Thursday, January 16, 2014

Expanded Canadian Rugby Championship Confirmed for 2014

Photo: BC Rugby News

The governing body of Canadian Rugby, Rugby Canada has announced the dates for the 2014 edition of the national rugby championship. The 2014 Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) will take place in August and September and be played over an expanded format which sees all four sides now set to face each other both at home and away. Elsewhere the tournament is to continue unchanged as the structure will continue to have four teams with them dispersed across a total of ten Canadian provinces. 


The competition will kick off on August 9 with the Prairie Wolfpack playing host to the British Columbia Bears at a yet to be confirmed venue. It is to be the only match that weekend and is also only one of two occasions in which there will not be two CRC matches played on the same date. The eastern battle of Atlantic Rock v the Ontario Blues will close out the competition on September 27. 

While there are ten provinces involved they are not evenly distributed across the four sides. Instead two provinces each have their own team - the BC Bears and Ontario Blues. The Prarie Wolfpack is made up of the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan while Atlantic Rock has five provinces -  New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec

The possibility for additional teams overtime does exist as there has been a fifth team used in age group rugby known as the Voyageurs. The side is effectively Quebec but not entirely as the French speaking province has joined parts of eastern Ontario. Expansion will depend on budget and market conditions as well as the player base. Indeed the concentration of players into four regional sides has enabled Canada to identify and prepare superior players than during the defunct Super League.

The 2014 competition will be comprised of a total of twelve matches with each side playing three home matches and three on the road. It will be followed by the Americas Rugby Championship and the autumn internationals in which Canada will play in Europe for the final time before Rugby World Cup 2015.    

Many players from the CRC will tour Europe and play in the World Cup. Canada´s most recent test matches last November featured players from all four teams with champions the Ontario Blues having five players in Canada´s twenty-six man squad. Hooker Ray Barkwill was joined by prop Djustice Sears-Duru, back-rower John Moonlight, scrumhalf Jamie MacKenzie and fly half Liam Underwood. 

Both Moonlight and Underwood enhanced their reputations while performing for Canada in 2013 as did BC Bears fly half Harry Jones. Other players of note in the CRC include prop Andrew Tiedermann, centre Nick Blevins and back-rower Nanyak Dala of the Prairie Wolfpack, utility back Ciaran Hearn of Atlantic Rock and Adam Kleeberger and Conor Trainor of the BC Bears. 

2014 Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule
Sat Aug. 9th
Prairie Wolf Pack v British Columbia Bears

Sat Aug. 16th
Ontario Blues v Atlantic Rock
British Columbia Bears v Prairie Wolf Pack

Thu Sept. 4th 
Prairie Wolf Pack v Ontario Blues
British Columbia Bears v Atlantic Rock

Sun Sept. 7th
British Columbia Bears v Ontario Blues
Prairie Wolf Pack v Atlantic Rock

Thu Sept. 18th 
Atlantic Rock v Prairie Wolf Pack
Ontario Blues v British Columbia Bears

Sun Sept. 21st
Ontario Blues v Prairie Wolf Pack
Atlantic Rock v British Columbia Bears

Sat Sept. 27th
Atlantic Rock v Ontario Blues

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