Rugby Canada is proud to announce a four year performance development plan with USA Rugby. Focusing largely on U18 and U20 age grades, the plan utilizes the North America 4 (NA4) format and will streamline the performance competition pathway.
“This is another step forward in our relationship with USA Rugby and we are excited to continue building for the future of our game” said Ken Goodland, Coordinator, Player Development and Talent ID.
“Through this initiative we will streamline the Talent ID approach and collaborate with our provincial unions to work toward the same goal.”
There will be a change to the existing Rugby Canada U19 program to better align with and support the U20 program. What will now be dubbed Rugby Canada Youth XV, this program will move to include the top 18 and 19 year olds in immediate contention for the next U20 campaign.
From a Talent ID perspective this program will target the CRC U19 tournament and university rugby programs ultimately supporting Rugby Canada sending two teams to USA in the post Christmas break. From these squads a long list will be established for the spring period and players will be monitored and provided feedback ahead of a May U20 selection camp.
The U18 program remains the same but with a greater collaboration with provincial unions to increase focus on high school rugby. “our intention is to work with the provinces to complement the existing focus we have on club and provincial rugby.” says Ken. “This will create greater depth for U18 program immediately and support a larger player pool for the U20 program.” Two U18 teams will head to Arizona and similar to the U20 program, a long list will be established and tracked for selection to a U18 spring event.
Another exciting piece builds on the additional focus Rugby Canada recently put on University rugby and complements the targeted ages of 19-23. A Canadian University All-Star XV, chosen from the University championships last November, will play a 2 game series against the USA Collegiate All-Stars. This will happen in June and plans to be tied to one of Rugby Canada’s test match weeks. “Student athletes can be some of the best in the country and we want to provide another opportunity for that group to showcase their talents”
“We know with hard work and long term focus we can provide the right tools for our young athletes to develop into international and professional rugby players. Development takes patience and we feel this four year plan gives our men’s programs a solid foundation to build on.”
Negotiations are currently taking place to build a similar plan for women’s programs and is inclusive of age-grade, cross border university competitions and senior programming. One that is unique and appropriate to the current system and works to provide long term stability for our women’s game.