UBC Win Inaugural Canadian Men’s University XVs Championship

The inaugural Canadian Men’s University XVs Championship took place November 16-19, 2017 at the University of Guelph. The Canadian Rugby Foundation provided a grant to finance the tournament as part of its platform for developing Canadian grassroots rugby. The tournament included six teams, two from BC (UVic and UBC), two from Ontario (Guelph and McMaster), one from Quebec (Concordia) and one from the Maritimes (UPEI).

The University of British Columbia (UBC) won the tournament with a 37-12 win over the University of Victoria (UVic). McMaster came 3rd ahead of hosts University of Guelph.

from Rugby Canada

GUELPH, ON – The first ever national champion of men’s university rugby has been crowned. The UBC Thunderbirds defeated their provincial rival Victoria Vikes 37-12 in the inaugural gold medal game at the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship on a cold, snowy afternoon Sunday afternoon at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium.

The Thunderbirds hoisted the new Spencer McTavish Trophy, named after the player and coaching legend who spent 30 years with the UBC program.

“It’s a very special moment,” said Thunderbirds’ head coach Rameses Langston. “The trophy being named after a good friend and mentor Spence McTavish makes it mean even more. This was in our sights. We were excited when the tournament came up and we knew it would be a lot of hard wors with great teams challenging for this. It’s nice to be recognized throughout the country as the number one university for rugby.”

The champions, who compete with Victoria in the B.C. Premiership, showed their dominance immediately and went up 32-0 after the first half. Wing Cole Keffer, centre Nico Cironomos, eight man Nick Allen, and Man of the Match lock James Carson, scored four consecutive tries in a 13-minute span of the opening half to seize control over their provincial rival. Outside half Theo Sauder, who led the inaugural tournament in scoring with 41 points, added a penalty kick in the 35th minute, followed by a try from tighthead Clint Lemkus, for a commanding 32-0 lead.

Flanker James O’Neill finally broke through for Victoria in the 68th minute, scoring the Vikes’ first try. After UBC’s Carson touched down for the second time in the match two minutes later, Victoria was given a penalty try in the 75th minute to close the scoring.

“Team is the best description,” Langston said regarding UBC’s effort on Sunday. “Everybody did their jobs. Different guys took it upon themselves to score points and play great defence. I’m just really proud of the way they played as a unit. All 26 guys got to contribute, which is a special thing.”

Victoria head coach Doug Tate was well aware of what UBC could do on the pitch. The Vikes lost to the Thunderbirds 44-24 in league play earlier this season and following an epic 11-11 draw with the host Guelph Gryphons on Saturday that sent Victoria to the final, there wasn’t much left against their strong neighbour.

“They’re a good team,” said Tate. “They outplayed us in the first half and used the wind to their advantage. Both teams had to play in their own end and fight against the wind. It was a fair result. We came back a little bit and it was nice to not get shutout. That’s a pretty powerful team.

“For our guys, they really enjoyed playing against their contemporaries. A lot of these guys competed on rep teams together, provincial teams, so they’re used to playing against each other. And they take a lot of pride in it.”

Tate was impressed with the first ever men’s national championship, acknowledging that the event can be fine-tuned in the future.

“Guelph did an outstanding job,” he said. “From the field staff to the concessions to the bus service, everything was top notch.”

Langston was pleased his team was recognized as the best men’s university side in Canada but suggested that winning the title was a beginning, and not an end.”

“Now we have to work even harder to maintain that status,” he said.

University All Star Team

School / Player
1 McMaster Mike Smith
2 McMaster Jack McRogers
3 UBC Clint Lemkus
4 UBC James Carson
5 Guelph Blake Aram
6 UVIC James O’Neill
7 UBC Jake Ikeda
8 Guelph Kolby Francis
9 UBC Will Percellier
10 UBC Theo Sauder
11 UVIC Aiden McMullan
12 UBC Nathan Rees
13 McMaster Mitch Richardson
14 UBC Cole Keffer
15 UBC Fraser Hurst

Canadian Rugby Foundation Provides Grant for Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship

The board of the Canadian Rugby Foundation are proud to announce their support of the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship with an annual grant of $20,000 as a key part of its platform for developing Canadian grassroots rugby.

This idea had its genesis in discussions between Doug Tate (UVic) and Mike Holmes (CRF) and subsequently with like-minded individuals Jeff Chan and Keith Labbett in Ontario. Though the concept had been tried before it did not have staying power – likely due to the lack of financial support.

The championship takes place from November 16th to 19th at the University of Guelph.

from Rugby Canada

The University of Guelph, Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation are pleased to jointly announce that the inaugural Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship will be held November 16th to 19th at the University of Guelph.

The Championship will feature teams from all four U SPORTS conferences (Canada West, OUA, RSEQ and AUS) and will have a six-team format with two pools of three teams playing on Thursday through Saturday, November 16-18 at Guelph’s Varsity Field, home of the Guelph Gryphons Men’s and Women’s Rugby teams. Guelph will be one of the six teams in the tournament, either as the OUA Champions or as the host team. The Bronze medal match will be held in the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium on Sunday, November 19 followed by the Gold medal match to crown the first 21st century Champion of Canadian University Men’s Rugby.

“We are pleased to pick up an initiative dating back to the University of Victoria in the 1980’s and 1990’s to create a sustained and truly national Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship. We would like to thank all of the staff at the University of Guelph’s Department of Athletics for agreeing to host this exciting event and we hope that this will be the beginning of a great tradition,” stated Keith Labbett and Jeff Chan co-chairs of the organizing committee. “It’s not often there is an opportunity to be on the ground floor of an exciting championship event, and I anticipate the same kinds of success we enjoyed with the Canadian College Bowl Board – the Vanier Cup predecessor – from its early days” added Chan.

