Vancouver, BC – May 31, 2016: The Men’s Provincial Fifteens Rugby season kicks off on Friday evening.
The Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears host touring side England Counties on June 3rd at Klahanie Park (Capilano RFC) in West Vancouver. Kickoff is at 7:00pm.
The Bears compete domestically in the Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC), with matches against the Prairie Wolf Pack, Ontario Blues, and Atlantic Rock scheduled for July. Players who perform well in the CRC competition will be well positioned for selection to future Rugby Canada international test matches.
The England Counties clash promises to be a demanding warm-up game for the BC players, many of whom have played together with their respective BC Rugby Clubs, but who will be competing together as a unit for the first time on June 3rd.
“This will a benchmark game for us against very meaningful competition,” said BC Bears Coach, Gabriel Fulcher. “We’re still at the beginning of the process of getting our players ready for the CRC, and lining up against a quality England Counties side will serve us well in that effort. I’ll be challenging our players to show a positive attitude and mentality in this game, and look forward to seeing how they respond to the pace and physicality. The style of play in the CRC is based on dry, hard field conditions, so in anticipation of that I’ll be encouraging our players to keep ball in hand and attack, which should make for exciting rugby.”
Burnaby Lake Rugby Club forward Anthony Luca has been named BC Bears’ Captain.
“It is an honour to Captain the BC Bears,” said Luca. “Being captain of one of the four major rugby provinces is something I would like to look at as a job and bring my work ethic from both my life and my club rugby into doing the best job I can. We have a good contingent of returning players and young players wanting to step up. In just a few short sessions I feel we have communicated and worked well as a group, and believe this could be a great CRC season for us.”
The Bears will need to bring a balanced attack to their game this season, where in previous years they may have been overly reliant on the pace of their backs. The Bears forwards will be especially tested by a group of big English forwards on Friday, as the tourists are well adapted to a physical game in the middle.
“We’re all looking forward to what promises to be a great tour,” said England Counties Manager, Matt Long. “We’re confident in the squad of players we have as well as our coaching team. To pull on the England shirt is great honour, especially for those on the tour who have yet to play for England Counties, and we’re excited to welcome some new players to the squad.”
England Counties is the flagship team of the Community Game in England and offers players from National League One and below the opportunity to represent their country.
England Counties topped the BC Bears in their last meeting back in 2010.
In the weeks following the the June 3rd England Counties match, the BC Bears will begin their quest for the MacTier Cup. The Bears last claimed the trophy, awarded to the top team in the CRC, in 2009. The shortened 2015 CRC campaign season saw them defeat the Atlantic Rock, but fall to the Prairie Wolf Pack, resulting in a third place finish.
In order to better that result this year, the Bears will need a bright start, as they begin with an away engagement against the defending champion Prairie Wolf Pack in Calgary on July 1, before returning for a rematch on home soil in Victoria on July 9.
The Bears conclude the 2016 CRC campaign with away fixtures against the Atlantic Rock in St. John’s, NL, on July 21, followed by the Ontario Blues in Toronto on July 24.
Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears
1. Anthony Luca (Burnaby Lake RC) – Captain
2. Micha Govorchin (Burnaby Lake RC)
3. Ryan Ackerman (Burnaby Lake RC)
4. Sam Clark (UBC Thunderbirds)
5. Liam Chisholm (UVic Vikes)
6. Brendan Kelliher (Castaway Wanderers)
7. Alex Boyd (Capilano RFC)
8. Glenn McKinnon (Capilano RFC)
9. Chris Robinson (Capilano RFC)
10. James Reekie (Burnaby Lake RC)
11. Manar Kulkhan (UBC)
12. Doug Fraser (UVic Vikes)
13. Joe Dolesau (Burnaby Lake Rc)
14. Crosby Stewart (UVic Vikes)
15. Gareth Marsden (Burnaby Lake RC)
Ryan March (Abbotsford RFC)
Cody McClary (Port Alberni Black Sheep)
Andrew Lackner (Burnaby Lake RC)
Ollie Nott (Uvic Vikes)
Taitusi Vikilani (Burnaby Lake RC)
Lee Helm (Abbotsford RFC)
Cody Rockson (Burnaby Lake RC)
Geoff Ryan (Burnaby Lake RC)
Chris Chalmers (Abbotsford RFC)
Coach: Gabriel Fulcher
Scrum Coach: Angel Cividanes
Attack Coach: Tony LaCarte
General Manager: Mike James
England Counties touring squad
Daniel Seal (East Midlands and Cambridge)
Trevor Davison (Durham and Blaydon)
Craig Williams (Cornwall and Redruth)
Elliot Millar Mills (Cheshire and Macclesfield)
Matt Miles (Hertfordshire and Old Albanians)
Tom Cowan-Dickie (Cornwall and Redruth)
Matt Cornish (Surrey and London Irish Wild Geese)
Ian Kench (Surrey and Esher)
Rob Conquest (Hertfordshire and Darlington Mowden Park)
Dan Williams (Devon and Torquay)
Keith Laughlin (Northumberland and Blaydon) – Captain
Harry Broadbent (Cheshire and Rosslyn Park)
Harry Bate (Hertfordshire and Old Albanians)
David Fairbrother (Lancashire and Fylde)
Ryan Parkinson (Cheshire and Macclesfield)
Jack Walsh (Kent and Blackheath)
Tom Banks (Hertfordshire and Bishop’s Stortford)
Joseph Tarrant (Eastern Counties and Ampthill)
Freddie Gabbitass (Kent and Blackheath)
Sebastien Rodwell (Gloucestershire and London Irish Wild Geese)
Sam Winter (Hertfordshire and Bishops’s Stortford)
Leo Fielding (Gloucestershire and Blackheath)
Chris May (Hertfordshire and Old Albanians)
Albert Portsmouth (Eastern Counties and Cambridge)
Nigel Baker (Gloucestershire and Cinderford)
James Stokes (Eastern Counties and Coventry)
Mike Wilcox (Gloucestershire and Cinderford)
Team Manager: Matt Long
Assistant Team Manager: Simon Legg
Lead Coach: James Shanahan
Forwards Coach: Chris Wilkins