September 17, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The BC Bears have added four impact players ahead of their Edmonton road trip for the final match of the 2013 Canadian Rugby Championship season.
The Bears (1-3) have called up Canada-capped Adam Kleeberger (White Rock, BC), Connor Braid (Victoria, BC) and Michael Fuailefau (Victoria, BC) as well as Canada-U20 scrum half James Pitblado (Vancouver, BC) for their rubber match against the Prairie Wolf Pack (2-2).
BC Bears (1-3) at Prairie Wolf Pack (2-2)
Sat. Sept 21st, 3:30pm
@ Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton, Alta.
Kleeberger returns to the mix having missed the Bears most recent road trip to Ontario and has already played twice for the BC senior men’s side in their Labour Day Weekend fixtures. Fuailefau and Braid have both recovered from injuries sustained during summer competition and will add more fire power to the already-versatile BC back line.
Pitblado, who was a key figure in the BC Under-19 provincial team’s undefeated run at nationals this year, will make his first start at the senior men’s rep level replacing the injured Sean White (Victoria, BC).
“We’re well aware of James and his involvement at the Canada U20 level this past summer and the role he played with BC’s U19 team,” said BC Bears head coach Jim Dixon. “This will be a great opportunity for him to take another step in his development and that’s part of our responsibility as a squad. I’m looking forward to having him involved.”
A graduate of the BC Rugby Academy and BC Elite Youth Sevens programs, UVic’s Pitblado will be relied on this weekend for his play-making and distribution abilities against one of the CRC’s most established scrum halves Gordon McRorie.
The Wolf Pack 8-9-10 combination of Clay Panga, McRorie and Adam Mcqueen proved lethal when the two sides previously met in the CRC opener in early August. The final result was a 30-21 win for the Wolf Pack at UBC’s Wolfson Fields.
“This weekend is about finishing on a positive note and getting a win,” added Dixon. “In trying to keep things in perspective, it is our objective to build a program beyond this season and to give the players some continuity and ability to improve and perform as a group.”
After the national competition wraps up this weekend (Ontario Blues have already clinched the MacTier Cup), senior men’s national team head coach Kieran Crowley will be selecting his Canada-A roster for the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship in Langford, BC.
The Bears will need a strong outing if they are to put their hands up for selection to the national team development side.
“We are expecting a tough contest and will have to head to Edmonton looking to counter their enthusiasm that they’ll undoubtedly have playing at home,” added Dixon. “It should be a tough game but I believe we have the players and kind of program that should hopefully get us the result.”
Saturday’s match will be the first in the Wolf Pack’s history hosted outside of Calgary. Ellerslie Rugby Park played host to a Pacific Nations Cup game earlier this summer when Canada handed the USA a 16-9 loss in front of 3,500 fans.
Note: Bears starting lineup to be posted on Friday, September 21st.
BC Bears roster vs Prairie Wolf Pack
Luke Campbell (UVic Vikes)
Chris Chalmers (Abbotsford RFC)
Jim de Goede (James Bay AA)
Aaron Flagg (Abbotsford RFC)
Micha Govorchiin (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Adam Kleeberger (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Andrew Lackner (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Anthony Luca (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Ryan March (Abbotsford RFC)
Callum Morrison (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Clayton Thornber (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Shea Wakefield (UVic Vikes)
Connor Braid (James Bay AA)
Joe Dolesau (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Sean Ferguson (UVic Vikes)
Michael Fuailefau (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Caleb Hansen (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Nathan Hirayama (UVic Vikes)
Harry Jones (Capilano RFC)
Clayton Meeres (James Bay AA)
James Pitblado (UVic Vikes)
Evan Thomas (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Head Coach – Jim Dixon
Manager – Hans de Goede
Assistant Coach – Kenny Goodland
Strength & Conditioning – Conan Cooper
Athletic Therapist – Jessica Smith
2013 Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule:
Sat. Aug 10: Prairie Wolf Pack 30, BC Bears 21
Sat. Aug 17: Ontario Blues 27, Atlantic Rock 25
Sat. Aug 24: Atlantic Rock 16, Prairie Wolf Pack 14
Fri. Aug 30: Atlantic Rock 27, Prairie Wolf Pack 47
Fri. Aug 30: Ontario Blues 11, BC Bears 7
Mon. Sept 2: Ontario Blues 53 – 23 Prairie Wolf Pack
Mon. Sept 2: Atlantic Rock 18 – 40 BC Bears
Sat. Sept 14, 4:30pm: BC Bears 27 – 50 Ontario Blues
Sat. Sept 21, 3:30pm: Ontario Blues at Atlantic Rock (Swilers Rugby Complex, St. John’s)
Sat. Sept 21, 3:00pm: BC Bears at Prairie Wolf Pack (Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton)