The start of BC Rugby’s 2017/18 Senior Club Rugby season kicks off this Saturday, marking the first of 22 weekends of rugby action in the province. Clubs competing in the Men’s Premier League, Men’s Premier Reserve League, Men’s Division 1 and 2 all launch their 2017/18 campaigns this weekend with all other divisions commencing a week later, September 16, including the Women’s Premier Division, Women’s Division 1 and 2, Men’s Island Division 1 and Men’s Mainland Division 3.
The Men’s Premier and Reserve Leagues has some tantalising opening games, headlined by the 2017 Championship Final rematch between defending champions UBC Thunderbirds and Burnaby Lake RFC. To complete the feeling of Deja Vu, the game will be overseen by the same official from last season’s final, David Smortchevsky. This match will kick-off at 2.30pm after the Premier Reserves match which kicks off at 12.45pm.
Also in the Men’s Premier and Reserve Leagues, two local derbies will open the season. The James Bay AA teams will head to Windsor Park to meet Castaway Wanderers, both outfits boasting a number of National level players. Back across the Georgia Straight, Meralomas, with a new coaching outfit, including former Canadian player Jebb Sinclair as Assistant Coach, will host the UBC Old Boys at Connaught Park. Finalising the schedule of matches, Capilano RFC travel across the border to meet Seattle Saracens while Nanaimo RFC sits week one out with a bye.
The 2016/17 Men’s Division 1 winners Surrey Beavers AA will kick off their defense of the title with a visit to United RC with both the 1st and 2nd XV Teams meeting. With last year’s Men’s Division 2 champions Meralomas RFC no longer competing in this tier of competition, the fight will be onto crown a new champion, with 2016/17 runners-up Kamloops RC playing host to Scribes RFC for their opening game.
In total, 88 teams representing 35 Clubs will compete in over 700 matches in the regular season across all senior divisions, leading to playoffs in late April 2018 before the top teams compete in the BC Rugby Club Finals, due to be held on May 5, 2018.
In an exciting development for this season, a new U23 Men’s Division has been crafted, with 8 teams competing for the inaugural title. This new division will hopefully act as a much-needed platform to provide an outlet for players graduating from the school rugby system, as well as encouraging development in the club system.
BC Rugby CEO, Annabel Kehoe, was full of enthusiasm for the upcoming season, saying “This is going to be one of our busiest ever Senior Rugby seasons. The addition of the U23 Men’s Division is a critical step to ensure that graduating youth players have a league for them. In addition, BC Rugby will be looking at further developing opportunities at this pivotal age of player development to ensure we retain this next generation in our game.” Kehoe continued, “It’s also exciting to see the expansion of the Men’s Premier League and Premier Reserve League, with Meralomas, Westshore & Nanaimo all joining the top flight. We expect to see some great competitive matches play out over the coming months and wish all teams the best of luck.”
Fixtures for Opening Weekend (September 9th 2017):
|Men’s Premier||Castaway Wanderers RFC||James Bay AA||2.45PM|
|Men’s Premier||Westshore RFC||UVic Vikes||2.30PM|
|Men’s Premier||Burnaby Lake RFC||UBC Thunderbirds||2.30PM|
|Men’s Premier||Seattle Saracens RC||Capilano RFC||2.30PM|
|Men’s Premier||Meralomas RFC||UBCOB Ravens||2.30PM|
|Men’s Premier Reserve||Castaway Wanderers RFC||James Bay AA||12.30PM|
|Men’s Premier Reserve||Westshore RFC||UVic Vikes||12.45PM|
|Men’s Premier Reserve||Burnaby Lake RFC||UBC Thunderbirds||12.45PM|
|Men’s Premier Reserve||Seattle Saracens RC||Capilano RFC||12.45PM|
|Men’s Premier Reserve||Meralomas RFC||UBCOB Ravens||12.45PM|
|Men’s Div 1||Langley RC||Brit Lions RC||2.30PM|
|Men’s Div 1||United RC||Surrey Beavers AA||2.30PM|
|Men’s Div 1||Abbotsford RFC||Bayside RFC||2.30PM|
|Men’s Div 2||Kelowna RFC||Vancouver Rowing Club||1.00PM|
|Men’s Div 2||Langley RC||Brit Lions RC||12.45PM|
|Men’s Div 2||United RC||Surrey Beavers AA||12.45PM|
|Men’s Div 2||Abbotsford RFC||Bayside Sharks RFC||12.45PM|
|Men’s Div 2||Kamloops RC||Scribes RFC||12.45PM|
|Men’s Div 2||Burnaby Lake RFC||Simon Fraser RFC||11.15PM|