Tier 2 & 3 Rugby Forum

Canadian rugby

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Canadian rugby

Postby grande » Wed, 16 Apr 2014, 13:09

Well, I did it. I'm by no means an expert, especially for things outside of Southern Ontario. If you see something wrong / incomplete, let me know, and I'll update the post. Happy reading!

The history:
1. When has rugby started to be played in your country and how?

Due (in part) to Canada's history as a British colony, rugby has been played here since before Canada was a country. It's sometime hard to accurately trace the sport here, because the terms Canadian Football and rugby were used interchangably until fairly recently. For example, my father has a medal for being on the high school rugby team in the 1970s, however it was much closer to Canadian Football. Helmets, pads, forward passes, etc. They referred to it as football, but the offical name was rugby still. (If the history of rugby-to-Canadian Fooball interests you, consider clicking this link)

Canada's first international game was vs Japan in 1932 in Osaka. Japan won 9-8.

The national team:
1. What competitions does your national team play in?
Currently, just the PNC and the World Cup. Canada Select (our A team) also plays in the Americas Rugby Championship, with Argentina Jaguars, USA XV (I think they're called the All-Americans now?), and Uguguay.

The Women's national team participates in the Nations Cup, winning it in 2013 (beating England and South Africa).

For Sevens, both the Men and Women play in the World Series. The men are currently in 7th after 7 (of nine) stops; the women are in 3rd place after four (of five).

2. Post a picture of your national team
Image
3. Where are your national team's players based (do they play locally or do they play abroad, and if they play abroad, what countries are they mostly in)?
Based on the last official team selection (from the November tests):
- Domestic: 13
- England: 6
- Wales: 3
- France: 2
- New Zealand: 2

4. What stadiums does the national team usually play their home tests (tell us some details about the stadiums and put some pics too)
Smaller tests are played in different stadiums around the country (Edmonton, Ottawa, Burnaby, Victoria, etc). Those stadiums range between 1,000 - 10,000 in capacity.

The big games are almost always at BMO Field in Toronto. It currently holds 22,000, but expansion has been approved to bring it to (I think) 30,000.

Disappointingly, Team Canada has not played a test in Vancouver in years, and in Montreal ever (to the best of my knowledge).

5. How much media attention does the national team get? How does it compare to other popular sports in your country?
When there's a big test happening, or the World Cup, there will be a blurb in the paper, or it might get a quick mention in the evening news. I think the games vs Ireland and Māori All Blacks were shown on TSN? Other tournaments, like the PNC and the World Cup qualification barely got a mention.

6. How many people typically go to your national team's matches.
Depends on where it's hosted and who's playing. The summer tests have been getting 20,000+ the past few years. The PNC games will get 5,000 if they're lucky.

7. How much do tickets to the national team's matches cost? (Convert your local currency to Euros and USD to tell us the price)
For the Canada Scotland Game (approximate prices; didn't look it up):
- Cheap Seats: $25CAD / €16
- Most Seats: $60CAD / €40
- VIP Area: $200CAD / €131

8. What style of play does your national team have?
For the teams we normally play, we play a fairly forward-heavy game. Our pack doesn't really rate vs the big boys, but it's enough to push the likes of the US or Japan around.

9. What are your national team's strengths and weaknesses?
Our biggest weakness is depth. We usually have a really solid 15 players, but if a few people are out due to injuries, or other committments, the skill drops off pretty quickly.

10. Who is the national team's coaching staff and are they professional?
The head coach is Kieran Crowley, a former All Black (19 caps, 105 points).
Andy Evans is the strenght & conditioning coach. I'm unsure of his history.
Ben Herring is technical coach & match analysis. Played for the Highlanders and Hurricanes in New Zealand from 2001-2007, and for Leicester in the UK from 2007-2009.
John Tait coaches both women's teams, former Team Canada player (37 caps), played pro for Cardiff & Brieve.
They're all paid, but I have no idea if it's a living wage, or a stipend.

The Rugby Federation:
1. Post the name of the rugby federation and their logo
Rugby Canada, Image

2. Is the rugby federation professional or are they just some guys doing that in their spare time?
Professional.

3. How big is the federation's staff and how is the federation organized?
Full staff (including coaches, physio, team managers, etc) is 34 people. (See here: http://www.rugbycanada.ca/leagues/custo ... ageID=4384)

There is a 19-person Board of Directors at the helm, then a small executive committee. Rugby Canada oversees each provinces Provincial Union. I believe all 10 provinces have unions, and none of the territories do.

4. How many registered players does it have (how many men, women and juniors, if you have this information too)?
I'm getting wildly different numbers.
From wikipedia: 73,664 (total), 14,160 (adult), 55,582 (teenage), 3,922 (pre-teenage). Their source is an IRB page that no longer exists.
From this PDF from the IRB: 129,131

5. Does the federation get any financial assistance from the state? If yes, how much money do they get?
Yes, there's a govenemnt organization called Sport Canada (part of the Ministry of Culture, or something like that). I have no idea how much they make, but the number is going to increase, due to the Olympics. Canada has a very successful program called Own The Podium that funds Olympians and Olympic teams that was started for the Vancouver Olympics (2010).

UPDATE - I found a balance sheet from 2011. That year, the Government of Canada provied $1.5 million, and the IRB provided $1.8 million. Sponsorships accounted for $420,000. I had no idea Rugby Canada had that much money coming in.

