RWU Friend Ray’s Rugby has graced us with his presence again.
Vancouver, BC – Hey there RWU fans!. After providing so much info for the Rugby Canada Class of 2015, I was roped into reviewing it too. With the help of RWU’s Canadian staff member Kyle Philips we have put together a pretty handy review, which will set us up well as we prepare to reveal the Class of 2016 later this week. Without further ado, here is our review of the Rugby Canada Class of 2015:
Women’s Player of the Year – Tyson Beukeboom: Tyson found the form we expected, as her performance with the provincial rep side Ontario Storm earned her the Ontario Female Player of the Year award. She then earned a spot–and played very well–for the Canadian national side in the Women’s Rugby Super Series, a four-team tournament featuring the USA, England, New Zealand, and Canada. It is likely Beukeboom will move from strength to strength in 2016.
Men’s Domestic Player of the Year – Gordon McRorie: The young Kilted-Canuck, McRorie, had a terrific CRC (Canadian Rugby Championship) for the champion, the Alberta Wolf Pack. McRorie was essentially the first-choice scrum-half for Canada up to and including the World Cup, but unfortunately the coaching staff’s game plan didn’t suit his style, and he didn’t have the best season. Still, McRorie reportedly turned down a few pro offers from overseas, opting to stay in Canada and improve his game. Expect him to be a key man for Canada in the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship (ARC).
Men’s International Player of the Year – Connor Braid: Braid comfortably settled into the No. 12 shirt for Canada, and was playing very well before cracking his jaw against Italy in the World Cup. Surprisingly, Braid is still without a pro contract, and looks likely to return to the Canadian 7s setup in an attempt to play at the Olympics.
Young Player of the Year – Cameron Pierce: Pierce had a great second half of the season with Pau, helping his side win promotion to the Top 14 and earning a two- year contract extension in the process. For some inexplicable reason, however, Pierce was ignored by Canada’s selectors; our guess is that his age was a factor, as was his absence from the Canadian international season. Pierce is still on an upwards curve and hopefully Canada’s new coach will take notice of him sooner rather than later.
7s Player of the Year – Justin Douglas: Justin struggled with injury and bizarre selection policy by 7s head coach Liam Middleton, who continually overlooked the young winger despite being his being the fastest player on the team. When all was said and done, Douglas looked to have been restored to a starting role at the end of last year–but you never know in this country. Douglas impresses every time he plays, and is capable of much bigger things.
Club of the Year – Fredericton Loyalists: The rebuild continues for the Fredericton Loyalists of New Brunswick, with a number of promising players gunning for national age-rade selection. Clubhouse and field renovations are also nearing completion, while the Loyalists’ community presence is ever-growing. Despite a changing of the guard on the pitch, they are still the best rugby club in the Maritimes.
Coach of the Year – Graeme Moffat: Coach Moffat had an outstanding year, winning the CRC and being named an assistant coach for Canada’s World Cup team. He is expected to continue in an expanded role for the upcoming ARC, and remains a potential candidate for the job as national senior men’s coach.
Union of the Year – British Columbia Rugby: IIt was another bad year for BC rugby. The Bears struggled in the CRC, and internal politics continue to be a problem throughout the organization. CEO Jim Dixon moving up to replace Mike Chu at Rugby Canada,Annabel Kehoe has been hired as his replacement. Who knows when they will finally get themselves out of the quagmire.
Administrator of the Year – Mike Chu: Chu returned home to New Zealand to take up a position with the NZRU, leaving Rugby Canada in a tough spot. His presence was a huge positive, and after CEO Graham Brown also left during the World Cup, the organization has been left a bit rudderless. The year ahead is huge, and Rugby Canada’s front office needs to be sorted out before any on-field progress can be made.
That is it for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Nick Hall, DJ Eberle, Jake Frechette, Scheenagh Harrington, Jamie Loyd, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter, Ronan Nelson, Kaitlin McCabe, Kyle Phillips, Rocky Brown and Declan Yeats, respectively