the definition of primacy of tenure.

Taylor Paris Joins Elite Group of Canadians Playing Professional Rugby: One Year Deal with Glasgow Warriors

[ed. congratulations to Taylor Paris who joins a handful of Canadians playing professional rugby at the top level (DTH, Cudmore, Sinclair).]
posted June 15 2012
More on

Glasgow Warriors are delighted to announce the signing of another top young talent with a burgeoning reputation in the international game.

Taylor Paris, the 19-year-old Canada wing, today put pen to paper on a one-year deal that will see him tied to the Scotstoun-based club until at least the end of May 2013.

Paris is the youngest ever player to win a full cap for the Canucks, having made his debut at 18.

In his second Test appearance, against Spain, the speedster underlined his ability with a brace of tries and was part of the Canada squad at the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

For the past two years, Paris has been a mainstay of the Canada 7s set-up in the HSBC Sevens World Series. He is also the youngest player ever to represent the country in the abbreviated form of the game, having first taken the field aged just 17.

A recent foot injury prevented him from challenging for selection in the Canucks’ summer Tests against USA, Georgia and Italy, but he has recovered to be named Canada under-20 captain for the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy which takes place in Salt Lake City from June 18-30.

Sharks v Stormers on TV at 10am: Sinclair Starting at #8

posted May 26 2012

Those with access to SportsNet World, formerly Setanta Sports, may want to catch Canadian Jebb Sinclair in his second start for the Stormers. The game is set for 10am PT.

The Stormers sit in 2nd place overall and top the South African conference. The Sharks are in 6th place and 3rd in the South African conference. Both teams are well placed to make the playoffs. The Super 15 takes a hiatus in June for the June Internationals, playing their last game on June 2nd before a 3 week test window, and then resume on June 29th for 3 more weeks.



15. Gio Aplon,14. Gerhard van den Heever,13. Juan de Jongh,12. Jean de Villiers (C),11. Bryan Habana,10. Peter Grant ,9. Dewaldt Duvenage ,8. Jebb Sinclair ,7. Rynhardt Elstadt ,6. Siya Kolisi ,5. Andries Bekker (VC),4. Eben Etzebeth ,3. Brok Harris,2. Tiaan Liebenberg ,1. Steven Kitshoff

Reserves:16. Deon Fourie ,17. Frans Malherbe ,18. De Kock Steenkamp ,19. Don Armand,20. Nick Fenton-Wells,21. Louis Schreuder,22. Burton Francis


15. Patrick Lambie , 14. JP Pietersen , 13. Paul Jordaan , 12. Meyer Bosman , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Frederic Michalak , 9. Charl McLeod , 8. Keegan Daniel (C) , 7. Willem Alberts , 6. Marcell Coetzee , 5. Anton Bresler , 4. Steven Sykes , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements , 16. Craig Burden , 17. Wiehahn Herbst , 18. Pieter-Steph du Toit , 19. Ryan Kankowski , 20. Jacques Botes , 21. Odwa Ndungane , 22. Louis Ludik.

Sinclair Gets Noticed by South African Press: Jebb Lost Seeking Newlands

by Rob Houwing,
posted May 17 2012
[ed. an amusing story and I'm sure the local press will have a field day with something they haven't seen before, a Canadian playing in the Super 15]

Cape Town - It would be rather more inconvenient if it happened on Saturday, but the Stormers’ Canadian loose forward acquisition Jebb Sinclair had a problem on Wednesday finding Newlands rugby stadium.

His misfortune was understandable, considering that the on-loan player from London Irish has been in the Cape for barely a week and sampled the ground only once previously, but he will certainly need to have his geographical bearings right this weekend - he makes his first start in Super Rugby against the Waratahs (kickoff 19:10) after getting almost an hour off the bench through necessity against the Cheetahs.

“In terms of fitting in with us, he’s really a fantastic bloke,” explained coach Allister Coetzee on Wednesday.

“So it was good fun when he was late for our team meeting this morning ... because he’d got lost en route.

“We’d started at the High Performance Centre (in Bellville) for gym work and then we all headed in cars for Newlands to train; Jebb was following some of the guys and somehow went astray!”

It was tempting to ask Coetzee whether Sinclair had inadvertently headed for Cape Town Stadium, the venue linked with a possible move by WP Rugby down the line and prominent landmark these days when you head towards town on the N1, but he assured that the player was well aware of the gravitas associated with Newlands.

“It says much about his personality that he isn’t overawed by playing in front of 40 000-plus people ... something he probably doesn’t do that often. He’s coping well in our fold.

“He’s still getting used to our structures, obviously. There’s a lot of fine detail that goes into planning and preparation, so it’s unfair to expect Jebb Sinclair to suddenly become Duane Vermeulen or Nick Koster.

“But he’s doing well. He’s a clever rugby player; he’s lineout-intelligent and becomes a good option for us there.”

Considering the Stormers’ problem with scoring prolific amounts of tries per match, was Coetzee rueing, nevertheless, surrendering the pace and flair offered by now-injured No 8 Nizaam Carr?

“Yes, obviously it was a bit of a setback in terms of his (encouraging) development. He’d had a good start against the Force.