6. Does the federation receive sponsorships from private companies? If yes, how much do they get, and what are some of the federation's main sponsors?
Yes! See here.

7. How does the Rugby federation's budget compare to the federations of other popular sports in your country?
It's Tiny. Hockey is king, followed by Canadian Football. After that, soccer, then probably basketball or baseball. Curling is in there too, but I have no idea where. After that, rugby.

Those are just team sports. I'd imagine golf and tennis are up there as well.

8. How good of a job is your rugby federation doing promoting rugby in the country? Are they active on social media, like Facebook or Twitter? How many followers do they have on those websites? Do they regularly post updates and engage the fans?
Pretty good, actually. Lots of updates. 28,766 Likes on Facebook; 27,400 Followers on Twitter.

9. What is the state of the rugby media in your country? Can fans easily have access to rugby news? Do the major media outlets give any attention to rugby?
It's not great. It'll get a brief mention here and there when there's a big game, but it's not in the public for the most part. The best way to get news about rugby in Canada is to read Rugby Canada's press releases.

The rugby clubs and club competitions:
1. How any clubs are there in your country
324, according to wikipedia.

2. Where are the rugby clubs located (what cities, are they mostly in one region or are they spread evenly throughout the country, etc...)
The biggest areas are the Toronto area, the Calgary area, and the Vancouver area. I've been lead to believe it's popular in Newfoundland, but I don't know to what extent. Rugby exists where ever people are, for the most part, but Canada's spread out nature makes travel difficult.

3. Are there any pro/semi-pro clubs in your country? If yes, tell us which ones they are. Post some of their logos too.
Nope. The highest level is the Canadian Rugby Championship. It's four regional teams (Atlantic Rock, Ontario Blues, Prairie Wolf Pack, BC Bears). I keep hearing rumours that it will eventually get a 5th team (the Voyageurs, for Eastern Ontario & Quebec), but nothing's come of it yet.

4. How big are the club's budgets?
Don't know, sorry.

5. How much are the players paid (if there are paid players)?
$0.

6. Are there many foreign players playing for your local clubs? If yes, where are they from, why do they choose to play rugby there, and why do the clubs choose to have foreign players?
The only 'foreign players' that play, are people from elsewhere that happen to live in the area.

7. How many people turn up to watch the club's regular season matches?
Around here, dozens. Ontario Blues games and the Marshall Premiership final might get a couple hundred.
I'm under the impression that out West, more people show up. Anyone on here from out west?

8. How much do the tickets to watch club games cost? (Convert your local currency to Euros and USD to tell us the price)
Free. CRC games have a small fee to get in ($5 I think?)

9. What club competitions exist in your country?
I only know about Ontario (Canada's most populous province).
- CRC is the nation-wide, regional championship that I mentioned above.
- Marshall Premiership, the top level of Club rugby in Ontario (8 clubs, mostly Toronto-area).
- Marshall Championship, 8 clubs, wider area, but still centred around Toronto.
- Four regional bodies, the Niagara Rugby Union, Toronto Rugby Union, Eastern Ontario Rugby Union, and Southwestern Rugby Union. The area I live in is part of the NRU, which has 13 clubs in 3 divisions.

10. Post an image of the competition's logo, if it has one
I remember it being shittier for some reason, but I kinda like it, looking at it again:
Image

11. What is the structure of the club season? (When does it start, when does it end, how many teams are in each competition, how is promotion and relegation done between the leagues, does the season end with a grand final, etc..)
Rugby's a summer sport here. It starts in June, and goes 'til September.
There's no pro/rel in the CRC. Round robin, each team plays one another once, alternating home & away each season.
The Ontario leagues are also round robin. I thought the Premiership did a four-team playoff, but I'm not seeing any reference to it online, so I may have imagined it.
The worst team from the Premiership plays the best team from the Championship for pro/rel. The worst team from the Championship plays the best teams from the regional leagues (although usually only the NRU and TRU send teams up).

12. Do the clubs get financial assistance from the state or other local authorities? If yes, how much money do they get?
Depends on the club, but in general, no. Not much money if they do.

13. Do the clubs receive sponsorships from private companies? If yes, how much, and what are the companies most involved?
Small local businesses, usually. Often times the sponsor will be a local pub.

14. What is the state of women's rugby in your country? (try to answer as many as the questions above for women's rugby too)
All of the questions above are almost the same for the women's game. Most mens clubs have a women's club, and the structure is basically the same (except it's called the Ontario Women's League instead of the OWL).

At the nationwide level, instead of the four-team CRC, there's the National Women's League. There's a rep team for almost every province.

On the International stage, Canada's women are ranked better than the men. There's a saying about sports in Canada that's fairly accurate: Our men our great in hockey; our women are great in everything.

15. What is the state of 7's in your country?
Honestly, outside of the 7WS and W7WS, it's barely talked about. There's some tournaments organised for fun, but there's not real competitions or anything (that I know of, at least).

16. What is the amateur scene in your country? Are there amateur clubs or teams playing rugby just for fun? Tell us some things about them too.
It's *all* amateur!

Coaching and juniors:
1. What is the quality of coaching available to your local players, both at the clubs and the national team?
Can't answer that, sorry.

2. What kind of training facilities do the players have access to?
There's a pretty good facility in Langford, BC for the national teams. Outside of that, not much...

3. Are there foreign coaches in your country?
The head coach of the men's team is a former All Black. At the lower levels, not really. Certainly no one that's in Canada with the purpose of coaching.

4. Are there any rugby academies? If yes, how are they structured and how many players do they have.
I'm not sure what you mean by "academies," so I'm going to say no.

5. How young are kids when they typically start playing rugby?
Our local club has teams for kids as young as 5. Most people start in high school or college / university, I'd say (early teens to early 20s).

6. Do kids have clear pathways from being juniors to playing at the highest levels of your local competitions and then possibly playing in stronger championships abroad?
I know Rugby Ontario has open try outs for the provincial team, and I think Rugby Canada selects their players from there. I would say yes?

Other things:
1. What is the sporting scene in your country like? What are the popular sports in your country, how does rugby compare to them in terms of playing numbers, money, media attention, the number of fans, etc. and what do you think are the chances rugby will grow bigger in your country?
The most popular sports to watch are hockey and (gridiron) football. The most popular sports by participation are soccer and hockey. Rugby's small, but growing. There are a lot of sports that are barely existant in Canada (netball and rugby league come to mind), and rugby union's above them. I think rugby has a chance to get more popular in the future, but I'm not sure what they can be doing to grow the game without a professional league (either here or next door in the US).

2. What difficulties is rugby facing in your country?
There's a perception that it's a dangerous game (even more violent that hockey; even more concussion prone than gridiron). I'm not sure where it comes from, honestly.

3. How is rugby perceived by people who don't really know much about this sport?
See above.

4. How is rugby's situation now compared to 10 years ago in your country?
Improving greatly. Four years ago, Wales played in Toronto in front of ~3,000 people. We're getting ~20,000 out to our big games now.

5. How do you think rugby's situation will be 10 years into the future in your country?
I think if a professional league starts up, it'll be really good. If that doesn't come to pass, though, I think we've hit the ceiling for the time being.


The original post here:
Mullaney wrote:
VANCOUVER - BC Place officials are considering the installation of a new rugby-friendly artificial turf playing surface that would clear the way for top-tier rugby nations to play at the 54,500-seat facility.


The Polytan surface now used at BC Place — installed nearly three years ago for an estimated $1.2 million — has a pile height of 40 millimetres and IRB-approved turf fields must have a pile height of 60 millimetres.



http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/Plac ... story.html

If that happens it might be the catalyst the T1 sides need to give Canada more home games, provided they manage to sell a lot of tickets. They might get a 7s series too. :thumbup:

Image

Konstantinos

Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby Konstantinos » Wed, 16 Apr 2014, 13:40

:thumbup:
Good stuff. Their recent tests vs T1 sides have demonstrated there's appetite for quality rugby in Canada, and frankly, the T1ers would rather play a rich country than Georgia. It'd be nice if the North American sides would get some home tests vs T1ers in June instead of that awful PNC.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby HMFCalltheway » Fri, 18 Apr 2014, 13:54

Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby iul » Fri, 18 Apr 2014, 18:26

HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.

Frankly, it would make a lot of sense to give Japan, the US and Canada a lot of home tests vs T1s. They are the ones that can actually make money on their home tests, and as their unions hone their skills at organizing and selling big events the profits are going to increase even more.
It'd be nice to see Canada fill up that big stadium soon :thumbup:

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby grande » Fri, 18 Apr 2014, 18:50

HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.


Yeah, that's the plan... Our competition for next year has been decided already, but I can't recall who it is, I couldn't find it after a quick google search.

I think the last time we had a "good" series of tests in the summer was 2009... Played both Wales & Ireland at home, then the Churchill Cup south of the border (with the USA, Ireland A, Argentina Jaguars, Georgia, and England Saxons). There was also the RWC2011 qualifying vs the US in there...

Floki

Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby Floki » Sat, 19 Apr 2014, 12:42

grande wrote:
HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.


Yeah, that's the plan... Our competition for next year has been decided already, but I can't recall who it is, I couldn't find it after a quick google search.

I think the last time we had a "good" series of tests in the summer was 2009... Played both Wales & Ireland at home, then the Churchill Cup south of the border (with the USA, Ireland A, Argentina Jaguars, Georgia, and England Saxons). There was also the RWC2011 qualifying vs the US in there...

If they do change the surface on that stadium and Canada Rugby can play there, then I'm sure more good things are going to go Canada's way regarding the hosting of tests.
The next step after that should be for Canada and the US to create a pro league. Maybe 3 teams each for starters. They could play two championships every year for a 24 week long season.

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby iul » Sat, 19 Apr 2014, 17:36

The number of Canadian rugby players is dropping

http://bcrugbynews.com/show_news.cfm?ID=1275

Comparing the 2012 numbers to 2013 there are fewer senior and junior registrations across the country. Only mini numbers are up. There were 24,595 registrations in 2012 and 23,381 in 2013, that’s a loss of 1,214 players. That’s not insignificant.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby YamahaKiwi » Mon, 21 Apr 2014, 09:58

Floki wrote:
grande wrote:
HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.


Yeah, that's the plan... Our competition for next year has been decided already, but I can't recall who it is, I couldn't find it after a quick google search.

