Original Article – Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada
Langford, BC – April 11, 2019: Canada Under-18 men’s team head coach Mike Curran has announced his long list for an upcoming Summer Series against USA on Vancouver Island July 3-15. The 24-man squad has been selected following the recent North American 4 series at the end of December and the beginning of January against their Southern rivals. 60 players took part in the tour and this announcement is a further selection from that group as well as continual discussion with key selectors from around the country.
A total of 10 BC athletes are part of the list, hailing from Interior to Island. Jacob Bossi (Cowichan), Jacob Bourne (UBCOB Ravens), Ciaran Breen (Cowichan), Storm Buck (TORA), Brenner Kelava (Shawnigan Lake School), Talon McMullin (Earl Marriott Secondary), Connor Paivarinta (Abbotsford), George Piper (Abbotsford), Siaki Seumanutafa (Bayside) and Logan Weidner (Carson Graham Secondary) all got the call up from Mike Curran and have the prospect of representing Canada against their old foes to the south this summer.
“Selection decisions are always difficult. Rugby Canada understands that players develop at different times and within varying environments. The age-grade staff continue to ensure that the pathway has multiple entry points to reflect those realities,” said Curran.
Brentwood College, located 30km North of downtown Victoria, BC, will host three game days on July 7, 10 and 14 between Canada and USA. The first two will act as warm-up matches with the entire roster getting a chance to start one or both fixtures, while the final game will be seen as a full international and streamed on Rugby Canada’s Facebook page.
“The ultimate goal is to identify the correct players for the Canada Under-20s and eventually the Senior Men’s 15s and 7s programs. Moving beyond the July Series, athletes will again be evaluated through the U19 Canadian Rugby Championship as well as various regional school, club, and provincial competitions,” added Curran.
“We are delighted that the program will be headed by Mike Curran (Head Coach) and supported by John Lavery (Québec) and Scott Manning (BC). It’s great to have three coaches involved who have great experience at this level but also have to have a great spread of coaches from across the country and from different provinces,” said Gethin Watts, Rugby Canada’s Performance Director for Age Grade Programs.
“The main objectives associated with the event continues to be talent identification as we look to find the next generation of players that can be developed further via the programs being put in place for the future. There is a lot of work being done in order to ensure that identified players are given the opportunity to fulfil their potential and represent Canada in both XVs and 7’s. This program represents the start of their international journey and represents only one part of the bigger picture,” he added.