Vancouver, BC – July 11, 2017 – BC Rugby is proud to announce the BC Bears squad ahead of their first match in the 2017 Canadian Rugby Championships, sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures. Canadian and BC stalwarts Phil Mack, Anthony Luca and Jake Illnicki will be leading a squad balanced with young talent and experienced hands against the Prairie Wolf Pack at Thunderbird Stadium this Friday. As the only home game in the competition, The BC Bears are keen to make the most of the home field advantage before the tournament moves to Calgary in August.
The new-look squad, under the direction of Head Coach, Tony Healy of James Bay AA, will be keen to get off to a winning start and make amends for last year. The opening match of the 2016 CRC witnessed a closely fought game against Prairie Wolf Pack, with victory stolen from the Bears in the closing moments. Seven players that started that match are present this year, including Giusseppe DuToit, Doug Fraser, Andrew Lackner, Anthony Luca, Craig McLaughlin, Jordan Reid-Harvey and Brock Staller.
New additions to this year's line-up include George Barton and Anton N’Gongo who both starred in Canada's U20 Men’s qualifying victory over the USA in Edmonton this June. Joining them are Paul Ahn, Luke Campbell, Neil Courtney, Harjun Gill, Jake Ilnicki, Travis Larsen, Phil Mack, Aaron McLelland, Mike Nieuwenhuysen, Nakai Penny, Cam Polson, Gavin Rowell, Taitusi Vikilani and Connor Weyell.
Canada Senior Men's Team players Ilnicki, Mack and Luca will bring an extra element of experience and composure to the squad off the back of the test series games against Romania, Georgie and USA last month. With a further five players hailing from the BC Rugby Men's Premier League 2017 Champions, UBC Thunderbirds, there is no question that the squad is well equipped to deal with the pressure and expectation building ahead of the match.
Senior Manager of Rugby Growth & Development at BC Rugby, Dean Murten, struck a positive tone stating, "I am excited to see how the BC Bears perform in the 2017 CRC. They started the season well with a good performance against a Canadian Tyee team in May, and they've been putting the work in to ensure they are well prepared for a high tempo match."
Murten went on to say, "The team has a good balance of youth, and experience. We know the Wolfpack will play a direct physical game and we're all very excited to get this season off to a great start."
UBC Thunderbird Stadium will be the venue for this much-anticipated match, with kick off at 7.00pm (PDT). Tickets are available at the gate from 6pm at just $12 for adults and free for minors (please bring valid High School ID).
For those that can’t make it to the venue, the game will be live streamed at bcrugby.com/bc-rugby-live-streaming/.
After this opening match, the CRC tournament will shift to Calgary, with the remaining games being played from August 13-19 at Rugby Park.
BC Bears vs. Prairie Wolf Pack
2017 Canadian Rugby Championship, sponsored by Langara Fishing Adventures
Thunderbird Stadium - UBC
Friday, July 14, 7pm Kickoff
Tickets at the Gate from 6pm
BC Bears’ Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule
Bears vs. Wolf Pack — July 14 — 7pm PDT
Bears vs. Rock — Aug 13 — 3pm MDT/2pm PDT
Bears vs. Blues — Aug 16 — 5pm MDT/4pm PDT
3rd Place Playoff — Aug 19 — 5pm MDT/4pm PDT
CRC Final — Aug 19 — 7pm MDT/6pm PDT
BC Bears' Squad vs. Prairie Wolf Pack
|Paul Ahn||UBC Thunderbirds||Vancouver, BC|
|George Barton||ASM Clermont-Ferrand||Duncan, BC|
|Luke Campbell||James Bay AA||Victoria, BC|
|Neil Courtney||UBC Thunderbirds||Vancouver, BC|
|Giusseppe DuToit||UVIC Vikes||Victoria, BC|
|Doug Fraser||Castaway Wanderers RFC||Victoria, BC|
|Harjun Gill||UBCOB Ravens RFC||Vancouver, BC|
|Jake Ilnicki||Castaway Wanderers RFC||Victoria, BC|
|Andrew Lackner||Burnaby Lake RFC||Pitt Meadows, BC|
|Travis Larsen||James Bay AA||Victoria, BC|
|Anthony Luca||Burnaby Lake RFC||Pitt Meadows, BC|
|Phil Mack||James Bay AA||Victoria, BC|
|Craig McLaughlin||Burnaby Lake RFC||Burnaby, BC|
|Aaron McLelland||UBCOB Ravens RFC||Vancouver, BC|
|Anton N'Gongo||Castaway Wanderers RFC||Victoria, BC|
|Mike Nieuwenhuysen||James Bay AA||Victoria, BC|
|Nakai Penny||UBC Thunderbirds||Comox, BC|
|Cam Polson||Castaway Wanderers RFC||Victoria, BC|
|Jordan Reid-Harvey||Capilano RFC||Vancouver, BC|
|Gavin Rowell||UVIC Vikes RFC||Abbotsford, BC|
|Brock Staller||UBC Thunderbirds||Vancouver, BC|
|Taitusi Vikilani||Burnaby Lake RFC||Burnaby, BC|
|Connor Weyell||UBC Thunderbirds||Vancouver, BC|
|Tony Healy||Head Coach|
|Phil Mack||Assistant Coach|
|Des Lynch||Manager/Mental Skills Coach|
|Dr. Rebecca Skillen||Medical Staff|
|Trish Hopkins||Medical Staff|
|Morgan Sangster||Medical Staff|