I think the last time we had a "good" series of tests in the summer was 2009... Played both Wales & Ireland at home, then the Churchill Cup south of the border (with the USA, Ireland A, Argentina Jaguars, Georgia, and England Saxons). There was also the RWC2011 qualifying vs the US in there...

If they do change the surface on that stadium and Canada Rugby can play there, then I'm sure more good things are going to go Canada's way regarding the hosting of tests.
The next step after that should be for Canada and the US to create a pro league. Maybe 3 teams each for starters. They could play two championships every year for a 24 week long season.


With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby Shaggy » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 02:55

YamahaKiwi wrote:
Floki wrote:
grande wrote:
HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.[/qu

Yeah, that's the plan... Our competition for next year has been decided already, but I can't recall who it is, I couldn't find it after a quick google search.

I think the last time we had a "good" series of tests in the summer was 2009... Played both Wales & Ireland at home, then the Churchill Cup south of the border (with the USA, Ireland A, Argentina Jaguars, Georgia, and England Saxons). There was also the RWC2011 qualifying vs the US in there...

If they do change the surface on that stadium and Canada Rugby can play there, then I'm sure more good things are going to go Canada's way regarding the hosting of tests.
The next step after that should be for Canada and the US to create a pro league. Maybe 3 teams each for starters. They could play two championships every year for a 24 week long season.


With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.


Hi, this is my first post on this forum :)

Yep, it would be great to see the full test sides from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa play here in Canada ... in addition to the local home grown fans, there's enough ex-pats to fill the stadiums I'm sure

... of the three, I thing the All Blacks are the most likely, as the NZRU seem to be always on the look out to make more money, although that will probably depend on how much pressure AIG exerts on them/whether the exposure AIG gets, would be worth while in Canada.

The next most likely (IMO) would probably be the Wallabies (if there's money in it), as the ARU seem to be under quite a bit of financial pressure at the moment.

Anyway, new/better turf can only be a good thing, and higher quality opposition has got to bring benefits, regardless of what teams come ... just hope they are the full test sides, and not 'A" sides or development sides

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby Beeman » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 12:19

YamahaKiwi wrote:With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.

I doubt that Canada is considered a good market like USA and Japan were to the All Blacks. Canada only got that NZ Maori game last year as an add on so that the Maori didn't just play 1 match.

Sorry to say, but New Zealand's recent venture towards Tier 2 nations will probably benefit nobody who isn't in the top 10 list of world economies. Canada's only hope in that regard is as an add on to the USA, like the Maori game last year.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby grande » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 13:48

Beeman wrote:
YamahaKiwi wrote:With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.

I doubt that Canada is considered a good market like USA and Japan were to the All Blacks. Canada only got that NZ Maori game last year as an add on so that the Maori didn't just play 1 match.

Sorry to say, but New Zealand's recent venture towards Tier 2 nations will probably benefit nobody who isn't in the top 10 list of world economies. Canada's only hope in that regard is as an add on to the USA, like the Maori game last year.


Canada's #11 in the list of countries by nominal GDP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c ... P_(nominal)#Lists

Outside of the top 10, yes... but barely.

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Postby jonny24 » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 16:53

BMO Field is set to expand this year too, with seating of 30000 for soccer games and 25000 for football. They are also aiming at hosting the Winter Classic, with supposedly up to 40000 with temporary seating.
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Re:

Postby Coloradoan » Wed, 23 Apr 2014, 16:55

jonny24 wrote:BMO Field is set to expand this year too, with seating of 30000 for soccer games and 25000 for football. They are also aiming at hosting the Winter Classic, with supposedly up to 40000 with temporary seating.


That's good. Gives some upside. Hope BC Place can get sorted out too.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby YamahaKiwi » Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 00:37

Beeman wrote:
YamahaKiwi wrote:With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.

I doubt that Canada is considered a good market like USA and Japan were to the All Blacks. Canada only got that NZ Maori game last year as an add on so that the Maori didn't just play 1 match.

Sorry to say, but New Zealand's recent venture towards Tier 2 nations will probably benefit nobody who isn't in the top 10 list of world economies. Canada's only hope in that regard is as an add on to the USA, like the Maori game last year.


Disagree about Canada. As I said the NZRFU was very happy from Steve Tew's comments with the way things went in both games. Again as I said there is a good Kiwi connection in Canada which I'm sure is engaged with the NZRFU. Furthermore Canada is a pretty decent-sized and wealthy economy and has a number of good-sized metro markets, especially Toronto who is obviously considered big enough by US pro sports since it has several US pro sport franchises and if they see it as being worthy enough I honestly don't know why the NZRFU wouldn't. I'd be very surprised if Canada wasn't next on the list for the NZRFU, providing the issue of a decent-sized stadium being available is resolved.

Of course, they are looking at wealthier countries (and ones that they could strategically align themselves with in the future). They're a business not a charity and they recognise that fact. The same with the European clubs who have gone to Brussels and Switzerland for example but not Georgia. Again like the NZRFU they're interested in new possibilities providing it stacks up financially or they can envision that in the future it will and are prepared to take the loss in the short term if the risk is seen as worthwhile. You're primarily talking about the Pacific Islands and as I've said to you before I wholeheartedly agree that as neighbours and leaders in the region the NZRFU (And the ARFU) should take a different approach rather than just deciding off money (but with conditions like the clean-up of national union admins). That's a failing of the NZRFU. But it's another topic altogether. Canada, which is who we are talking about in this instance, stacks up on it's own merits as far as I'm concerned.

