The 2017 Senior Men’s Canadian Rugby Championship is set for kick-off Friday as the BC Bears host the Prairie Wolf Pack before the Ontario Blues face the Atlantic Rock the following week.
The 2017 tournament will see each side play four matches, three of which will take place in Calgary, AB.
The CRC acts as a critical pathway to Canada’s senior men’s program with many players having gone on to play for Canada during the Americas Rugby Championship, June and November test windows and at Rugby World Cups.
“The Canadian Rugby Championship is the pinnacle of men’s competition in Canada and players have the opportunity to be selected for the centralized program, the Canada ‘A’ tour to Uruguay in October and if successful, fall tour to Europe,” said Jim Dixon, Rugby Canada’s General Manager of Performance and Rugby Operations. “With our Rugby World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the end of January it is imperative our best players are playing high quality rugby over the next six months and the CRC is the start of the preparation process.”
This year’s format sees each team face each other once with the two best teams in the standings playing in the MacTier Cup final on August 19. The other two teams will battle for bronze on the same day.
The 2017 competition will feature a wealth of internationally test-capped players. The Atlantic Rock features Mike Hamson, Brett Johnson, Shane O’Leary, Patrick Parfrey and Jon Phelan while the BC Bears squad boasts Anthony Luca, Ryan Ackerman, Liam Chisholm, Admir Cejvanovic, Phil Mack, Connor Braid, Sean Duke, Guiseppe du Toit, George Barton, Brock Staller and Ollie Nott.
The Ontario Blues, the defending MacTier Cup champions, possess Rob Brouwer, Djustice Sears-Duru, Tom Dolezel, Eric Howard, Paul Ciulini, Lucas Rumball, Andrew Ferguson, Dan Moor, Rory McDonnell, Kainoa Lloyd and Andrew Coe. The Prairie Wolf Pack features Lucas Albornoz, Nick Blevins, Gradyn Bowd, Kyle Gilmour, Ryan Kotlewski, Gordon McRorie, Clay Panga, Robbie Povey and Mozac Samson.
“The 2017 CRC will give us the opportunity to look at a number of players as we continue to build towards 2019 Rugby World Cup qualification,” said Canada’s senior men’s head coach Mark Anscombe. “I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store over the next two months as we continue to build our depth across all positions.”
The Blues have won five MacTier Cups, including a string of four straight from 2011-14. The BC Bears (2009), Atlantic Rock (2010) and Prairie Wolf Pack (2015) have each won the competition once.
All eight games will be shown LIVE online with streaming details to follow. For more information, including full rosters, please visit www.canadianrugbychampionship.com
2017 Senior Men’s Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule:
July 14 – BC Bears vs. Prairie Wolf Pack (Vancouver, BC)
July 22 – Atlantic Rock vs. Ontario Blues (Truro, NS)
Round 2: August 13 (Calgary, AB)
Ontario Blues vs. Prairie Wolf Pack
Atlantic Rock vs. BC Bears
Round 3: August 16 (Calgary, AB)
Ontario Blues vs. BC Bears
Prairie Wolf Pack vs. Atlantic Rock
Playoffs: August 19 (Calgary, AB)
3rd vs. 4th
1st vs. 2nd
MacTier Cup Winners:
2009: BC Bears
2010: Atlantic Rock
2011: Ontario Blues
2012: Ontario Blues
2013: Ontario Blues
2014: Ontario Blues
2015: Prairie Wolf Pack
2016: Ontario Blues