Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears’ flanker Alex Boyd lines up a tackle against England Counties in pre-season action. Photo credit Stewart Johnstone.
Vancouver, BC – June 30, 2016: The Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears begin the quest for the MacTier Cup on Saturday with their opening match of the 2016 Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC).
The opponents in the first round will be the Prairie Wolf Pack, who captured their first-ever title last summer. Saturday’s game will be played in Alberta at Calgary Rugby Park [map]. Kickoff is at 3:00pm MT/ 2:00pm PT. The game will be live streamed at livestream.com/wolfpackrugby.
It will be a veteran lineup for the Bears, with most of the players having previously competed at the CRC in the last three seasons. Brock Staller gets the start at fullback, while nationally capped second-rower Liam Chisholm begins in reserve. Also joining the setup is Admir Cejvanovic, who returns to the fifteens game after spending the last eight months on World Rugby Sevens Circuit duties with Rugby Canada.
Leading the team onto the pitch will be captain Anth Luca, an intense, no-nonsense field general, who is certain to have the troops fired-up for an intense opening few minutes of Saturday’s match. It can be expected that the Wolf Pack will come into the match with a lot of energy, boosted by a noisy home crowd.
“I think this game can be a big marker for us,” said Luca. “This competition is wide open this year. We need a strong, fast start to the pressure on them. Then it’s up us to keep up the intensity we’ve been training at and put some points on the board. “
The Bears have been training together since May, and had a warm-up match against England Counties in June to help them prepare for the CRC.
“After some more time together, the team is really beginning to gel,” said Luca. “The young up and comers on this team are really ready to rise to the occasion and show national selectors they’re great enough players to get into the mix.”
Twenty-eight players from this year’s CRC competition will be selected for the Canada “A” tour to the UK in August, and athletes from all four teams will be determined to seize the exciting opportunity.
Following Saturday’s match in Calgary, the Bears will return to BC and prepare for their first home fixture of the CRC. That game is scheduled for Saturday, July 9th in Esquimalt (greater Victoria). The opponents will once again be the Prairie Wolf Pack. Kickoff at Bullen Park will be at 3:00pm PT. Tickets will be available at the gate on game day for $10. Youth aged 18 and under get in for free when presenting school ID. Youth 12 and under also get in for free.
Canadian Direct Insurance BC Bears’ Roster vs the Prairie Wolf Pack
1. Anthony Luca (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
2. Andrew Lackner (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
3. Ryan Ackerman (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
4. Kevin Leask (UVic Vikes)
5. Craig McLaughlin (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
6. Brendan Kelliher (Castaway Wanderers)
7. Ollie Nott (UVic Vikes)
8. Josh Clarke (Meraloma Rugby Club)
9. Jorden Sandover-Best (UBC Thunderbirds)
10. Guiseppe Du Toit (UVic Vikes)
11. Manar Kulkhan (UBC Thunderbirds)
12. Doug Fraser (UVic Vikes)
13. Jeke Gotegote (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
14. Crosby Stewart (UVic Vikes)
15. Brock Staller (UBC Thunderbirds)
16. Cody McClary (Port Alberni Black Sheep)
17. Jordan Harvey-Reid (Capilano RFC)
18. Nik Hildebrand (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
19. Liam Chisholm (UVic Vikes)
20. Admir Cejvanovic (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
21. Cody Rockson (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
22. Gareth Marsden (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
23. Geoff Ryan (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Head Coach – Gabriel Fulcher (UBCOB Ravens)
Assistant Coach – Tony LaCarte (BC Rugby)
Assistant Coach – Angel Cividanes (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club)
Manager – Pete Hill (UBCOB Ravens)
Athletic Therapist – Katie Wnukpt