Great to see BMO field getting a capacity increase. Now that it's got to the current capacity ceiling and close a few times for rugby games, the capacity needs to grow so that support in Toronto can continue to grow with it.

Talking Toronto, what the heck is going on with the Pan-Am Games rugby venue? It still seems to be undecided and I haven't heard BMO even being mentioned on the official website, which surely is the logical choice, no?

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby Beeman » Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:31

YamahaKiwi wrote:Disagree about Canada. As I said the NZRFU was very happy from Steve Tew's comments with the way things went in both games. Again as I said there is a good Kiwi connection in Canada which I'm sure is engaged with the NZRFU. Furthermore Canada is a pretty decent-sized and wealthy economy and has a number of good-sized metro markets, especially Toronto who is obviously considered big enough by US pro sports since it has several US pro sport franchises and if they see it as being worthy enough I honestly don't know why the NZRFU wouldn't. I'd be very surprised if Canada wasn't next on the list for the NZRFU, providing the issue of a decent-sized stadium being available is resolved.

Of course, they are looking at wealthier countries (and ones that they could strategically align themselves with in the future). They're a business not a charity and they recognise that fact. The same with the European clubs who have gone to Brussels and Switzerland for example but not Georgia. Again like the NZRFU they're interested in new possibilities providing it stacks up financially or they can envision that in the future it will and are prepared to take the loss in the short term if the risk is seen as worthwhile. You're primarily talking about the Pacific Islands and as I've said to you before I wholeheartedly agree that as neighbours and leaders in the region the NZRFU (And the ARFU) should take a different approach rather than just deciding off money (but with conditions like the clean-up of national union admins). That's a failing of the NZRFU. But it's another topic altogether. Canada, which is who we are talking about in this instance, stacks up on it's own merits as far as I'm concerned.

Great to see BMO field getting a capacity increase. Now that it's got to the current capacity ceiling and close a few times for rugby games, the capacity needs to grow so that support in Toronto can continue to grow with it.

Talking Toronto, what the heck is going on with the Pan-Am Games rugby venue? It still seems to be undecided and I haven't heard BMO even being mentioned on the official website, which surely is the logical choice, no?

The wider fact is though, these policies are harmful to any country below a certain point. These nations will always be isolated under a pick and choose fixture system and being permanently blocked from any chance of reaching the top division tournaments. Which is why I strongly think the sport needs to have a pathway to the top end of the game for all nations from top to bottom, and that a UEFA style governing body is the logical thing operated in a load of other team sports that offers such a thing.

As an aside, New Zealand I believe are an exceptional case as they have a brand worth millions, nobody else could send a representative team and fill 20,000 stadia in North America (no way do "SA President's XV" or "Ireland Wolfhounds" do that). The All Blacks will always be grand in terms of making money, however I'm not convinced either that this model of targeting big economies works long term for everybody else.

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby grande » Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:37

YamahaKiwi wrote:Talking Toronto, what the heck is going on with the Pan-Am Games rugby venue? It still seems to be undecided and I haven't heard BMO even being mentioned on the official website, which surely is the logical choice, no?


According to the page for "Pan Am Park," (which is where BMO Field is), they will be hosting rugby, however when you go to the event page for rugby sevens, it says venue "To be announced."

I'm almost certain it will end up at BMO Field, but I keep hoping they'll move it to Tim Hortons Field, since I live about a 5 min bike ride from that stadium!

(Something to be aware of: BMO Field will be called Exhibition Stadium during the games, due to sponsorship reasons)

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby Beeman » Thu, 01 May 2014, 10:32

Connacht have signed Grenoble 10/12 Shane O'Leary who was previously a Canada U20 player. This essentially rules out any chance of him reaching the senior national team any time soon in order to keep him Irish qualified.

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby grande » Thu, 01 May 2014, 13:31

Beeman wrote:Connacht have signed Grenoble 10/12 Shane O'Leary who was previously a Canada U20 player. This essentially rules out any chance of him reaching the senior national team any time soon in order to keep him Irish qualified.


The dude was born and raised in Ireland, so I can't blame him for wanting to slip into a green jersey... but man, I'd like to see him play for Canada.

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby Beeman » Thu, 01 May 2014, 13:38

grande wrote:
Beeman wrote:Connacht have signed Grenoble 10/12 Shane O'Leary who was previously a Canada U20 player. This essentially rules out any chance of him reaching the senior national team any time soon in order to keep him Irish qualified.


The dude was born and raised in Ireland, so I can't blame him for wanting to slip into a green jersey... but man, I'd like to see him play for Canada.

If he couldn't make the Ireland U20 team, and has signed for Connacht, I wouldn't hold much hope of him ever playing for Ireland.

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BCRU launches their new strategic plan for 2014-17

Postby wizardsonly » Thu, 01 May 2014, 17:22

It's pretty cool to see the initiative being taken and what they want to do to increase rugby in BC. Here's the page http://www.bcrugby.com/news/2014/04/30/ ... 2KCFSe9KK1

Thoughts?

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Re: Canada Rugby might access to a big stadium soon.

