by Curtis Reed
March 1, 2014 (ISN) – For Matt Evans, Aaron Carpenter, and Cornish Pirates it hasn’t been the best of seasons. They currently sit sixth in the RFU Championship and are nearly twenty points out of a playoff spot.
Evans also recently suffered a knee injury that will rule him out for the rest of the year. However, it isn’t all bad for Evans as he recently signed a new deal with the club that will keep his stay in Southwest England a year longer and when he’s been healthy he has been a automatic starter for the club. The same goes for Carpenter who has also been injured and been in and out of the line-up.
Also in the RFU Championship, of all Canadians Tyler Hotson is the only one with a chance to make the playoffs as his London Scottish side are seven points out. Since the holidays Hotson has started nearly every match for the Exiles. In one of those matches he faced fellow Canadian Brett Beukeboom as his direct opposition. Beukeboom, Sean-Michael Stephen, and Plymouth Albion have struggled this season. That said, both have been regular starters for the club. Beukeboom recently signed a new deal to stay at the club while Stephen injured his neck a few weeks back and is still recovering.
Rounding out Canadians in the RFU Championship is James Pritchard at Bedford and Richard Townsend at Ealing. Bedford have been bad this season but Pritchard has had another nice campaign, already racking up four tries and 23 penalties. Ealing will probably face the drop but Townsend has been playing well for the club. He has come off the bench for the club a couple of times over the last few months.
It’s status quo for Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron at the Ospreys. That means getting regular minutes as the Ospreys sit in a playoff spot in the RaboDirect Pro12. Both have started all of the Osprey’s league matches since the new year with Hassler scoring twice. Ardron also made an appearance in the LV= Cup and the Heineken Cup, the latter with Hassler, who played in two. Fellow RaboDirect Pro12 Canadian DTH van der Merwe hasn’t has had the same luck. After being a steady presence for Glasgow he will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
In the Premiership, Sale are only six points out of the playoffs. Phil MacKenzie has so far only been a role player for the team playing and starting in two of Sale’s LV= Cup matches. Jebb Sinclair has also been used more in reserves having come off the bench in all of London Irish’s Premiership matches this year. He has, however, made two appearances in the Amlin Challenge Cup, scoring once, and one appearance in the LV= Cup.
Jamie Cudmore has been a part of Clermont’s yo-yo season. He returned from injury a few weeks back and hasn’t relinquished his starting spot since. He also made two appearances in the Heineken Cup. Shane O’Leary still has yet to make an appearance for Grenoble in the Top 14 but he does have five total appearances in the Amlin Challenge Cup. Unfortunately, the team failed to go through to the next stage.
Down in the lower divisions of France, Taylor Paris and Agen continue to see success. They are currently third in the Pro D2. He has started in four of Agen’s matches since the start of the year, came off the bench in another, and scored two tries in one match. Sitting just above him in the standings is Jason Marshall and La Rochelle. Unfortunately, Marshall hasn’t been active for the club with no appearances so far in 2014. It’s a similar story for Cam Pierce at Pau who also has yet to play. Lastly in France, Jon Phelan mutually agreed to part ways with Lille and is now back at the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence in training. Benoit Pifferowill keep a Canadian in the Federale 1 as he has joined Blagnac.
Elsewhere around the world, Mark Kohler is seeing regular time with Coventry. The club is fifth in the table and has a ways to go to earn promotion. Former Rock playerMatt Heaton is playing with Otley in the National League 2 North. Jack Fitzpatrickis having a good season although Trinity College in Dublin are not. In the Southern Hemisphere, Hubert Buydens is waiting for the ITM Cup to start again while Evan Olmstead is holding out hopes of landing a spot in the new Australian National Rugby Championship. He currently plays with Parramatta.