BC Bears Play Ontario Blues in CRC Semi-Finals This Thursday

August 21, 2018

Vancouver, BC - August 21, 2018: BC Rugby is excited to announce the BC Bears team that will travel for their Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) match against the Ontario Blues, which kicks off this Thursday at 4pm Pacific Time at Calgary’s Rugby Park. The Bears defeated the Blues in the CRC final last year, escaping with a 30-29 victory in a nail-biting match to finish the tournament undefeated and lift the MacTier Cup.  This year the Bears have faced a tougher battle, narrowly losing their opening match 24-27 to Prairie Wolfpack before putting in a much-improved performance in the second leg of the qualifier at Klahanie Park on August 3rd, winning 39-20.

Half of the Bears’ roster has just returned from a Canada Selects tour to France, so there have been some minor changes in the lineup. UBC fly-half, Theo Sauder, is out after suffering an injury to his quad in France. He is replaced by UBCOB Raven Aaron McLelland, who held lead his club to a memorable Roundefell Cup win over UBC at the 2018 BC Rugby Club Finals in Abbotsford. Coach Scott Manning is excited to have Aaron join the team, saying, “He hasn’t played with us yet in the competition, but a lot of people have seen what he can do offensively, and he’s proven himself in that respect”. The backline is also bolstered by Isaac Kay of the Canadian Sevens team. His speed and physical presence will be a welcome asset on the wing. Mike Finnemore and Reid Watkins will add some size and presence to the team as well. Watkins played last year for the Bears but has not competed with them since the warm-up fixture against the Royal Air Force in June.

The coach’s focus is on getting the team working well together, as prep time is limited. “Essentially in a competition like this, teams are coming together pretty late. You have to worry about playing your own game and playing a cohesive game. We’re trying to get everyone on the same page when it’s time to perform”. He is also confident in his team’s chances to repeat as champions, “I’m excited, I think we have a good team and we progressed nicely from our first game against the Wolf Pack to our second. We’re looking to carry that into our third game”.

This is sure to be an exciting match as Ontario will be looking for revenge after last year’s tight loss in the final. The Bears have already lost one match this CRC season, so they won’t be able to hit a perfect record like last year, but, with a win against the Blues, they advance to the final and a chance to repeat as champions.  Incidentally, this feat of back to back titles was last achieved by Ontario as part of their dominance of the tournament between 2011-2014

The BC Bears play the Ontario Blues in the CRC semi-final in Calgary, Thursday August 23, at 5:00pm MDT/4:00pm PDT. You can stream the match on Rugby Canada’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RugbyCanada/. We will also have updates on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Image courtesy of Ilana Barkusky

Canadian Rugby Championship Schedule:

Thursday, August 23rd - Semi-Finals

BC Bears vs Ontario Blues KO 5:00pm MDT/4:00pm PDT

Atlantic Rock vs Prairie Wolfpack KO 7:00pm MDT/6:00pm PDT

Sunday, August 26th

3rd Place Match - KO 12:00pm MDT/11:00am PDT

Final - KO 2:00pm MDT/1:00pm PDT

BC Bears Team for 2018 Canadian Rugby Championship Semi-Final

1. Noah Barker - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)

2. Steven Ng - James Bay AA (Ottawa, ON)

3. Liam Murray - James Bay AA (Langley, BC)

4. Shea Wakefield - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)

5. Mike Finnemore - Castaway Wanderers RFC ( (Saskatoon, SK)

6. Dustin Dobravsky - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Hanover, GER)

7. Nathan Stewart - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Williams Lake, BC)

8. Luke Campbell (C) - James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)

9. James Pitblado - UVic Vikes (Vancouver, BC)

10. Guiseppe Du Toit - UVic Vikes (Maple Ridge, BC)

11. Isaac Kaay - UVic Vikes (Kamloops, BC)

12. Mike Nieuwenhuysen - James Bay AA (Brampton, ON)

13. Douglas Fraser - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Ladysmith, BC)

14. Jared Douglas - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)

15. Sean Ferguson - UBCOB Ravens  RFC (Vancouver, BC)

16. Blake Van Heyningen - James Bay AA (Courtenay, BC)

17. John Braddock - Castaway Wanderers RFC (Victoria, BC)

18. Nik Hildebrand - Burnaby Lake RFC (Nanaimo, BC)

19. Travis Larsen - James Bay AA (Parksville, BC)

20. Oliver Nott - UVic Vikes (Victoria, BC)

21. Jordan Sandover-Best - UBCOB Ravens RFC (Vancouver, BC)

22. Josh Thiel - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)

23. Aaron McLelland - UBCOB Ravens (Gisborne, NZ)

Travelling Reserves

Jason Hignell - Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)

Reid Watkins - Burnaby Lake RFC (Okotoks, AB)

Bryce Worden - Burnaby Lake RFC (Sussex, NB)

Coaching Staff

Coach: Scott Manning

Coach: Mario Domingues

Manager: Clint Lemkus