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    Rugby Canada

    Next week Canada has the honor to play Ireland. Canada Rugby is currently in an interesting period where it’s popularity it rising steadily.

    Canada is currently competing in it’s first Pacific Nations Cup. It’s a great opportunity for them to play competitive cup rugby on a yearly basis. Against expectations they are currently topping the table with fine victories against US, Fiji, and Tonga. The only thing between them and the cup is Japan who they play in two weeks. This squad does not include Cudmore and DTH. Also I believe Canada is the first non-professional team in the IRB ranking.

    Canada played very well at the u20 World Trophy in Chile. Up to the final they won all their games with big margins. Only Italy in the final proved to be too much of a hurdle. I’m however confident they will make the step towards JWC next year.

    Ospreys has played an important role in the past by providing young Canadians a chance to play professional. They continue this trend with the signing of Hassler and Ardron

    Currently there are close to 20.000 tickets sold for Sunday’s game and they are even talking about the first BMO field sell out. Last year for the Italy game there where 15k tickets sold. It shows the support for Rugby is growing. The two strongholds are Ontario and BC but Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Quebec are not far behind. In total there are about 75.000 registered players. In order for Rugby to develop further it’s important to get more TV exposure. Right now most rugby is shown on Sportsnet World but not many people have access to it. Things start to improve as TSN will be covering more Rugby Canada games. However if you compare the coverage with the attention CFL gets than there is still a lot of room for improvement.

    Of all ‘developing rugby nations’ I believe Canada has the best chance to move up somewhere between the top 10 Rugby countries. I’m interested to know how other people see the future of Canadian Rugby and for those interested I’ll keep you informed with updates in this thread. Also I’d like to know after Saturday’s game which players you believe stood out.

    #2
    There was a concerted effort made recently by US organisers to put together a professional rugby competition there, though it has now been shelved until 2014 at the earliest. Given the huge geographical distances between centres there, would it not make sense for Canadian rugby to team up with US rugby in a professional league venture, like the NHL?

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      #3
      They are talking about a new competition authorized by the NFL. Interesting developments but have my doubt as the US rugby federation is not involved at all . Also with 7's becoming olympic the two nations might organize something together.

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        #4
        Saw Canada's PNC match at the weekend, they've improved their discipline & tactical awareness a lot from the last time I saw them in action, but their fitness let them down badly in the last 10 minutes.
        They could put up a decent fight against what is a pretty inexperienced irish side. The Canadian team is based on their IRB 7's squad to a large degree & their tackling + spatial awareness shows that. If the irish team go into next weekend expecting a stroll in the park to a win they could be in for a nasty shock. Though given the battle against the USA the squad should be a bit more grounded & treat the canadians with respect.
        Plato: \"One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.\"

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          #5
          You got a valid point there. Last year against Italy they where able to match them until the final 15 minutes when their fitness kicked in.

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            #6
            Today TSN announced an exclusive broadcast agreement with Rugby Canada. A good push in the right direction.

            http://www.tsn.ca/rugby/story/?id=425204

            also extra stands are currently build at bmo field for saturdays game.

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              #7
              As you said yourself its important to get rugby on TV and in the media more. The more people that can watch it the better.

              Canada is a bit isolated in a rugby sense but you can follow the Argentina model. Their players went to play professionally in Europe and this eventually helped Argentina to become a top tier nation despite having an amateur game back home and no tournaments to play in. Now things are changing and Argentina have a tournament to play in as well as a more professional structure.

              Canada can follow that model and are in a potentially better position because they have the PI cup and have the USA next door who are in a similar position. How many players are professionals?

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                #8
                I havent counted but guess about 5 players lining out on saturday are playing their trade in europe and are therefore pro's. All others play in Canads and would be semi-pros. Canada has a rugby facility in BC where most players are bases. Because of the mild weather they can train there in the winter and play for their provinces in the summer.

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                  #9
                  Just out of interest. Which guys of Canada impressed you from last Saturday's game?

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                    #10
                    I was concentrating on the Irish players but I thought that Canadas attack was better than the USA's attack. Ireland played much better against Canada than the USA.

