GUELPH, Ont. – The field is now officially set for the 2017 Canadian University Men’s Rugby Championship.
Six of the top university men’s rugby programs from across the country will make their way to Guelph to take part in the four-day national championship event, which runs from November 16 to 19. All matches will take place at Alumni Stadium on the campus of the University of Guelph. The tournament, initially announced by Rugby Canada and the Canadian Rugby Foundation back on September 13, will have a true coast-to-coast feel with teams from Victoria to P.E.I. all represented within the six-team field. Round robin games will take place from Thursday to Saturday with the gold and bronze medal games set for Sunday.
Thursday, November 16
|12pm||UBC Thunderbirds vs Concordia Stingers|
|2pm||Guelph Gryphons vs UPEI|
Friday, November 17
|12pm||Concordia Stingers vs McMaster|
|2pm||Victoria Vikes vs UPEI|
Saturday, November 18
|12pm||UBC Thunderbirds vs McMaster Marauders|
|2pm||Guelph Gryphons vs Victoria Vikes|
Sunday, November 19
|11:30am (Bronze)||2nd Place Pool A vs 2nd Place Pool B|
|1pm (Gold)||1st Place Pool A vs 1st Place Pool B|
the UBC Thunderbirds will arrive in Guelph as one of the tournament favourites and earned the top-seed in Pool A following their 44-24 victory over UVic on September 23. The Thunderbirds, who are three-time defending champions in the CDI Premier League, will open up the tournament with a Thursday match versus the Quebec-champion Concordia Stingers, followed by a Saturday match with OUA bronze medalists McMaster.
“Our program is honored to be a part of this year’s University Championships,” said UBC head coach Rameses Langston. “We see this event as an incredible opportunity for our athletes to compete against the best rugby union athletes in our country.”
UBC’s rival, the University of Victoria Vikes, will also be in attendance after they booked a spot by winning the Hindson Cup with a 72-0 win over UBC-Okanagan. The Vikes will have get a first-hand taste of the coast-to-coast feel of the tournament when they square off against the Maritime University Champion UPEI Panthers on Friday.
The tournament host and OUA silver medalist Guelph Gryphons will join UVic and UPEI in Pool B. The Gryphons have played in the OUA gold medal match four straight years, including an OUA title in 2016. “We are very excited to be hosting this championship,” said Gryphons head coach Cory Hector. “It gives our student-athletes a chance to test themselves against their peers from across the country from some of the best programs in the country. It’s a step in the right direction to further growing our game.”
Each team will play two matches during the first three days of the tournament, with the gold and bronze medal matches set for Sunday, November 19 at 11:30am and 1pm. The tournament format features 30-minute halves (instead of the usual 40-minute halves) and teams will not be limited to eight substitutions, thus allowing their entire 26-man rosters to be utilized.
Though the tournament is not officially recognized or sanctioned by U SPORTS, eligibility and format will adhere to existing U SPORTS rules (including academic and five-year maximum eligibility).