PRAIRIE WOLF BACK
(Alberta/ Saskatchewan/ Manitoba)
2012 record: 3-2 (2nd)
Last CRC title: None
A new year brings a new direction for the Praire Wolf Pack, the only team still yet to lift the MacTier Cup since the CRC was created in 2009. Heading up the program this year will be Graeme Moffat, recently promoted from assistant coach to his new role as Director of Rugby. A two-time provincial champion coach with club side Calgary Hornets, Moffat takes over from Australian coach Col Jeffs who led the Wolf Pack to back-to-back runner up finishes in the national competition. The move was part of a long term restructuring plan for the region as they look to align themselves with the junior and development programs.
"We are the only team to have not won the CRC title and we have a very ambitious coaching staff in place," said Wolf Pack director Ryan Smith. "Graeme has gone from working as an assistant to head coach and we are looking forward to great things."
The Prairies will most likely be without the services of Hubert Buydens and Andrew Tidemann this season, as the World Cup front row standouts are pursuing contracts in New Zealand and France, respectively. When available, the squad will benefit from the leadership of Canada Sevens speedsters Nanyak Dala and Jeff Hassler and also welcome the return of Scott Franklin who has spent the winter honing his skills in BC. National team centre Nick Blevins has also kept in game shape with Vancouver-based UBC Old Boy Ravens and will be joined at the Wolf Pack this year by Edmonton's Brodie Henderson as well as U20 graduate Thomas Roche.
Fans in the Alberta capital region will get to see Henderson and the Wolf Pack in action this summer when Ellerslie Rugby Park plays host to a CRC matchup against BC on September 21st, the first in recent years to be staged outside of Calgary.
"We don't want the program to be Calgary-centric and it's a great move for us to hold our last game in Edmonton," added Smith. "There is a great organizing crew there who know how to run an event, the same group that will be helping Rugby Canada stage the upcoming Test match against the US."