Postby The Bush » Thu, 01 May 2014, 17:48

Shaggy wrote:
YamahaKiwi wrote:
Floki wrote:
grande wrote:
HMFCalltheway wrote:Scotland are touring the USA, Canada and Argentina this Summer. I think the IRB are trying the to give the NA teams on T1 match per summer as Ireland (albeit a weakened side) and Italy toured the two previous years.[/qu

Yeah, that's the plan... Our competition for next year has been decided already, but I can't recall who it is, I couldn't find it after a quick google search.

I think the last time we had a "good" series of tests in the summer was 2009... Played both Wales & Ireland at home, then the Churchill Cup south of the border (with the USA, Ireland A, Argentina Jaguars, Georgia, and England Saxons). There was also the RWC2011 qualifying vs the US in there...

If they do change the surface on that stadium and Canada Rugby can play there, then I'm sure more good things are going to go Canada's way regarding the hosting of tests.
The next step after that should be for Canada and the US to create a pro league. Maybe 3 teams each for starters. They could play two championships every year for a 24 week long season.


With the ABs having played Japan last year and scheduled to play the US this year, and if that is reasonably sucessful (I am confident it will be) and Canada had a decent large venue for rugby like a returfed BC Place, I'm sure Canada would probably be the next destination for the ABs. The NZRFU was delighted with how the Maori ABs games were supported last year and Canada has some good links with the NZ in the form of coach Crowley and Mike Chu who I think is the head of their high performance programme (?). I wish Australia and RSA would start to seriously show a bit more enthusiasm about playing those three northern Asia-Pacific countries.


Hi, this is my first post on this forum :)

Yep, it would be great to see the full test sides from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa play here in Canada ... in addition to the local home grown fans, there's enough ex-pats to fill the stadiums I'm sure

... of the three, I thing the All Blacks are the most likely, as the NZRU seem to be always on the look out to make more money, although that will probably depend on how much pressure AIG exerts on them/whether the exposure AIG gets, would be worth while in Canada.

The next most likely (IMO) would probably be the Wallabies (if there's money in it), as the ARU seem to be under quite a bit of financial pressure at the moment.

Anyway, new/better turf can only be a good thing, and higher quality opposition has got to bring benefits, regardless of what teams come ... just hope they are the full test sides, and not 'A" sides or development sides


The ARU can't run the risk of staging an unprofitable Test. The ARU is on the verge of financial ruin and has been so since blowing their profits of the 2003 World Cup a number of years ago. Unless Canada or a government of some kind could guarantee a suitable profit, the Wallabies will never play against Canada in Canada (or any other non-traditional nation).

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby grande » Thu, 01 May 2014, 22:57

Well, I did it. I'm by no means an expert, especially for things outside of Southern Ontario. If you see something wrong / incomplete, let me know, and I'll update the post. Happy reading!

The history:
1. When has rugby started to be played in your country and how?

Due (in part) to Canada's history as a British colony, rugby has been played here since before Canada was a country. It's sometime hard to accurately trace the sport here, because the terms Canadian Football and rugby were used interchangably until fairly recently. For example, my father has a medal for being on the high school rugby team in the 1970s, however it was much closer to Canadian Football. Helmets, pads, forward passes, etc. They referred to it as football, but the offical name was rugby still. (If the history of rugby-to-Canadian Fooball interests you, consider clicking this link)

Canada's first international game was vs Japan in 1932 in Osaka. Japan won 9-8.

The national team:
1. What competitions does your national team play in?
Currently, just the PNC and the World Cup. Canada Select (our A team) also plays in the Americas Rugby Championship, with Argentina Jaguars, USA XV (I think they're called the All-Americans now?), and Uguguay.

The Women's national team participates in the Nations Cup, winning it in 2013 (beating England and South Africa).

For Sevens, both the Men and Women play in the World Series. The men are currently in 7th after 7 (of nine) stops; the women are in 3rd place after four (of five).

2. Post a picture of your national team
http://beyondmiles.aeroplan.com/uploads ... 77_001.jpg

3. Where are your national team's players based (do they play locally or do they play abroad, and if they play abroad, what countries are they mostly in)?
Based on the last official team selection (from the November tests):
- Domestic: 13
- England: 6
- Wales: 3
- France: 2
- New Zealand: 2

4. What stadiums does the national team usually play their home tests (tell us some details about the stadiums and put some pics too)
Smaller tests are played in different stadiums around the country (Edmonton, Ottawa, Burnaby, Victoria, etc). Those stadiums range between 1,000 - 10,000 in capacity.

The big games are almost always at BMO Field in Toronto. It currently holds 22,000, but expansion has been approved to bring it to (I think) 30,000.

Disappointingly, Team Canada has not played a test in Vancouver in years, and in Montreal ever (to the best of my knowledge).

5. How much media attention does the national team get? How does it compare to other popular sports in your country?
When there's a big test happening, or the World Cup, there will be a blurb in the paper, or it might get a quick mention in the evening news. I think the games vs Ireland and Māori All Blacks were shown on TSN? Other tournaments, like the PNC and the World Cup qualification barely got a mention.

6. How many people typically go to your national team's matches.
Depends on where it's hosted and who's playing. The summer tests have been getting 20,000+ the past few years. The PNC games will get 5,000 if they're lucky.