“Rugby Canada recognizes Canadian university rugby as an important historical and continuing pathway to playing for the National Men’s Fifteens Team and are pleased to support this championship. We believe the tournament will be a success and are very confident we will see numerous players achieve national team representation via this exciting competition. With the selection of many players from the tournament to the Canadian University XV, there is added incentive for players and universities to participate. Our national team staff are looking forward to the competition,” stated Jim Dixon on behalf of Rugby Canada.

Though the tournament is not officially recognized or sanctioned by U SPORTS, eligibility and format will adhere to existing U SPORTS rules (including academic and 5-year maximum eligibility) and the organizing committee is hopeful that in time both the tournament and the sport of Men’s Rugby will be sanctioned by U SPORTS in the same way as Women’s Rugby and its national championship.

“Rugby Canada is one of the top sport organizations in our country. Growing the number of sports that have that opportunity to compete for a U SPORTS National Championship is an important part of my vision for elevating university sport in Canada. Although U SPORTS is not officially involved with this project, Rugby Canada has the support of U SPORTS and I anticipate the success of this event will be similar to the very successful National University Championships hosted by Tennis Canada and Golf Canada” stated Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS.

“We are thrilled to be selected as the host site for the Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship,” says Scott McRoberts, Director of Athletics at the University of Guelph. “Our men’s rugby program has developed some great rivalries within our conference, but we cannot wait to see the talent from across the country. We really believe this tournament will be the start of something bigger.”

Further details will follow on the Rugby Canada and University of Guelph Athletics websites.

BC U18 Tour to Ireland

BC U18 toured Ireland in August in part funded by a grant by the Canadian Rugby Foundation’s Bridge the Gap Fund.  The Boys U18 team defeated all three Irish teams Mullingar RFC 34-0; Bective Rangers 26-5 and Leinster 30-19. The Girls U18 team defeated Munster twice 22-10 and 26-17, they also defeated Leinster but lost to French side Launguedoc .Continue reading

Bridge the Gap Fund – Saskatchewan Boys U18 Tour

The Canadian Rugby Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Saskatchewan Rugby Boys U18 Tour to a tournament in the USA, the Maryland Youth Rugby Festival. This grant was from the Bridge the Gap fund which is aimed at the transition of high school players to club and university rugby programs through International rugby tours. Read more about the tour below and if you wish to read more about the Bridge the Gap fund and how to donate, please click hereContinue reading

Bridge the Gap Fund – Atlantic Canada U18/U19 Tour to Ireland

Bridge the Gap Fund Helps Atlantic Canada u19 and Newfoundland u18 tour to Ireland May 2017

The u19 team played 3 games : 2 wins  (Old Christians Cork u20 and North Kildare u20) and a 2 point loss to Cork Con u20 (one of the best clubs in Ireland). The u18 team played 4 games and lost to Cork Con, Midleton, Skerries and North Kildare.

The cost to the players for 9 days in Ireland was $800 after the CRF and co-sponsors subsidies were taken into account. We stayed in budget hostels, bought no gear, and players paid for food.

There was an immediate recompense for Canada as Jack McCarthy, in his first year of rugby ,was called up to Canada u20 for the Uruguay World Rugby Trophy. The Rock u19 team won bronze at the recent Junior CRC behind BC and Ontario. The u18 team will play at Nationals in a week.

An objective of the trip was to create a bilateral relationship with clubs for on-going tours home and away.

Cork Constitution have agreed to this and their u18 team will travel to St John’s in May 2018 and the Atlantic u19 team will visit Cork .

Skerries are interested in a similar relationship and have fine under-age teams. Dundalk who visited St John’s last week have  also agreed to a similar relationship.

The Atlantic u19 team is an integral component of the Rock pathway and tours like this will attract the best players from the region.

On graduation from the u19 program the Rock have had good retention for the senior team and have provided multiple players to Canada recently (Parfrey, McMullan, Keys, Keith, Heaton, Baillie).

Bytown Rugby Foundation

The Bytown Rugby Foundation has three funds described below. For more information visit their website at www.bytownrugbyfoundation.ca

Donations can be made online using the form below and selecting the appropriate fund from the drop down list.

Bytown Eastern Ontario Fund: Donations to the Eastern Ontario Fund will provide financial support to a current student (high school or lower grades) registering with any rugby club in Eastern Ontario.

The Fund will also provide support for current club players playing with any club in Eastern Ontario who are participating on a representative rugby team (U19 and lower).

Bytown Blues Fund: Donations to the Bytown Blues Fund will provide financial support to a current student (high school or lower grades) registering to play rugby club for the Bytown Blues RFC.

The Fund will also provide support for current club players playing with any club in Eastern Ontario who are participating on a representative rugby team (U19 and lower).

Bytown George Fortier Scholarship: Donations to the George Fortier Scholarship will support the Foundation with providing a scholarship to a deserving student who has been involved with their high school rugby program and who plans to continue their education after high school

Eastern Rugby 7s Tournament

The Canadian Rugby Foundation is sponsoring the latest initiative to grow the women’s Sevens game at the University level and help ensure Canada are again on the podium in the next Olympics. Canada won Bronze in the 2016 Rio Olympics in women’s Rugby Sevens. Continue reading