Monday, July 21, 2014

International Rugby: Q & A with Tyler Ardron

Photo Rugby Canada
A player to have quickly emerged in the global game is Canadian back-rower Tyler Ardron. Despite having just recently turned 23 he is his captaining his country from a position in which is considered to be one of Canada's greatest strengths, the back-row. He is also preparing for his second season of professional rugby in Wales after having impressed in making twenty-two appearances last season. To understand his background and future Argentina 2023 caught up with the Ospreys forward. 

Aged just 22 you were asked to captain your country and are now the full-time leader.  A phenomenal achievement in quick time. How have you coped with such a rapid rise?

When you look at it from the outside I think it does look like a very fast rise, but that doesn’t do any justice to the work that the coaches and staff have done to help me prepare for this role. I have been working with Kieran and Mike Chu for a few years now in preparation. 

In terms of how I have coped with the rise it has been a pretty smooth and enjoyable experience. I thought things ran very smooth this summer and we were able to bring a couple things in to make sure that continues. The main way I have coped with the rise is to get a very good leadership group and use them as often as possible. 

It has seen former captain Aaron Carpenter complete a successful move to hooker. How has the shift contributed to the greater good of the team?

Having Aaron as a hooker is a huge help for the team. He is a great player and has been for years. Being able to have him in the front row and then play as another back rower in the loose makes our team that much more dangerous. 

A lot was said in the media following Canada’s narrow loss against Scotland. What were the lessons to take from the defeat?

That was a really hard one to swallow, especially since I feel we played well enough to get the win and came up just short. I think the main thing we learnt from that is that the system we are running works. As you could see there were a lot of times that we had line breaks and chances to score, but the inexperience came through in those situations and we didn’t have people in the right places to finish it off. 

Japan caught Canada with a comeback as did the USA and Scotland. Similarly in 2013 Romania and Georgia both overturned deficits to win against Canada. Is there a fitness issue within Canadian rugby or is there another factor, if any, to explain the pattern?

I don’t think it is a fitness issue that has been letting us down lately. The thing I think that hurts us the most is that we are still a young team and having trouble closing out games. We need to be more accurate and ruthless in those times if we want to really bury a team when we have the chance. 

Japan is now ranked 10th in the world. Is the feeling within the Canadian camp that Japan is stronger now than previously?

That is definitely the feeling that we have, as I’m sure is the same with the rest of the world. That being said we are getting much better as well and I don’t think anyone would be upset if we get another shot at them in the near future. 

How do you feel about Canada’s lack of international fixtures this year?

It is disappointing, but I think that at the moment we have to accept the reality and just do the best with what we are given. It is clear that the longer we are together the more comfortable we get with each other and the better training goes. If we could get more games I think that comfort level could be maintained and even improved. 

Would it be better to replace the current haphazard approach and introduce comprehensive schedules featuring opponents from all tiers?

This is something that is out of my control so to be honest I just choose to not try to get into it. Focus on the things I can change and good things will come.

Both Jeff Hassler and yourself were quickly able to make the adjustments to play with regularity for the Ospreys. How difficult was the change?

I don’t think difficult is the right word to describe it. We were comfortable making the transition after being at the COE for so long. I think the Canadian players in Victoria actually train more and probably even harder than we do. The big difference is that they don’t play rugby every weekend. 

It is called England 2015 but Cardiff has been given more matches than all cities other than London. How do you feel about opening Canada’s World Cup campaign against Ireland in Wales?  

I can’t wait to be in Wales for the World Cup. It will be nice to have some friendly faces around. 

Canada will face Ireland, Italy, France and Romania. What are the expectations?

We have some very good expectations of ourselves. Obviously qualifying for the next World Cup will be the priority, but getting some good results against the top teams would build a lot of confidence and be great for us. 

2015 is the fourth Rugby World Cup in Europe. In addition Oceania has had three, Africa one and Asia will host in 2019. Is 2023 not the time for the Americas with Argentina hosting the tournament?

I think that would be great. I have played rugby in Argentina before and really enjoyed it. No matter where the world cup is held I’m sure it will be done great.

Tyler Ardron is an international rugby player for Canada and the current captain. He plays professional rugby in Wales for the Ospreys. He can be followed on twitter @tyardron

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