CALGARY – The players, coaches, fans and, of course, the MacTier Cup itself, will be in Calgary this week as the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) will be contested over a week of thrilling action at Calgary Rugby Park, culminating with the title bout Aug. 19.
With two games already in the books, the four Canadian outfits – the BC Bears, Prairie Wolf Pack, Ontario Blues and Atlantic Rock – are set to descend upon Calgary for the final six matches of the CRC.
Starting Sunday, some of the very best players in the country will compete for national glory, with the Blues taking on the Wolf Pack (3pmET/12pmPT) followed by the Rock against the Bears (5pmET/2pmPT). All six matches will be streamed live at www.facebook.com/RugbyCanada.
Following an entertaining first two contests that saw the Blues edge the Rock 24-17 and the Bears knock off the Wolf Pack 43-0, the final four round robin contests will determine the two teams that will play for the national title Aug. 19 at 9pmET/6pmPT. The third place game will kickoff at 7pmET/4pmPT.
With the Bears and Blues leading the charge early on – both sides earned five points in their openers – the pressure falls on their opponents Sunday as a loss for either the Rock or the Wolf Pack would see their title hopes start to fade.
This year’s format sees each team face each other once with the two best teams in the standings playing in the MacTier Cup championship game. The other two teams will battle for third place.
Ontario Blues vs. Prairie Wolf Pack (3pmET/12pmPT) In Sunday’s opener, the Blues, who are the defending MacTier Cup champions, will aim to build off their success against the Rock, which came about thanks to a 24-point first half. Ontario’s efforts will be buoyed by the addition of Andrew Coe this week, who joins the team after earning three caps with the Canadian senior team earlier in the summer.
The Blues will also feature the likes of Paul Ciulini, who was named to this week’s roster after missing Ontario’s first outing, along with Rob Brouwer, Tom Dolezel, Eric Howard, Lucas Rumball, Andrew Ferguson, Dan Moor, Rory McDonnell and Kainoa Lloyd.
Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack find themselves nearing must-win territory. As the only team to go pointless in the their first contest, they enter Sunday at the bottom of the table. However, an upset win over the Blues would put them back in the mix and would certainly spice up the competition.
As was the case in their opener, the Wolf Pack will be without national team scrumhalf Gordon McRorie, which once again leaves a large hole to fill amongst the backs. The Prairie side were held off the scoreboard in their last outing and will look to the likes of Lucas Albornoz, Nick Blevins, Gradyn Bowd, Kyle Gilmour, Ryan Kotlewski, Clay Panga, Robbie Povey and Mozac Samson to help turn their fortunes around.
BC Bears vs. Atlantic Rock (5pmET/2pmPT) The BC Bears, who haven’t won a CRC title since capturing the championship in 2009, will run out for the second match of the day riding a considerable high after their comprehensive opening-day victory over the Wolf Pack. Individually, it was Brock Staller, who was the hero of the match in the Bears mid-July contest, as he tallied three tries to lead BC to a convincing win.
The ever-creative Phil Mack and Anthony Luca will once again lead the Bears, while the likes of Guiseppe du Toit, Harjun Gill and Staller are all hot commodities for an in-form BC side. New additions to the BC lineup include Dustin Dubrovsky, Blake Van Heningen, Karsten Laitner, Kimi Vuratunuga, Noah Barker, Rylie Darnardo, Shea Wakefield, Kevin Leask and Tua Va'a.
On the other side of the ball, the Rock hope to build on the momentum they gathered in the second half of their games against the Blues. After trailing 24-7 at halftime, the Atlantic team outscored Ontario 10-0 over the final 40 minutes.
The Rock, who haven’t won the CRC since taking the title in 2010, will take the pitch with the likes of Mike Hamson, Brett Johnson, Patrick Parfrey. Jon Phelan and Connor Keys leading the way.
Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule July 14 – BC Bears 43 Prairie Wolf Pack 0 July 22 – Ontario Blues 24 Atlantic Rock 17 August 13 – Ontario Blues vs. Prairie Wolf Pack – 3pm ET/12pm PT August 13 – BC Bears vs. Atlantic Rock – 5pm ET/2pm PT August 16 – BC Bears vs. Ontario Blues – 7pm ET/4pm PT August 16 – Atlantic Rock vs. Prairie Wolf Pack – 9pm ET/6pm PT August 19 – 3rd Place Match – 7pm ET/4pm PT August 19 – Championship Game – 9pm ET/6pm PT
Canadian Rugby Championship – Rosters Atlantic Rock Abdelmonen, Moe - Halifax Tars Alexander, Colin - Balmy Beach Barry, Graham - Halifax Tars Carter, Liam - Balmy Beach Chahwan, Jake - Ottawa Irish Coats, Cooper - Halifax Tars Debove, Charles - Ste. Anne de Bellevue Dickie, Evan - Enfield RFC Forrest, Alex - PEI Mudmen Hamson. Michael - Halifax Tars Hotton, Lucas - Town of Mt. Royal Johnson, Brett - Truro Saints Keys, Connor - Ottawa Indians Lagain, Martial - Ste. Anne de Bellevue Lantos, Daniel - Swilers RFC Lester. Brad - Dogs RFC McCarthy, John - Baymen RFC McNicholas, Patrick - Swilers RFC O'Sullivan, Carson Parfrey, Owen - Swilers RFC Parfrey, Patrick Jr. - Swilers RFC Phelan, Jon Pomroy, Tony - Baymen RFC Power, Jordon - Dogs RFC Sehic, Emil - Loyalists RFC Walsh, Frank - Vandals RFC Staff Blanks, Simon - Coach Hanratty, Jack - Coach Graham, Rick – Hon. Manager Parfrey, Patrick Sr. - Director of Rugby Parfrrey, Kevin - Therapist
BC Bears Paul Ahn - Vancouver, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Noah Baker - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Luke Campbell - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Neil Courtney - Vancouver, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Rylie Darnardo - Victoria, BC, Castaway Wanderers RFC Dustin Dubrovsky - Victoria, BC, Castaway Wanderers RFC Giusseppe DuToit - Victoria, BC, UVIC Vikes RFC Doug Fraser - Victoria, BC, Castaway Wanderers RFC Harjun Gill - Vancouver, BC, UBCOB Ravens RFC Andrew Lackner - Pitt Meadows, BC, Burnaby Lake RFC Karsten Laitner - Vancouver, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Travis Larsen - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Kevin Leask - Victoria, BC, UVIC Vikes RFC Anthony Luca - Pitt Meadows, BC, Burnaby Lake RFC Phil Mack - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Craig McLaughlin - Burnaby, BC, Burnaby Lake RFC Aaron McLelland - Vancouver, BC, UBCOB Ravens RFC Mike Nieuwenhuysen - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Nakai Penny - Comox, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Cam Polson - Victoria, BC, Castaway Wanderers RFC Jordan Reid-Harvey - Vancouver, BC, Capilano RFC Gavin Rowell - Abbotsford, BC, UVIC Vikes RFC Brock Staller - Vancouver, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Tua Va'a - Victoria, BC, Westshore RFC Blake Van Heningen - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Kimi Vuratunuga - Vancouver, BC, Burnaby Lake RFC Shea Wakefield - Victoria, BC, James Bay AA Connor Weyell - Vancouver, BC, UBC Thunderbirds RFC Staff Tony Healy - Head Coach Phil Mack - Assistant Coach Des Lynch - Manager/Mental Skills Coach
Prairie Wolf Pack Lucas Albornoz - Burnaby Lake Brandon Baker - Regina Campion Grads Jake Bentley - Calgary Canucks Nicholas Blevins - Calgary Hornets Robert Blunden - St. Albert RFC Adam Bontus - St. Albert RFC Gradyn Bowd - Red Deer Titans Hubert Buydens - Saskatoon Wild Oats Mark Discombe - Regina Rogues Riley Fahlman - Regina Campion Grads Gilbert Connor - Bow Valley Grizzlies Kyle Gilmour - St. Albert RFC Cam Hall - Strathcona Druids Wayde Hodgen - Calgary Hornets Pete Houlihan - Strathcona Druids Ryan Kotlewski - Calgary Saints Jeremy Kyne - Strathcona Druids Nick McAuley - Calgary Saints Kyle Morrison - Edmonton Nor’Westers Carl Pocock - Calgary Rams Robbie Povey - Calgary Hornets Casey Reed - Univ of Victoria Jake Robinson - St. Albert RFC Mozac Samson - Calgary Saints Evan Thomas - Edmonton Lep/Tigers Conor Turner - Calgary Hornets Staff Col Jeffs - Head Coach Gordon McRorie - Assistant Coach Tyler Hawes - Assistant Coach Melissa Petryna - Therapist Jim Kazakoff - Manager Sean Tindall - Assistant Manager Jo Reinbold - Assistant Manager Colby Westgard - Therapist
Ontario Blues Rob Brouwer (capt), Lindsay RFC Tom Dolezel, London St. Georges Ryan Surgenor, Bytown Blues Pat Lynott, Bytown Blues Eric Howard, Brantford Harlequins Andrew Quattrin, Aurora Barbarians Hank McQueen, Balmy Beach Mike Sheppard, Stoney Creek Camels Lucas Rumball, Balmy Beach Andrew Wilson, Crusaders Marcello Wainwright, Toronto Saracens Pete Milazzo, Toronto Saracens Seb Pearson, London St. Georges Paul Ciulini, Aurora Barbarians Kyle Lagasca, Toronto Saracens Andrew Ferguson, Crusaders Mario Van Der Westhuizen, Guelph Redcoats Shawn Windsor, Stoney Creek Camels Josh Campbell, London St. Georges Dan Moor, Balmy Beach Mitch Richardson, Stoney Creek Camels Andrew Coe, Markham Irish Rory Mcdonell, Brantford Harlequins Kainoa Lloyd, Mississauga Blues John Sheridan, Markham Irish Brandon McLeod, Aurora Barbarians Staff Chris Silverthorn - Head Coach Cory Hector - Assistant Coach Mark Winokur - Team Manager Chris Kelly - Athletic Therapist Rodin Lozada - Video Analyst Dr. Chris Gallimore - Team Doctor
Canadian Rugby Championship – Past Champions 2016 - Ontario Blues 2015 - Prairie Wolf Pack 2014 - Ontario Blues 2013 - Ontario Blues 2012 - Ontario Blues 2011 - Ontario Blues 2010 - Atlantic Rock 2009 - BC Bears