2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: CANADA’S SENIOR MEN

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It was a transition year for Canada’s senior men’s team but was undoubtedly the busiest year in the programs history as over the course of the year, Canada played 17 matches, 10 of which were full test matches.

It all kicked off with the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship in February and March. Canada compiled a 3-2 record with wins over Uruguay, Chile and Brazil but defeats to USA and Argentina. After the departure of long-time head coach Kieran Crowley at the end of the 2015, senior women’s head coach Francois Ratier led Canada on an interim basis for the tournament.

In March, Kiwi Mark Anscombe was hired as Canada’s senior men’s head coach bringing with him a pedigree of experience from previous coaching jobs at Ulster, Auckland and New Zealand’s U20 program.

Anscombe made his Canadian coaching debut at BC Place as Canada welcomed Japan in the RISEAsOne Summer Series opener, a game Japan clung on to win 26-22.

However, Canada wouldn’t be denied the following week as they crushed Russia 46-21 in Calgary before losing 20-18 to Italy in Toronto a week later.

Canada would then head overseas to the UK for a Canada ‘A’ tour where they opened with a 20-16 loss to the Doncaster Knights. After a high-scoring 48-38 loss to Ulster, Canada concluded its tour with a 63-0 defeat to the Glasgow Warriors.

Canada ‘A’ was on the move again in October participating in the inaugural Americas Pacific Challenge. Canada opened with a 56-29 loss to Argentina XV before a 47-37 defeat to the USA Selects. They concluded the tour with a 27-22 loss to Samoa ‘A’.

To conclude the year, Canada headed to Europe for its three-game November Tour. A thrilling match in Dublin, Ireland kicked off proceedings as Canada turned in a determined performance in a 52-21 loss to Ireland before a close 21-14 defeat to Romania. The tour ended with another close defeat for Canada as they fell 25-23 to Samoa.

2016 also saw 23 players make their test debuts for Canada while Ciaran Hearn became the 16th Canadian to win 50 test caps.

Canada’s senior men return to action in February at the Americas Rugby Championship.  2017 proves to be a crucial year as after the June test series, Canada will face the USA in a two-leg affair with the winner advancing to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

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