July 28, 2009
by Colin Watson… Rep rugby team Toronto Rebellion defeated the vaunted Newfoundland Rock on Sunday to earn a berth in the Rugby Canada National Junior Rugby Championship Final. The score was 23-7. The undefeated Rebellion will play their last game of the season against Western Champions, the Vancouver Wave, in Vancouver on August 1st, 2009. The match will determine national under-20 rugby supremacy.
A Rebellion team accustomed to comfortable leads faced stiffer competition in the Eastern Final than in it did in its four regular season games against the Niagara Lightning and the Ottawa Harlequins teams. Rebellion players consistently fought a tough game through weather that alternated between sunny, hot, muggy conditions and overcast, rain, and thunder.
The Rock also played very capable rugby, as Rebellion Team Captain Mike Zsolt points out, “Newfoundland was a hard working side and I thought it was an extremely strong effort”. Newfoundland arrived in Toronto with a powerful set of forwards who immediately made their presence known in the scrummages and line-outs. It was not enough, and in the end the Rebellion finished 80 minutes of rugby with the Eastern Canada Championship in hand, and a National Final within sight.
Head Coach Allan Hawes singled out several players for their contributions on the day. “We were led by Gordon Kehoe and Steve Fievet who had outstanding games in the forward pack. The Rebellion backs were marshalled by Rory Tomlinson; the power of Sam Roberts and Jordon Wilson-Ross were too much for the Rock to contain.”
Coach Hawes saw some room for improvement looking forward adding, “the Rock did highlight some weakness in our game as they pressured us for much of the second half. We have several things to work on in our preparation for the National Championship game in Vancouver. I am sure the boys will more than rise to the challenge.”
Breakdown of the scoring for the Rebellion: Adrian Macijiwsky – 1 try (5 pts), Jordan Wilson-Ross – 1 try (5 pts), Daniel Manchisi – 1 try (5 pts), Steve Fievet – 1 conversion and 2 penalty goals (8 pts).
About the Rebellion:
The Toronto Rebellion draws its members from all over Southern Ontario and includes high school and college students playing Under-20, and college students and senior men playing for the Senior Men’s side. Prominent members of the Rebellion include several players who have played the game both for Ontario and Canada. The Senior Men competed in the Upper Canada Rugby Championship while the Under-20 squad are still playing to win the Rugby Canada National Junior Championship. The Rebellion trains at various facilities around the Greater Toronto Area including Fletcher’s Fields in Markham, Sunnybrook Park, and St. Michael’s College School. Rebellion Coaches are Allan Hawes (Toronto Scottish Rugby Football Club) and Stewart Dobbs (Ajax Wanderers Rugby Football Club). For more information on the Rebellion, please check the Toronto Rugby website: http://www.torontorugby.com
About Representative Rugby in Canada:
With the support of the International Rugby Board, Rugby Canada and the United States of America Rugby Football Union have expanded and re-branded the ‘North America 4′ as the ‘Americas’ Rugby Championship’. As a part of this new development, Rugby Ontario has been awarded one of the four franchises that will take part in the Canadian portion of the competition. The teams are the Ontario Blues, Atlantic Canada, Western Canada, and British Columbia. To support the Ontario Blues, and to see whose Branch Union rugby reigns supreme, Rugby Ontario has launched the Upper Canada Regional Championship that will see the Toronto Rebellion taking on the Ottawa Harlequins, the Quebec Caribou, and the Niagara Thunder.
Photos by Colin Watson www.colinwatsonphotography.com.
Colin Watson is the Media Relations and Press Officer for the Toronto Rebellion and can be reached at 416 707-6831 or .
September 25, 2008
by The Sports Fanatic…
A game played by well over fifty countries worldwide - and, if you’re a little tired of ice hockey (we know that’s a long shot), then rugby might just be the sport for you. We here in New Zealand, home of the mighty All Blacks, think of rugby as a way of life. It’s our identity in much the same way ice hockey is for you, so we thought we’d share all the latest news from our neck of the woods.
