The under-19 (U19) Ontario Blues are gearing up for their Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) tournament.
The 2013 U19 CRC tournament will take place July 17-21 at Calgary Park in Calgary, Alta.
Here is the U19 Blues schedule:
Ontario Blues vs. British Columbia on July 17
Ontario Blues vs. Prairie Wolfpack on July 18
Ontario Blues vs. Voyageurs on July 20
Playoffs will take place on July 21
Head coach, Shaun Allen, has selected his 24-man roster. There are four Canada under-20 (U20) players from the 2013 Junior World Trophy, and a capped player from the Canada Wolverines on the roster. Djustice Sears-Duru, Sawyer Herron, Matt Mullins and Jack Smith played for the U20 Canada team, and Allen is hoping that the combined experience will support the Blues pack quite a bit.
Allen is certain that a number of other Blues forwards could potentially represent Canada at the U20 level as well.
In the back line, Allen looks forward to seeing what Graham Dobbs and Chris Woodhead can do. Dobbs is an internationally capped rugby league player, and Woodhead was the under-17 (U17) Canada captain during his time with Canada. This will also be Woodhead’s first appearance for Ontario in two years.
With a tournament of this calibre, pressure is always something to worry about for young players. However, the Blues’s scrumhalf Josh Boyles is a player who does not frighten easily. Boyles has represented Canada at the U17 and U19 levels.
“He’s a pretty hard kid,” says Allen, who is aware of Boyles’s skills. Allen knows Boyles’s speed at the breakdown will be very beneficial to the Blues’s performance.
Allen is looking forward to seeing the improvement of all the representative clubs’s U19 programs.
“Bringing the provinces together has been a huge benefit for this level of rugby,” says Allen.
This being the third U19 CRC tournament, the level of talent has gone up quite a bit. Allen has laid out a simple structure for his team, and the only thing the Blues’s coaching staff is worried about is the performance of their players.
“Were trying to make the players better,” says Allen.
Judging by past performances, Allen knows that British Columbia will be a hard team to beat, and that match will be the Blues’s first match of the tournament. If the Blues can execute their game plan and dictate the pace, the Blues will do well and may possibly come away with the win.
Here is the U19 Ontario Blues 24-man roster:
Paul Ciulini (Aurora Barbarians)
Sawyer Herron (Oakville Crusaders)
Chris Houston (Toronto Scottish)
Matt Mullins (Belleville Bulldogs)
Thomas Purdy (Toronto Nomads)
Kevin Rush (Aurora Barbarians)
Djustice Sears-Duru (Oakville Crusaders)
Jack Smith (Peterborough Pagans)
Andrew Thomson (Ajax Wanderers)
Jason Valencia (Oakville Crusaders)
Max Van Dijk (Oakville Crusaders)
Carl Williams (Peterborough Pagans)
Jeremy Wright (Lindsay RFC)
Josh Boyles (Peterborough Pagans)
Graham Dobbs (Oakville Crusaders)
Benoit Jones-Osborne (Barrie RFC)
Kainoa Lloyd (Mississauga Blues)
Jon Lorimer (Toronto Nomads)
Jayden Norcross (Barrie RFC)
John Sheridan (Markham Irish)
Jonah Simpson (Oakville Crusaders)
Kyle Spicer (Aurora Barbarians)
Glen Thomson-Bullock (Toronto Nomads)
Chris Woodhead (Oakville Crusaders)
During the tournament, Rugby Canada will be holding various workshops for the young athletes. These workshops include: position specific training, strength and conditioning, and mental health skills. This tournament will give Rugby Canada a good chance to check out the talent of each province’s representative team’s U19 programs.
By Dale Hall
“Like” The Travelling Rugger on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheTravellingRugger
For the rest of the U19 CRC schedule please check out the Rugby Ontario website. http://www.rugbyontario.com/home.aspx