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Photo credit Kris Gower/Rugby Canada

July 10,2014(ISN) – LANGFORD, BC – Rugby Canada is pleased to announce that the IRB America’s Rugby Championship (ARC) is once again returning to the Canadian Centre of Excellence, in Langford, B.C. this coming October.

The ARC has been a hugely popular event on the Canadian rugby calendar, ever since the IRB granted Rugby Canada hosting rights to the tournament in 2012.

Now, for the third straight year, the British Columbia rugby community will have the chance to witness elite international level rugby action, as Canada “A” will take on teams from the United States and Uruguay, as well as the four-time defending champion Argentina Jaguars.

This year’s competition will kickoff on October 11th, with additional match days on October 15th and 19th. The first and third game days will kick off at 2:30pm and 4:30pm to allow families to have more opportunity to attend the matches, while the mid-week game night is set for 6pm and 8pm respectively.

Rugby Canada General Manager Mike Chu was quick to point out that support Rugby Canada receives from the City of Langford and the Greater Victoria area has been and continues to be, outstanding.

“It’s so important for Canada to be able to host events like this, and the year-round support we get from those in Langford and the Greater Victoria area is a huge part of that success. I know that support will continue when this tournament comes back for its third consecutive year,” said Chu from Langford.

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Photo credit Kris Gower/Rugby Canada

In past years, Canada has fielded a mix of veteran as well as up-and-coming players in the ARC, many of who have gone on to represent their country at the Under-20 World Junior Trophy, on the IRB Sevens Series or even with the National Senior Men’s Team. This year, however, Chu believes there is extra opportunity available to players to make an impression on national team selectors.

“If you look at our schedule between now and the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we will be following a progression from this year’s Canadian Rugby Championship (C.R.C.), to the ARC to the 2014 Fall Tour. The next time we assemble after that will be the 2015 Pacific Nations Cup, so that means that that every game between now and then is crucial for World Cup selection,” added Chu.

“Our coaches need to see players put their hand up against strong competition. Argentina, for example, uses some of the same players for the ARC, as they do in the Rugby Championship against the likes of New Zealand and South Africa, so it’s a great test for our athletes.”

One player who will likely be looking to help lead Canada on the field and continue making his own impression is Niagara Falls, Ontario’s Ray Barkwill. The Canada hooker knows full well the standard of competition the ARC brings, and is looking forward to the challenge posed by the rugby nations that will be travelling to British Columbia.

“The ARC is a great tool to keep playing fast-paced, quality games and to test your skill set at a higher level or to gain your opportunity at playing at the full international level,” said Barkwill.

“The competition from USA, Argentina and Uruguay brings very good set piece work and a skill set of very high quality, which is a step up from playing club rugby in Canada. I’m looking forward to it, as I know it’s going to be a great display of rugby.”