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                      #11
                      Just came across this piece and I feel compelled to comment on a few points.
                      Canadian rugby is getting a greater following alright but it is at the spectator level mostly and a large part of the turnout for this match was ex-pat Irish people. In terms of participation there is a trend toward lots of less-skilled athletes playing third division club rugby rather than elite athletes playing at the higher levels. Elite athletes in Canada (and the USA) tend to gravitate to other sports for many reasons but chiefly because rugby simply isn't on the radar. BC, on Canada's west coast is the only place in the Country where it is a Winter sport, due to a climate that is similar to Ireland or the UK.
                      Rugby was much stronger in Canada in the pre-professional era and the number of clubs in the sport has dwindled dramatically in recent years, especially in Edmonton and Calgary. The game appeals to the competitive and combative nature of Canadians but it is in conflict with so many other sports in summer that is simply doesn't attract the level of commitment needed to make Canada competitive internationally. In the 60s and 80s, even into the early 90s it was not uncommon for Canadian clubs to compete well against Irish clubs in Canada or in Ireland; that would be very rare now.
                      Dropkick makes reference to Argentina but perhaps a better comparison might be with Italy. There was a time when Canada could compete with Argentina but that day is long gone; Italy is still in the realm of possibility sometimes but that is usually a major coup in Canadian terms.
                      the reality is that an almost full second string Ireland dissed of Canada with relative ease, at the end of a long season while playing no more than adequately.
                      I hate seeing how Canada has regressed relative to other countries at the top level but I do t see any major change in the near future.
                      Another thing Canada has to overcome is their fetish for being tough guys or for making the 'big hit'. That is improving somewhat but the mindset still detracts from the performance. The hockey mentality means they won't back down from any confrontation and there still seems to be as much satisfaction gained from wining the fit as there is form playing good quality rugby. The current coaching team seems to be making good strides in that area but look to Jamie Cudmore for a typical Canadian reaction to rugby.
                      Last edited by RichardP; 20th-July-2013, 05:20.

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                        #12
                        Excellent post RichardP.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by RichardP View Post
                          Just came across this piece and I feel compelled to comment on a few points.
                          Canadian rugby is getting a greater following alright but it is at the spectator level mostly and a large part of the turnout for this match was ex-pat Irish people. In terms of participation there is a trend toward lots of less-skilled athletes playing third division club rugby rather than elite athletes playing at the higher levels. Elite athletes in Canada (and the USA) tend to gravitate to other sports for many reasons but chiefly because rugby simply isn't on the radar. BC, on Canada's west coast is the only place in the Country where it is a Winter sport, due to a climate that is similar to Ireland or the UK.
                          Rugby was much stronger in Canada in the pre-professional era and the number of clubs in the sport has dwindled dramatically in recent years, especially in Edmonton and Calgary. The game appeals to the competitive and combative nature of Canadians but it is in conflict with so many other sports in summer that is simply doesn't attract the level of commitment needed to make Canada competitive internationally. In the 60s and 80s, even into the early 90s it was not uncommon for Canadian clubs to compete well against Irish clubs in Canada or in Ireland; that would be very rare now.
                          Dropkick makes reference to Argentina but perhaps a better comparison might be with Italy. There was a time when Canada could compete with Argentina but that day is long gone; Italy is still in the realm of possibility sometimes but that is usually a major coup in Canadian terms.
                          the reality is that an almost full second string Ireland dissed of Canada with relative ease, at the end of a long season while playing no more than adequately.
                          I hate seeing how Canada has regressed relative to other countries at the top level but I do t see any major change in the near future.
                          Another thing Canada has to overcome is their fetish for being tough guys or for making the 'big hit'. That is improving somewhat but the mindset still detracts from the performance. The hockey mentality means they won't back down from any confrontation and there still seems to be as much satisfaction gained from wining the fit as there is form playing good quality rugby. The current coaching team seems to be making good strides in that area but look to Jamie Cudmore for a typical Canadian reaction to rugby.
                          TBH I think the response is a bit harsh. You simply can't compare Canadian rugby with Irish rugby and from your reaction I do believe that's what you are doing. Some of the remarks you make are definitely challenges the Canadian Rugby board needs to tackle but they'll to think in baby steps to achieve their goal.

                          I also don't agree that Rugby was bigger in Canada during the pre-professional era. Esspecially in BC and ON you see the sport getting more popular and professional since a long time. (Prob since the 50's after CFL changed from Rugby to American Football.)

                          You are right that you see the hockey mentality in Rugby. But it has its positives and negatives. I think the physical nature of hockey is a great way to prepare players to play rugby.

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                            #14
                            I toured to Toronto a few years back, and we found it pretty tough. Relatively low skill levels, but immense physicality in very high temperatures with rock hard ground.

                            There seemed to be a lot of winter sports players, both hockey and footballers, who saw it as a way to keep for over the summer, which probably fits with the skills/fitness issues.

                            Part of the problem for the Canadian board is geography, I think. Huge country with relatively low population densities make it very challenging to concentrate your best players into a competitive senior league.
                            "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men" Edward R Murrow

                            "Little by little, we have been brought into the present condition in which we are able neither to tolerate the evils from which we suffer, nor the remedies we need to cure them." - Livy


                            "I think that progress has been made by two flames that have always been burning in the human heart. The flame of anger against injustice and the flame of hope that you can build a better world" - Tony Benn

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                              #15
                              You got a valid point there but it's improving as well. You have the provincial championships which is pretty decent. Since a few years each province has their own team competing for the Canadian national champions. This is however still an amateur competition and only consists out of 5 games.

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