From the Editor’s Desk – May 2023

From the Editor’s Desk: National Men’s XVs and U20 Updates; BC Boys High School Update; A Comparative Look at the Taranaki Annual Report: UPDATE ON U20 PROGRAM

BC Boys High School Updates

Shawnigan won the Island final over Oak Bay 36-10, St. George’s defeated Carson Graham in the Mainland final 13-5. It’s likely those two teams will be top seeds in the Provincials coming up May 31st to June 3rd. Elgin Park defeated Lord Tweedsmuir 41-7 in the South Fraser championship.

The May BC School Sports newsletter is here. Rugby must be one of the more high profile spring sports as BCSS is only advertising tickets sales for two of the sports, rugby and track & field.

Canada U20 Men

We don’t know too much of what’s going on with the Canada U20 team, they recently finished a tour to South America, losing close games to Uruguay and Spain. They’re getting ready to face the USA in a two game series June 6 and 10 in South Carolina. We know more about the USA preparation through an article on Goff Rugby Report. The USA certainly look more organized than in previous years. The matches will apparently be streamed on FloRugby which is a USA based service that charges $30 a month or a $150 a year. We don’t know yet if Rugby Canada has arranged free streaming for Canadian viewers.

The Canadian U20 program has an instagram account that has some updates.

UPDATE: On Monday RC will release the U20 Roster of 28 heading to the USA for the World Trophy Qualifier. There is a camp in Brampton and the squad will play the Arrows Academy at 7pm on Tuesday night at the Brampton Rugby Club, then depart the next morning for Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Canada Senior Men

Do the men’s XVs have games this summer, we don’t know for sure but if they do it will likely be against Pacific Nations opposition, either a national team or a team playing in a professional league. The new HPD will be starting in June and maybe it’s his call. Would a domestic top 50 game or series of games be a better use of money to evaluate players or do we just pick an MLR based squad to head offshore to play available opposition? It’s the start of a new World Cup cycle for Canada, if you were the new High Performance guy coming in with a limited budget where would your money go?

Taranaki Annual Report

Since we have a few BC players competing at club level in Taranaki it merited a look when the Taranaki Rugby annual report came out this week. It was a chance to compare Canadian rugby to NZ rugby at the financial and organizational level.

Taranaki Rugby could be compared to BC Rugby in the hierarchy of their national bodies. Taranaki run on a budget of around 4.3 million. Their income is about 2.2 million from the national rugby union, 1.5 million from running a pro team (sponsorship, tickets, hospitality, signage) and 600K from community grants which could be construed as gov’t money. Their expenses are 2.2 million from running a pro team, 1.7 million from admin and 400K on community rugby. The largest part of running the pro team are player contracts which amount to about 1.4 million, taking a guess at a paid roster of 30 that would be about $45K per player. A decent wage at provincial professional level, higher than the MLR average from what we’ve read.

Converted to Canadian terms it would be like Rugby Canada paying the BCRU 2.2 million a year, the BC Bears running as a pro team in a league organized by Rugby Canada, paying their pro players a living wage and the gov’t kicking in some money as well. The BCRU would have some money, about half a million, to invest in community rugby, aka rep teams, clubs, academies.

A note in the Annual Report shows how the success of the national team has trickled down. Silver Lakes Equity Group bought a stake in the “commercial
business arm of NZR” aka the All Blacks brand, and 33 million of that was invested in community rugby which trickled down to the provinces and clubs.

It’s apparent how wide the gap is between Canadian and NZ rugby at the financial and organizational level.

Read Full Report

Posted in Editorials.

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