“He came into a wet game there, and nevertheless showed up well, so it would have been nice to see the speed he offers in perfect conditions some time, too ... I know you all want to see us score more tries, which is our intention whenever possible, but there was nothing we could do about the rain in Perth, for example.”

Jebb Sinclair Off to Cape Town: Signs with Stormers

from Planet Rugby
posted May 9 2012

The Stormers have announced the loan signing of Canada number eight Jebb Sinclair, who joins the squad from Premiership side London Irish.

Sinclair comes in as loose forward cover for the side, with Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Nick Koster only due back after the break in June.

The Canadian international will be available for the next four games for the Stormers and will then play for Canada in the June international window before returning to Cape Town for the Stormers' remaining three Super Rugby league fixtures.

In terms of the Sanzar regulations he will not be eligible to play any knockout games for them.

Sinclair has 25 caps for Canada, the last being the RWC clash with New Zealand on October 2.

DTH Returns from Injury: Scores Winning Try for Glasgow

posted April 23 2012

DTH van der Merwe is back in the headlines as he returned from injury and scored the winning try for Glasgow against Treviso in the RaboDirect Pro 12 competition. They now hold 4th place in the standings which is the final playoff spot. There is one game left in the regular season.

You can read the full article here.

DTH has been on the injured list with Glasgow since the World Cup.

DTH's story (full name Daniel Tailliferre Hauman van der Merwe) is an interesting one and highlights the importance of the BC Premier league in identifying and developing talent from across Canada.

DTH arrived in Canada from South Africa with his family in 2003. His family settled in Saskatchewan and DTH went to high school in Regina at Dr. Martin LeBoldus High School. During that time he played for the Saskatchewan U18 and U21 teams. After graduating he came west to play in the BC Premier league for James Bay arriving in 2005. He had a brief contract with Saracens in 2007 and in 2009 he started his professional career with Glasgow.

DTH was about 19 when he started playing in the BC Premier and even at that young age his talent stood out. It was in 2006 that he really began to make a name for himself and he received his first cap in that year, against Barbados. He's gone on to represent Canada 21 times and in that time scored 12 tries. He'll be turning 26 in a few days (April 28th) so the return to playing form (with a try) will add to the celebration. We wish him all the best for the coming year in his professional career.

Here are some photos of the young DTH from our 2006 archives.

This is a game against UVic and it's the young Robin MacDowell making the tackle

A match against Velox and Dan White is in pursuit

Another match against Velox and I believe that's Dean van Camp on the cross cover

Chauncey O'Toole Signs with Ospreys for 2011-2012 Season

posted Aug 7 2011

The Ospreys have bolstered their back-row resources ahead of the 2011-12 season with the signing of Canadian international Chauncey O'Toole.

O'Toole - who was one of the standout players in the 2011 Churchill Cup - will arrive in Swansea after the forthcoming World Cup as he has been named in Canada's 30-man squad for the 2011 showpiece.

The 25-year-old Canadian back-row - who spent some time with the Glasgow Warriors last season - will compete with Justin Tupuric for the openside berth. And O'Toole - who will line up for Canada against the US Eagles on Saturday - is looking forward to his move to the Liberty Stadium.

"I am really excited about joining the Ospreys, a team recognised as being one of the best in world rugby at developing players," O'Toole said. "I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity by the region and can't wait to join up with the squad after the Rugby World Cup."

The Ospreys director of coaching Scott Johnson was delighted to have bagged his man and joins former London Irish back-row George Stowers in making the switch to the RaboDirect PRO12 side.

"To be able to secure Chauncey's services is a real boost for us ahead of the new season," Johnson said. "As an openside, he will provide real competition for Justin Tipuric and his flexibility and ability to play right across the back row provides another option.

"The sheer number of games in the season and the type of game we intend utilising means that it's going to be important to keep our loose forwards fresh so Chauncey will get plenty of game time.

"We've placed a real importance on the character of the individual in our recruitment this summer, and Chauncey is no different. Having spent time with him in Canada recently and got to know him, I can see that he will bring to the region the right desire, commitment and grit that we want our players to have as we move forward on and off the field."

Jebb Sinclair Signs with London Irish: Chauncey O'Toole Linked to Ospreys or Scarlets

posted July 28 2011

Jebb Sinclair joins DTH van der Merwe and Jamie Cudmore as Canadians playing at the top professional levels in Europe. It was announced this week that he's signed a one year deal with London Irish of the English Premiership. The article quotes Sinclair, "Moving to London Irish offers me the opportunity to test myself against the best players in the Northern Hemisphere and a chance to show these players what I'm capable of. I'm looking forward to joining up with the squad after the World Cup and pulling on the London Irish jersey for the first time."

Full Article

Also news that Chauncey O'Toole is being tracked by Welsh clubs Ospreys and Scarlets. The article states:

"He has been dubbed the best ‘amateur player’ in the world but will be a relative unknown in Wales.

Chauncey O’Toole is a Canadian and was named Player of the Tournament in the recent Churchill Cup in England.

But the 25-year-old, who plays amateur rugby in Canada, has caught the attention of the Scarlets and the Ospreys."

Full Article

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