BC Players Named to Rugby Canada’s Men’s Fifteens Squad

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ray barkwill rugby

Castaway Wanderers’ hooker Ray Barkwill is amongst the veterans named to the Rugby Canada Men’s XV Squad for the Americas Rugby Championship (photo: Jose Lagman / Rugby Canada)

Rugby Canada’s Interim Men’s XVs Coach Francois Ratier has named his Squad for the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship, a five game international series that will feature home Test Matches against Uruguay on February 6th and Brazil on February 20th. Both matches will be taking place at Westhills Stadium in Langford, and local fans will have several BC stars to cheer on. The 28-man list includes four born and bred BC players, plus an additional six who call BC home with strong connections to the local club rugby scene.

Leading the list of BC players is Jake Ilnicki of Alexis Creek. The 23-year-old prop has covered a lot of ground in his short rugby career. Having spent his formative years with Williams Lake Secondary School and the Rustlers Rugby Club, Ilnicki went on to star with the University of Victoria Vikes and Castaway Wanderers Rugby Club in Oak Bay before signing with Australian side New South Wales County Eagles in 2015. Only weeks later, Ilnicki got the call to represent Canada at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. He is now set to earn his 10th Test Cap.

Rising star Alex Mascott of Langley was also named to the Canada Squad. Mascott plays a major part in the dominant UBC Thunderbirds team that claimed the 2015 Rounsefell Cup as BC’s top Premier Men’s team and has an 11-0 record from April 2015. Mascott has worked diligently to overcome an ankle injury suffered in a cycling accident seven months a year ago, which prevented him from playing Provincial rugby last summer. Now back at full health, the hooker could potentially line up next to Ilnicki in Canada’s front row.

Vancouver Island fans will also be welcoming home Callum Morrison of Victoria. The tenacious forward, who has captained the Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears Provincial Men’s Team in recent years, has battled hard to earn a regular spot on the Canada side. At age 30, he is poised to earn his fourth international Test Cap and is an embodiment of the spirit of determination that Canada will want to harness on the field. Morrison last represented Canada at the Pacific Nations Cup in the summer of 2015.

Possibly joining Morrison in the forward pack is Evan Olmstead from North Vancouver. The 6ft 5in. forward, who plays at lock or flanker, came on as a reserve at 2015 Rugby World Cup in games against France and Italy. Olmstead has split much of his life between Canada and Australia, but has strong connections with North Vancouver club Capilano RFC, where his late father John Olmstead played and served as Club President.

There were also several players named to the Canada Squad who will be familiar to BC Rugby fans, including a trio of men from Castaway Wanderers. Hubert Buydens, who has been named captain of the side that will face Uruguay, spends each winter anchoring the front row for Castaway Wanderers, alongside prop Djustice Sears-Duru and hooker Ray Barkwill, who’s up for Rugby Canada’s Men’s Fifteens Player of the Year (vote here). All three saw action at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. 

Clay Panga, who also coaches the Westshore RFC Women’s Premier Team, could slot into Canada’s backfield in any number of positions. Two University of Victoria Vikes were also named to Canada’s Squad, including Gradyn Bowd, an up and coming fly-half with good ball distribution skills and Liam Chisholm, a massive lock who stands at 6ft 7in. Both students are hopeful of seeing their first action with the National Men’s XVs Team. 

BC Rugby would like to congratulate all athletes who have been named to the Canada Squad:

Jake Ilnicki of Alexis Creek / Williams Lake, BC (Castaway Wanderers)
Alex Mascott of Langley, BC (UBC Thunderbirds)
Callum Morrison of Victoria, BC (UBCOB Ravens)
Evan Olmstead of North Vancouver, BC (Capilano RFC)
Hubert Buydens of Saskatoon, SK (Castaway Wanderers)
Ray Barkwill of Niagra Falls, ON (Castaway Wanderers)
Djustice Sears-Duru of Oakville, ON (Castaway Wanderers)
Clay Panga of Calgary, AB (Westshore RFC)
Gradyn Bowd of Calgary, AB(UVic Vikes)
Liam Chisholm of Kenora, ON (UVic Vikes)
Kyle Baillie of  Summerside, PEI (Halifax Tars)
Nick Blevins of Calgary, AB (Calgary Hornets)
Rob Brouwer of Lindsay, ON (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues)
Alistair Clark of Oakville, ON (Bay Street Pigs)
Paul Ciulini of Vaughan, ON (Aurora Barbarians)
Andrew Ferguson of Mississauga, ON (Oakville Crusaders)
Michael Hamson of Halifax, NS (Halifax Tars)
Eric Howard of Ottawa, ON (Brantford Harlequins)
Brett Johnson of Truro, NS (Truro Saints)
Ryan Kotlewski of Calgary, AB (Calgary Saints)
Phil Mackenzie of Oakville, ON (Sale Sharks)
Duncan Maguire of St. Albert, AB (St. Albert RFCC)
Gordon McRorie of Calgary, AB (Calgary Hornets)
Dan Moor of Toronto, ON (Balmy Beach RFC)
Pat Parfrey of St. John’s, NL (Swilers RFC)
Jacob Robinson of St. Albert, AB (St. Albert RFC)
Lucas Rumball of Scarborough, ON (Balmy Beach RFC)
Mozac Samson of Calgary, AB (Calgary Saints)

Americas Rugby Championship | 2016 Competition Calendar
(Home v Away)

Round 1 – Weekend of Feb. 6 -7, 2016
Canada v Uruguay – Feb. 6, Westhills Stadium, Langford, 4pm kickoff time
USA v Argentina
Chile v Brazil

Round 2 – Weekend of Feb. 13 – 14, 2016
USA v Canada
Argentina v Chile
Brazil v Uruguay

Round 3 – Weekend of Feb. 20 -21, 2016
Canada v Brazil – Feb. 20, Westhills Stadium, Langford, 4pm kickoff time
USA v Chile
Uruguay v Argentina

Round 4 – Weekend of Feb. 27 – 28, 2016
Argentina v Canada
Brazil v USA
Chile v Uruguay

Round 5 – Weekend of March 5 – 6, 2016
Chile v Canada
Uruguay v USA
Brazil v Argentina

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