After all, it’s our dream to see the game we love grow across the world.
Rugby is in a transitional faze at the moment, as the International Rugby Board (IRB) looks to develop the laws of the game to speed it up, and to create a more attacking version of the game - which has been a welcomed change for fans.
The Experimental Law Variations, or ELVs, as they’re known, were trialled in this year’s Super 14 competition - and the response from the players has been overwhelmingly supportive of the new laws. The Super 14, which is the premier competition between sides from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, has enjoyed a revival this year due to the ELVs, which has seen the game open up. Ultimately, the fact that there was an increase in trys scored meant that the fans gave the new laws the seal of approval.
With the Southern Hemisphere sides in support of the ELVs, the challenge now is that the Northern Hemisphere nations - namely England, Ireland and Wales - are opposed to the changes, and are at this stage are not willing to trial them in their national competitions.
The Northern Hemisphere sides don’t traditionally like to play open rugby. Rather, they prefer to play tight rugby, which suits their kicking game well. The ELVs will force them to keep the ball in play a lot more, rather than kicking it out - which will essentially mean they will have to completely change the way they play the game.
It’s up to the IRB to make sure that the Northern Hemisphere nations trial the new laws before they dismiss them completely. It would be a shame to see the ELVs scraped, just because England doesn’t want them. The fans love the faster form of the game - and isn’t sport about pleasing the paying fan?
The new laws have proven to be a winner - the game has sped up, and we are seeing much improved contests at both provincial and Test level. For the game to progress and spread to new countries, the ELVs must stay.
We couldn’t comment on rugby without mentioning the All Blacks and their current situation, which is an extremely good one right now. With last years shock quarter-final exit at the World Cup, many people felt that heads would roll - namely, coach Graham Henry and his assistants, Steve Hansen and Wayne Smith.
The frontrunner for the coaching job seemed to be Robbie Deans, who had led the Canterbury Crusaders to five Super rugby titles. His credentials made him the obvious choice, but at announcement time it was Graham Henry who was given the job again. It came as a surprise to a lot of people, especially in the Canterbury region where Deans has such a loyal following.
After missing out on the All Black job, Deans headed over to Australia to take up the vacant Wallabies coaching position there, which came as no surprise to anyone - why wouldn’t New Zealand’s greatest rival take one of our greatest coaches?
The future for Australian rugby looks very good, and with wins over South Africa and the All Blacks in this year’s Tri Nations, they look like the Wallabies of old.
The All Blacks are in a rebuilding phase after losing a heap of experienced players to European clubs at the end of last year, and for the first time (in a very, very long time) they look slightly vulnerable as the new batch of talent develops. New Zealand has always had an eye for emerging talent, though, and the recent Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup win over Australia is testament to that.
We’d like to briefly touch on the growth of rugby worldwide, and what the IRB needs to do to help expand the game in places like North America, the Pacific Islands and Japan. It’s important for these sides to be given more Test matches against quality opposition (like the All Blacks and Australia) if the game is to improve in these regions.
Sides like Canada and Japan certainly have the ability to develop into competitive rugby nations, but at the moment they do not get to play quality opposition on a regular basis - and when they do play them, they usually get a sound thrashing.
The IRB needs to think about the current situation, and start including these fringe sides in the top-level international competitions. If they don’t, the game will not grow, and expand into new regions around the world.
It will certainly take a while before these sides can compete with the best in the business, and we’re not saying they are going to become the best in the world. But with regular Tests against top opposition, they at least have a chance. Just look at Argentina, and how they’ve developed into a top ten side - all because they’ve been given regular Tests against the better sides.
We certainly hope we’ve opened your minds to the great game of rugby, and we look forward to sharing our beloved game with you. For more rugby news, conversation and debate, check out www.sportsfanattic.co.nz - we’d love to hear from you.
If you want to get involved in rugby, either as a player or a fan, check out TOsports.ca sports directory,the “Where to Catch the Game Guide” for a complete list of local clubs in your area - you might just be surprised at how many Canadians are out there playing rugby.