NEW YORK, NY – Last week we named our 2013 Canada Rugby Players To Watch and we promised that this week we’d give you the 2013 Canadian Clubs, Coaches & Administrator To Watch. In case you still don’t know why we do this or where we got the idea, we poached the idea from a Hip-Hop magazine that named its class of 2012 in 2011. Today though, lets begin with our 2013 Clubs, Coaches & Management To Watch.
Balmy Beach RFC: our Club of the Year – is the Ontario Rugby Union, Marshall Premier Division Club from… Balmy Beach. The ORU has won the 2011 and 2012 versions of the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC), which is top domestic comp in Canada. It pits the country’s 4 premier rugby regions – Ontario, British Columbia, Novia Scotia and Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan – against each other. In 2012, Balmy provided 7 players to the ORU team –more than any other club – while finishing the regular season 2nd in the division. Balmy also provided players for the ORU U-20 team. The club is one of the larger and most leveled in the country. They have a co-ed program with Under 6, 8, 10 and 12. They also have U-14 and U-18 to feed their senior men and women. BBRFC has a very bright future.
John Tait: Our Coach to Watch is John Tait, head coach of the Canadian Womens 7s team. Tait had a very positive 2012 with the Canadian women winning tournaments or being thereabouts. However, like his US counterpart Ric Suggit, the stakes just got higher. There is an official Womens 7s World Series now and later this year, the Rugby World Cup 7s in Moscow. As a result of these two events, Rugby Canada has upped the funding to the Womens Program. Tait now has better funding and more cooperation from Rugby Canada, there will now be pressure on him to deliver. Delivering results when there is no pressure and delivering when there is pressure are two different animals. We will wait to see how Tait handles this pressure.
British Columbia Rugby: BC Rugby is the union to watch in 2013. They are an odd choice since they are traditionally the strongest union and “sharp point of the stick” for Rugby Canada. However, the times they are changin’ and with the ORU’s emergence as CRC winners the past two years, while providing a growing number of National and youth team players, there is a new king. Further, Toronto got better attendance for the Summer Tours than Burnaby did. But BC Rugby is a very proud union, sometimes too proud. Their chippiness towards Rugby Canada on certain policies and tour schedules and the importance of fall league rugby might need to be examined. It will be interesting to see what path they take.
Mike Chu: A Kiwi being the General Manager of Rugby Operations & High Performance of a Second Tier Rugby Union is no big surprise. What is a surprise about Mr. Chu is that he was not a rugby player; he was a field hockey player. Being a field hockey player in NZ is tough, due to issues ranging from field quality to administration issues. Chu made the National Team. and after that focused on improving and solving the admin and organizational issues. This work made Chu into an excellent Sports Administrator and it was not long before the NZRU came calling. After doing a great job for them as High Performance Coach Development Manager, Rugby Canada decided he was the right man to fill their rugby operations void. Chu has only been the role slightly over a year but the performance of Canada in the Americas Rugby Championship, made people take note. The greater collaboration between the Senior National squads and the youth teams are his brainchild, along with the restructuring of the U-20 coaching set-up. If he continues his consistent rise, he will soon be off to a 6N or 6NB nation in a few years.
That’s it’s for now… Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @Mathew Drew Turner and @Ebstide52, respectively.
Until tomorrow and as always… Stay low and keep pumping those legs.