Vancouver, BC – It is time for the final installment of our Rugby Canada watchlist. The RWU Staff and myself, have reviewed our RWU Class of 2014, and now we can naming our Rugby Canada Class of 2015. Take this trip with me as a real Canadian presents the 2015 Rugby Canada Clubs, Coaches and Management To Watch:
Fredericton Loyalists: The Fredericton Loyalists of New Brunswick are our Club of the Year. It is the home club of Canadian international Jebb Sinclair. It is one of only three clubs east of Montreal with full clubhouse and field facilities. It won the $25k TSN (The Sports Network, Canada’s ESPN) challenge last year to bring lots of attention to the sport nationally and locally. Their field facilities was expanded to include a Cricket side this year and also home to a local beach volleyball team. The club have a full mini’s program, junior sides, and men’s (2) and women’s senior sides.. They are now regularly producing national junior candidates and are the home base for the provincial side. A major expansion on the clubhouse has been made and now they have two full-size newly-leveled and seeded pitches and expanded main field seating. They enjoy a major community presence, a good relationship with the city, they also are the hosts of the annual Al Charron Cup tournament. In addition, the Loyalists are perennial contenders for the Caledonia Cup (maritime championship). The most amazing aspect of this is that all these achievements have been achieve in a city with population of around 60k. Simply put, the Fredericton Loyalists are a huge success and a model that any North American club could follow.
Graeme Moffat: Graeme Is our Coach of the Year. Graeme is the head coach of the Prairie Wolf Pack. In that capacity, he almost led them to their 1st ever MacTier Cup, aka The (CRC) Canadian Rugby Championship, falling short on points differential. His influence can be seen in the squad’s dramatically improved play. He also seems to be a big help negotiating internally and soothing the politics that plague most unions. On the pitch, Moffat has a great rapport with the players. The Scottish-born Moffat has only been living in Canada full-time for a few years. Moffat has also assisted with the national U-20s and after having a great CRC, he was invited to assist with the Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) side. He is young and very highly rated coach, who can go really far.
British Columbia Rugby: BC is our Union of the Year. BC has been overtaken at nearly every level by Ontario in performance on the pitch. The Canadian Direct Insurance Premier League is not what it used to be and has been usurped by the CRC as primary selection vehicle for the senior men’s team. Last year, the BC Bears had a terrible year and were only able to beat a woeful Atlantic Rock side, finishing 3rd in the CRC.. It seems that there are too many old timers with the “us-vs-them” mentality still prevalent. With Jim Dixon having stepped down as provincial coach and concentrating on CEO position. A new coach has not been named yet. The province still produce top level junior talent but as a collective and participants in Rugby Canada they are falling behind. How they rebound this year is the question?
Mike Chu: Mike is once again our Administrator of the Year. The big cheese in the BC office, GM and head of rugby operations for Rugby Canada. He has had his ups and downs in the last year as head of the program. The Canadian women were excellent on all fronts. They had a great Women’s Rugby World Cup and an impressive finish in the Women’s 7s World Series. The men’s 7s were good but the men’s 15s were not so good. He has a big year ahead to deal with on men’s front as he will have to find a way to balance players between 7s Olympic qualifiers and the 15s world cup. He will likely also have to find a new senior men’s head coach, as there is a strong likelihood that Kieran Crowley will move on regardless of results after 8 years in charge.
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