Although not considered essential as it once was, inter-provincial play is still a useful development arrow in the Canadian rugby quiver.
The 2012 Canadian Rugby Championship season concludes tonight for the B.C. side, known as the Pacific Tyee, against the Ontario Blues at 7 p.m. at Bear Mountain Stadium.
That has affected the B.C. Premier League, with James Bay, Castaway Wanderers, UBC Old Boy Ravens and Burnaby Lake pushing back the start of their 2012 seasons by a week to allow some of their players to appear for the Tyee.
Although the Tyee are a disappointing 1-3 to the Blues 2-1, it is only considered a momentary blip. B.C. and Ontario are the top-two rugby-playing provinces, so fans will see some good talent tonight with the likes of Phil Mack, Connor Braid, Brodie Henderson, Harry Jones and emerging young players Pat Kay, Luke Campbell and Mike Fuailefau suiting up for B.C. and veterans John Moonlight, Derek Daypuck and the emerging Lucas Hammond for Ontario.
The players are also auditioning for spots on the national team roster for the 2012 IRB Americas Rugby Championships Oct. 12-20 featuring Canada, United States, Argentina and Uruguay at Bear Mountain Stadium.
Places are still up for grabs, said Mill Bay-based Canadian national team head coach Kieran Crowley, the former New Zealand All Blacks World Cup-champion.
We will be watching this game very closely. Ive already been out to Calgary and St. Johns [to see other CRC season games featuring the Prairie Wolf Pack and Atlantic Rock]. This is a great development competition. You've got to have these steps between club play and international play or the step is too great.
Tickets for tonights game are $12 adult and $6 youth.
SCRUM SHOTS: Not all B.C. Premier clubs are deferring today as the season opens on two fronts with the UVic Vikes traveling to Kitsilano to play the Meralomas and Bayside to West Vancouver to take on defending champion Capilano . . . Online ticket sales for the 2012 IRB Americas Rugby Championship have begun at tickets.rugbycanada.ca. Six-game tournament passes are $45 adult and $30 youth. Individual game tickets are $20 and $15. A gold pass is available for those interested in the hospitality tents.ì
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