Thursday, December 17, 2009 - Submitted by George Huffman
After waiting until early summer to release the 2009 schedule, the Americas Rugby Championship got a jump on planning this year and has announced its schedule for the 2010 event.
The second annual tournament will be held in August and September of next year in locations ranging from Newfoundland to British Columbia.
The early schedule release was a deliberate move in an attempt to ease organization of the tournament and increase the number of spectators attending the games.
“Last year we were faced with unfavourable timing and a late tournament and schedule announcement, which left supporters and the general rugby community in the dark,” said ARC organizer Myles Spencer. "This was clearly reflected in the attendance figures. We needed to address this for the 2010 season to ensure we start building on the awareness and marketability of the competition as early as possible.”
In a format similar to last year’s inaugural championship, the ARC will feature four regional teams from across Canada playing three round robin games each before the two teams with the best records move on to the Canadian Finals..
With no changes to the teams, 2009 Canadian champion BC Bears will be joined by the Ontario Blues, the Prairie Wolf Pack and The Rock from AtlanticCanada.
After last year’s tournament got rave reviews for bringing aspects of club and international together into one tournament, organizers and participants are hoping to build an even better tournament for 2010.
“The inaugural Americas Rugby Championships played in 2009 were an enormous success from a playing perspective in Canada”, said former Rugby Canada President and current Rock Coach Pat Parfrey. "As attendances at some games were disappointing, the teams felt it was critical to complete the 2010 Canadian schedule before the New Year so that teams could focus not only on player preparation but also on event management.”
This strategy was brought forth in the stakeholders meeting held in Toronto on November 30, and is expected to bring a better product to the spectators, on and off the field.
The 2010 tournament kicks off in Newfoundland on August 7th when The Rock host the Ontario Blues.
As of yet, whatever team advances to represent Canada in the ARC finals will have to wait to find out their opponent because, other then the US Select team, no other teams have finalized their participation.
Following the ARC finals on September 25, a Canadian Select side will be chosen with players from the four Canadian teams. This side will then spend October touring at locations to be determined shortly.
Round Robin Aug 7 Ontario Blues @ The Rock (Swilers Rugby Park) Aug 14 BC Bears @ Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary Rugby Park Aug 21 Ontario Blues @ Prairie Wolf Pack (Calgary Rugby Park) The Rock @ BC Bears (venue TBC) Sept 4 BC Bears @ Ontario Blues (venue TBC) Prairie Wolf Pack @ The Rock (Swilers Rugby Park)
Canada Final Sept 18 2nd Seed @ 1st Seed (venue TBC) ARC Final** Sept 25 USA vs Winner of Canada Final (venue TBC)