Sunday Musings - February 2018

February 11 2018

Ian Birtwell - Canada coach 1991 and 1995 RWC

Sunday Musings: Weekend 7s Action; Rugby Canada Bring in Another Expert Henry Paul for Men's XVs; UBC Defeat Seattle 48-10: Letters to Editor

[editor's comments below]

Henry Paul Brought in for Backs

Foreign coaches and friends of foreign coaches, we've seen it all before. Crowley brought in his mates from NZ, even his own brother. Anscombe brought in people - that Scotsman who was a defensive expert, can't even remember all the names now. Working vacation in Canada courtesy of the Canadian rugby community, Rugby Canada and no doubt World Rugby. Kingsley Jones bringing in his mates now, Henry Paul, the latest. They did such a wonderful job with Russia back in the day, might as well do the same with Canada now. Russia just got beat by Spain last weekend by the way, doesn't look like they'll make the World Cup repechage this year, more likely Spain is the country Canada will have to worry about at the repechage. You can read more at the link below. Henry Paul is currently working in that hotbed of elite rugby, the United Arab Emirates, head coach of Jebel Ali Dragons and director of rugby at Kings Al Barsha School in Dubai.

Local 7s

On a more positive note, domestic coaches like Doug Tate of UVic, who is well regarded as an elite coach and talent identifier, was at Nanaimo leading his young UVic Vikes to tournament victory at the inaugural VIU 7s. He didn't bring his top team, it was a development tournament for smaller universites and club U23 sides, and he judged the level well as the final was a narrow 15-14 victory over hosts VIU. Ian Birtwell, the former national team XVs coach was also in attendance. "Were you the coach when Canada beat Wales" was one question asked by a welshman in attendance, "Yes I was" was the reply with a wry smile. The conversation continued from there. All the domestic coaching talent there, untapped by the "powers that be" currently running the national teams.

Here are a couple of video clips from the day, teams exchanging handshakes afterwards, the culture of our sport. Also a couple of Thunder players (Indigenous Rugby) teaming up to score a try for VIU in the final. Lots of good things happening at the grassroots level, powered by volunteers. Kudos to Jon Rose and Drew Cooper of VIU for starting this tournament.

The women were over at Abbotsford where UFV hosted the Canada West event. UVic won the tournament "posting a perfect 6-0 record en route to the title. Finishing second through seventh, respectively, were Calgary (4-2), Alberta (4-2), Lethbridge (3-3), UBC (3-3), UFV (1-5) and Thompson Rivers (0-6)." The last tournament in the series is at UVic Feb 24-25, they are strong favourites to win the series this year.

UBC Defeat Seattle

UBC defeated Seattle 48-10 in BC Premier to return to top of the table ahead of UBCOB Ravens. It was a make up game and the only BC Premier game this weekend.

Talking about top level domestic coaches, how about Rameses Langston and Curry Hitchborn and what they've done with the UBC program over the last few years? Still the powers that be keep assuring us that there's no viable domestic coaching resources for the men's national XVs program, not buying it. I think I've finally figured out the angle, it's protecting their butts to World Rugby and the money trail. If they bring in someone from a Tier 1 country like a Crowley, Anscombe or Jones, someone known by the mandarins of World Rugby, and they fail, Rugby Canada can still say we followed your wisdom, keep sending money. If they hired someone Canadian, unknown to those overseas, and they failed, well the money brokers would say, "see we told you so, if you won't listen to us then...". Take a note of the list of RWC coaches for Canada (and their records) going back to the first one in 1987.

1987 Gary Johnston (1-2)
1991 Ian Birtwell (2-1 QF)
1995 Ian Birtwell (1-2)
1999 Pat Parfrey (1-2)
2003 David Clark (1-3)
2007 Ric Suggitt (1-3)
2011 Kieran Crowley (1-1-2)
2015 Kieran Crowley (0-4)
2019 Mark Anscombe, Kingsley Jones (??)

A Letter from NZ

A reader from NZ, someone who follows BC Rugby, had this to say.

Hello Mark,

How utterly saddening it must be for you and other loyal Canadian rugby supporters.

I tuned in to World Rugby on TV and heard the Uruguayan's saying , "we knew Canada would tire".

Unfortunately, so did anyone who has watched the steady decline. The utter lack of spark and enthusiasm.

No defence. A change of attitude is needed. Bring on the new blood, no need for caution.

But, please, please, CHANGE.

Kind Regards

A Letter from Canada

Hello Mark Hanco was the # 8 for the USA under 20’s and played against Canada’s squad when Luke Bradley was # 8 for Canada. Luke had a great game, not sure who won, in the 2nd half those 2 had a scuffle and Hanco clearly beat him. Hanco has become what he is today, a powerhouse soon to be pro, Luke on the other hand is running around playing 7’s perhaps to be brought into the fifteen side like Braid was. Our player development path is the tale of two promising #8’s.

Mark I was wrong the Ontario Arrows, if they get up and running, are being funded by Blackshire Financial out of T.O.. The interesting aspect, if they tour, is how their funds are being raised and if this is a good path for a sponsor of Pro Rugby. just a thought Brazil GO CANADA GO

Pemberton Holmes
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