BC Rugby’s U23 Men’s XV will come together once again this summer to play an exhibition match against Canada’s U20 Men’s team as part of their preparation for the Junior Wolrd Rugby Trophy (JWRT). The game will be held on Sunday, August 19 at Westhills Stadium on Vancouver Island, KO 3pm, and serve as a final test of the Canadian Team’s Summer preparations. Entrance is free for everyone and will be a great opportunity to see some of the best young talents from both BC and the rest of the country.
The BC Men’s U23 XVs were a new creation this year, pulled together for an exhibition match at the start of the summer, also against the Canada U20 squad. Canada wound up the eventual winners of a highly entertaining game, but the BC players gave a very good account of themselves. Indeed, a number of the side that competed in BC colours in that match went on to be part of the BC Bears team that defeated the British RAF in June and eventually be selected for the Bears’ CRC team. Canada’s U20s meanwhile used that match as a warm-up for their upcoming JWT qualifying doubleheader against the USA, which they would win on aggregate 82-62.
The Junior World Rugby Trophy takes place in Romania from August 24 – September 10, and will pit Canada against the likes of Fiji, Portugal and Uruguay in their group matches, with the hosts meeting Samoa, Namibia and Hong Kong in the other group. Canada have previously finished in the runner-up spot twice in this tournament, losing to Italy in 2013 and Georgia in 2015. Winning the JWRT is more than just claiming a title though, as the victorious team is promoted to the World Junior Championship for the following year, the top tier of Age-Grade international rugby including teams from the southern hemisphere and British Home Nations.
While helping the Canadian U20 program prepare and have a look at final selections, BC intends to field a U23 team that will give their own staff the opportunity to assess talented young players currently playing across the top divisions in the Province. With a number of players already committed to the BC Bears team for the upcoming Canadian Rugby Championships Semi-Finals in Calgary, a number of new faces will be part of the U23 side for this second competitive match. Regional matches, such as the Dunbar Keg, have proved an important step in identifying these young talented players. Looking at the longer term, exhibition matches like this will help BC to build out a better depth chart as they seek to continually improve their Provincial side.
Coach Tony LaCarte commented, “We will be a true Barbarian style team – we will assemble on the day, put some common language in and let the guys show their natural ability with a mindset to attack the ball from anywhere.” While it is expected that the Canada U20 Men are a much more slick and well-oiled machine, BC’s U23 XV will seek to put them through their paces and work hard for every point. “We will want to provide Canada with a physical test, similar to what they will experience in Romania,” said LaCarte, “We really want to challenge them in the midfield, try and force them to get creative with their lines.”
“The game will be a good hit out for the squad after we assemble on Wednesday for the first time since the qualifier vs USA in Texas,” said Jeff Williams, Canada Head Coach. “We will select two rosters to play a half each, while the remaining players will get a half with the BC side. It’s important for selectors to see every player in camp and crucial for our athletes to play high-level rugby before opening the tournament against Portugal later this month,” added Williams. Canada’s final travelling roster will be announced on Monday, August 20thbefore departing for Europe on August 23rd.
The match kicks off at 3:00pm (PT) this Sunday at Westhills Stadium in Langford.
Aidan Cole – UVic Vikes
Antonio Corbin – Nanaimo Hornets RFC
Chance Harper – UVic Vikes
Damon Adams – Castaway Wanderers RFC
Hans Stander – United RFC
Haward Flavio – UBC Thunderbirds
Hunter Grant – UVic Vikes
Luke Bradley – Port Alberni Black Sheep
Nat Dring – UVic Vikes
Peyton Eagar – Nanaimo Hornets RFC
Siaki Vikilani – Burnaby Lake RFC
Teigan White – James Bay AA
Thomas DI Fiore – UVic Vikes
Curtis Bailey – Castaway Wanderers RFC
David Dinbandhu – Bayside Sharks RFC
Gino Paoella – Burnaby Lake RFC
Issac Gonevou – Westshore RFC
Jenner Teufel – Cowichan RFC
Johnny Buck – Westshore RFC
Johnny Franklin – Capilano RC
Justin Logan – Castaway Wanderers RFC
Liam Morrison – Uvic Vikes
Malcolm Klaver – Capilano RFC
Nathan Tough – James Bay AA
Nicky Mouret – UVIc Vikes
Peter Masimo – James Bay AA
Reece Tudour Jones – Uvic Vikes
BC U23 Men’s XV Staff:
Tony LaCarte – Coach
Clayton Panga – Coach
Naomi Ogawa – Therapist