7. How much do tickets to the national team's matches cost? (Convert your local currency to Euros and USD to tell us the price)
For the Canada Scotland Game (approximate prices; didn't look it up):
- Cheap Seats: $25CAD / €16
- Most Seats: $60CAD / €40
- VIP Area: $200CAD / €131

8. What style of play does your national team have?
For the teams we normally play, we play a fairly forward-heavy game. Our pack doesn't really rate vs the big boys, but it's enough to push the likes of the US or Japan around.

9. What are your national team's strengths and weaknesses?
Our biggest weakness is depth. We usually have a really solid 15 players, but if a few people are out due to injuries, or other committments, the skill drops off pretty quickly.

10. Who is the national team's coaching staff and are they professional?
The head coach is Kieran Crowley, a former All Black (19 caps, 105 points).
Andy Evans is the strenght & conditioning coach. I'm unsure of his history.
Ben Herring is technical coach & match analysis. Played for the Highlanders and Hurricanes in New Zealand from 2001-2007, and for Leicester in the UK from 2007-2009.
John Tait coaches both women's teams, former Team Canada player (37 caps), played pro for Cardiff & Brieve.
They're all paid, but I have no idea if it's a living wage, or a stipend.

The Rugby Federation:
1. Post the name of the rugby federation and their logo
Rugby Canada, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Logo ... _Rugby.svg

2. Is the rugby federation professional or are they just some guys doing that in their spare time?
Professional.

3. How big is the federation's staff and how is the federation organized?
Full staff (including coaches, physio, team managers, etc) is 34 people. (See here: http://www.rugbycanada.ca/leagues/custo ... ageID=4384)

There is a 19-person Board of Directors at the helm, then a small executive committee. Rugby Canada oversees each provinces Provincial Union. I believe all 10 provinces have unions, and none of the territories do.

4. How many registered players does it have (how many men, women and juniors, if you have this information too)?
I'm getting wildly different numbers.
From wikipedia: 73,664 (total), 14,160 (adult), 55,582 (teenage), 3,922 (pre-teenage). Their source is an IRB page that no longer exists.
From this PDF from the IRB: 129,131

5. Does the federation get any financial assistance from the state? If yes, how much money do they get?
Yes, there's a govenemnt organization called Sport Canada (part of the Ministry of Culture, or something like that). I have no idea how much they make, but the number is going to increase, due to the Olympics. Canada has a very successful program called Own The Podium that funds Olympians and Olympic teams that was started for the Vancouver Olympics (2010).

UPDATE - I found a balance sheet from 2011. That year, the Government of Canada provied $1.5 million, and the IRB provided $1.8 million. Sponsorships accounted for $420,000. I had no idea Rugby Canada had that much money coming in.

6. Does the federation receive sponsorships from private companies? If yes, how much do they get, and what are some of the federation's main sponsors?
Yes! See here.

7. How does the Rugby federation's budget compare to the federations of other popular sports in your country?
It's Tiny. Hockey is king, followed by Canadian Football. After that, soccer, then probably basketball or baseball. Curling is in there too, but I have no idea where. After that, rugby.

Those are just team sports. I'd imagine golf and tennis are up there as well.

8. How good of a job is your rugby federation doing promoting rugby in the country? Are they active on social media, like Facebook or Twitter? How many followers do they have on those websites? Do they regularly post updates and engage the fans?
Pretty good, actually. Lots of updates. 28,766 Likes on Facebook; 27,400 Followers on Twitter.

9. What is the state of the rugby media in your country? Can fans easily have access to rugby news? Do the major media outlets give any attention to rugby?
It's not great. It'll get a brief mention here and there when there's a big game, but it's not in the public for the most part. The best way to get news about rugby in Canada is to read Rugby Canada's press releases.

The rugby clubs and club competitions:
1. How any clubs are there in your country
324, according to wikipedia.

2. Where are the rugby clubs located (what cities, are they mostly in one region or are they spread evenly throughout the country, etc...)
The biggest areas are the Toronto area, the Calgary area, and the Vancouver area. I've been lead to believe it's popular in Newfoundland, but I don't know to what extent. Rugby exists where ever people are, for the most part, but Canada's spread out nature makes travel difficult.

3. Are there any pro/semi-pro clubs in your country? If yes, tell us which ones they are. Post some of their logos too.
Nope. The highest level is the Canadian Rugby Championship. It's four regional teams (Atlantic Rock, Ontario Blues, Prairie Wolf Pack, BC Bears). I keep hearing rumours that it will eventually get a 5th team (the Voyageurs, for Eastern Ontario & Quebec), but nothing's come of it yet.

4. How big are the club's budgets?
Don't know, sorry.

5. How much are the players paid (if there are paid players)?
$0.

6. Are there many foreign players playing for your local clubs? If yes, where are they from, why do they choose to play rugby there, and why do the clubs choose to have foreign players?
The only 'foreign players' that play, are people from elsewhere that happen to live in the area.

7. How many people turn up to watch the club's regular season matches?
Around here, dozens. Ontario Blues games and the Marshall Premiership final might get a couple hundred.
I'm under the impression that out West, more people show up. Anyone on here from out west?

8. How much do the tickets to watch club games cost? (Convert your local currency to Euros and USD to tell us the price)
Free. CRC games have a small fee to get in ($5 I think?)

