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Friday, September 4, 2009 - Submitted by Doug Crosse
With the opening game of the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship poised for Monday in Calgary where the visiting Rock take on the newly minted Prairie Wolf Pack, we thought it would be interesting to take a look back at how the competition has progressed to this new level.

(To buy tickets online for this Monday’s game -  got to )

In 2005 the International Rugby Board announced new initiatives for Tier  II nations – including Canada and the US, to help develop the next level of competition to test rugby. 

In order to provide a platform that would both be useful to selectors and coaches, and also interesting to the fans, a cross-border competition – the North America Four, was born.

Starting in 2006 four regional sides, two each from Canada and the USA were formed. The Hawks and the Falcons would do battle with Canada East and Canada West with a tournament format leading to a finalist pairing in Columbus, Ohio.

The opening matches saw all four teams descend on British Columbia and Rotary Park in Abbotsford, BC. Canada West opened the tourney with a 98-0 pounding of the Hawks, while the Falcons beat the Canada East team 29-14 – creating some now great rivalries.

Through the next four rounds there were some thrilling games including a 28-28 draw between East and West in front of a packed UBC Thunderbird Stadium crowd.

Along with the excitement some great talents emerged on both sides of the border, including the emergence of Ed Fairhurst for the West and Derek Daypuck in the East.

West would eventually meet the US Falcons in the final at Fred Beekman Field at Ohio State University. DTH van der Merwe scored two tries in a thrilling 31-20 win.

2007 saw the number of venues expand to include Oregon and California and various sites in British Columbia, and the length of the competition expand to cover four months from April to July.

That year the West and the Falcons emerged at the top of the table after the round robin,  with Canada claiming the 1st seed with a 4-1 record and 18 points, the Falcs at 3-2 and 15 points.

On an extremely hot day in Abbotsford the US Hawks pipped the Canada East team on a last second try to take third spot 34-29, while it was one way traffic for the West as it took its second straight title with a 43-11 win.

Pat Desaulles, NikT renkel, Aidan Buan, David Biddle, Nanyak Dala and Scott Franklin scored tries that day – and with the latter three cementing themselves with selectors for the 2007 World Cup squad taking place in France in September.

The match also saw the emergence of Takudzwa Ngwenyafor the Falcons, who would go on to score one of the tries of the 07 World Cup against South Africa’s Brian Habana.

2008 saw the tournament open in Toronto, bringing Canada East its first ‘home game’ in the three seasons of the tournament. It appeared that the East had beaten its jinx of last second collapses, but the West came from behind to score on the last play of the game, with hooker Pat Riordan snaring a try off a five metre lineout maul to claim a 20-15 win at the death.

Once again it was the West and the Falcons topping the table in the modified format that would see that it was a US v Canada contest at the new Infinity Park Glendale, in Colorado.

In a nail-biting fina lthe West held on for a tough 16-11 win, while the East had to endure another disappointment, allowing a late try from the Hawks that ended the consolation match in a 17-17 draw.

So with 34 games behind the NA4 – a new chapter emerges as the four teams of the Canadian division, the BC Bears, Prairie Wolfpack, Ontario Blues and The Rock, prepare for battle starting on September 7th.

The top two teams to emerge from the interlock to take on the USA Selects and Argentina Jaguars October 17th in Toronto.

2009 ARC Schedule

Mon, Sep. 7
2:00P The Rock @ Prairies Calgary Rugby Park

Watch this game live and for free at

Sat, Sep. 12?

3:00P Ontario @ BC Brockton Oval
Not available online

Sat, Sep. 19
3:00P Prairies @ Ontario Fletchers Fields – delayed broadcast on Rogers TV
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3:00P BC @ The Rock Swilers RFC
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Sat, Sep. 26
3:00P The Rock @ Ontario Fletchers Fields – delayed broadcast on Rogers TV

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3:00P Prairies @ BC Bears - Brockton Oval
Not available online

Sat, Oct. 10

Argentina @ USA Select - Glendale, Colorado - Infinity Park

Canada 2 @ Canada 1 Location TBA – Broadcast TBC

Sat, Oct. 17

3:00P Loser ARG/USA @ Loser Can1/Can 2 Fletcher’s Fields – Markham – delayed broadcast on Rogers  TV

4:30P Winner USA/Arg  @ Winner Can1/Can2 Fletchers Fields - delayed broadcast on Rogers  TV

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Player Team Points
Cooper Coats 44
Giuseppe De Toit 42
Andrew Ferguson 35
Grant Crowell 25
Sean Ferguson 20
Player Team Tries
Grant Crowell 5
Sean Ferguson 4
Kainoa Lloyd 4
Jake Bentley 3
Dustin Dobravsky 3