9. What club competitions exist in your country?
I only know about Ontario (Canada's most populous province).
- CRC is the nation-wide, regional championship that I mentioned above.
- Marshall Premiership, the top level of Club rugby in Ontario (8 clubs, mostly Toronto-area).
- Marshall Championship, 8 clubs, wider area, but still centred around Toronto.
- Four regional bodies, the Niagara Rugby Union, Toronto Rugby Union, Eastern Ontario Rugby Union, and Southwestern Rugby Union. The area I live in is part of the NRU, which has 13 clubs in 3 divisions.

10. Post an image of the competition's logo, if it has one
I remember it being shittier for some reason, but I kinda like it, looking at it again:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/e ... p_logo.jpg

11. What is the structure of the club season? (When does it start, when does it end, how many teams are in each competition, how is promotion and relegation done between the leagues, does the season end with a grand final, etc..)
Rugby's a summer sport here. It starts in June, and goes 'til September.
There's no pro/rel in the CRC. Round robin, each team plays one another once, alternating home & away each season.
The Ontario leagues are also round robin. I thought the Premiership did a four-team playoff, but I'm not seeing any reference to it online, so I may have imagined it.
The worst team from the Premiership plays the best team from the Championship for pro/rel. The worst team from the Championship plays the best teams from the regional leagues (although usually only the NRU and TRU send teams up).

12. Do the clubs get financial assistance from the state or other local authorities? If yes, how much money do they get?
Depends on the club, but in general, no. Not much money if they do.

13. Do the clubs receive sponsorships from private companies? If yes, how much, and what are the companies most involved?
Small local businesses, usually. Often times the sponsor will be a local pub.

14. What is the state of women's rugby in your country? (try to answer as many as the questions above for women's rugby too)
All of the questions above are almost the same for the women's game. Most mens clubs have a women's club, and the structure is basically the same (except it's called the Ontario Women's League instead of the OWL).

At the nationwide level, instead of the four-team CRC, there's the National Women's League. There's a rep team for almost every province.

On the International stage, Canada's women are ranked better than the men. There's a saying about sports in Canada that's fairly accurate: Our men our great in hockey; our women are great in everything.

15. What is the state of 7's in your country?
Honestly, outside of the 7WS and W7WS, it's barely talked about. There's some tournaments organised for fun, but there's not real competitions or anything (that I know of, at least).

16. What is the amateur scene in your country? Are there amateur clubs or teams playing rugby just for fun? Tell us some things about them too.
It's *all* amateur!

Coaching and juniors:
1. What is the quality of coaching available to your local players, both at the clubs and the national team?
Can't answer that, sorry.

2. What kind of training facilities do the players have access to?
There's a pretty good facility in Langford, BC for the national teams. Outside of that, not much...

3. Are there foreign coaches in your country?
The head coach of the men's team is a former All Black. At the lower levels, not really. Certainly no one that's in Canada with the purpose of coaching.

4. Are there any rugby academies? If yes, how are they structured and how many players do they have.
I'm not sure what you mean by "academies," so I'm going to say no.

5. How young are kids when they typically start playing rugby?
Our local club has teams for kids as young as 5. Most people start in high school or college / university, I'd say (early teens to early 20s).

6. Do kids have clear pathways from being juniors to playing at the highest levels of your local competitions and then possibly playing in stronger championships abroad?
I know Rugby Ontario has open try outs for the provincial team, and I think Rugby Canada selects their players from there. I would say yes?

Other things:
1. What is the sporting scene in your country like? What are the popular sports in your country, how does rugby compare to them in terms of playing numbers, money, media attention, the number of fans, etc. and what do you think are the chances rugby will grow bigger in your country?
The most popular sports to watch are hockey and (gridiron) football. The most popular sports by participation are soccer and hockey. Rugby's small, but growing. There are a lot of sports that are barely existant in Canada (netball and rugby league come to mind), and rugby union's above them. I think rugby has a chance to get more popular in the future, but I'm not sure what they can be doing to grow the game without a professional league (either here or next door in the US).

2. What difficulties is rugby facing in your country?
There's a perception that it's a dangerous game (even more violent that hockey; even more concussion prone than gridiron). I'm not sure where it comes from, honestly.

3. How is rugby perceived by people who don't really know much about this sport?
See above.

4. How is rugby's situation now compared to 10 years ago in your country?
Improving greatly. Four years ago, Wales played in Toronto in front of ~3,000 people. We're getting ~20,000 out to our big games now.

5. How do you think rugby's situation will be 10 years into the future in your country?
I think if a professional league starts up, it'll be really good. If that doesn't come to pass, though, I think we've hit the ceiling for the time being.

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby jonny24 » Fri, 02 May 2014, 01:51

Great post, I hadn' got around to it and you did a better job than I would have ;)
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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby grande » Fri, 02 May 2014, 02:20

jonny24 wrote:Great post, I hadn' got around to it and you did a better job than I would have ;)


If you know anything about the structure outside of Ontario, please fill me in!

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Re: Canadian rugby

Postby iul » Fri, 02 May 2014, 04:56

Thanks! Can you please delete the questions and keep only the answers? It will look better IMO, like an article. You'll probably have to edit your answers a bit so the readers know what you mean. Thanks. I should have asked for this from the beginning, sorry.

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