Canada vs. Scotland by The Travelling Rugger

Here are some photos of Saturday’s match through the lenses of Dale Hall.

Photos by Dale Hall

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Canada vs. Scotland by Paige Stewart

The following photos are from the Canada vs. Scotland international match, which took place at BMO Field on June 14. Canada lost in the final minutes of the match. The tier one nation, Scotland, won 19-17.

Photographs by Paige Stewart.

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The Dust has Settled on BMO Field

Canada lost, in dramatic fashion, against Scotland 19-17.

In front of over 18,000 fans, both nations’ top athletes battled it out for 80 minutes.

After the final whistle, the only thing on the Canadian fans’ minds was the Jebb Sinclair red card. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were filled with accusations about the referee giving Scotland the win. I also heard stories of vulgar language used towards the officials, by people in attendance.

Photo by Dale Hall

Photo by Dale Hall

It is understandable to put fault on the officials, because every sports fan has done it in the past. However, there is no need to continually attack the match officials, especially out of blind rage.

Let me put the Canadian national team’s performance under the microscope.

Canada had three ball-handling errors inside the Scottish 22m line, which could have potentially turned into tries for Canada. Also, Jason Marshall committed a double movement infringement on the Scottish goal line. Here are four instances where Canada left points on the field, instead of the scoreboard.

Inside Canada’s 22m line, Canada had two ball-handling errors as well. At the 14 minute mark, Tyler Ardron attempted a no-look pass to Phil Mack from the back of a Canadian scrum at the Canadian 5m line. This was nearly intercepted by Greig Laidlaw, but Laidlaw knocked the ball forward. The second handling error came from an untimely box-kick by Gordon McRorie. This lead to a penalty against Canada for being offside, and it gave Scotland a successful shot at goal.

I am not stating all of this information because I am a “naysayer.” I am providing these situations because I want people to understand that everyone makes mistakes. Canada left a lot of points on the field, and they gave Scotland some very good opportunities to put some points up for themselves. The referee was not the deciding factor in this match. The better team won on the day. Hopefully, Canada can bounce back against the United States in their second match of the Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) this Saturday.

For the controversial Jebb Sinclair red card, everyone has formed an opinion, and here is mine. The first important fact that everyone must realize is: Mike Fraser, the referee for the match, spoke directly to Sinclair twice. He first addressed Sinclair at the 25-minute mark, and he seemed to be trying to settle Sinclair down after a heated breakdown. Then, at the 51-minute mark the referee addressed Sinclair again. Two verbal admonishments by a referee, directly towards a player, do add up.

As for the contact, it looked like poor body positioning by Ruaridh Jackson, and a bit of a shoulder drop by Sinclair. The thing that still has me scratching my head is the fact that Sinclair followed through with his arm, after the contact. In my opinion, with all the factors taken into account, I think a yellow card would have been more than enough.

The Canadian national team played a very hard 80-minute match against the Tier one nation, but at the end of the day Scotland came out as the victors.

Canada’s next match will take place at Bonney Field in Sacramento, Calif. This match will be the second match for Canada in their PNC campaign.

By Dale Hall


Mexico Rugby CEO comes to Canada

Mexico Rugby CEO, Alberto Luca De Tena, was in Canada this past week.

De Tena was here to shadow some of the employees at both Rugby Canada offices, and he also attended and presented at the Rugby Canada Annual General Meeting.

For more information on his trip, please check out the link below for the full interview video.

About Mexico Rugby

Mexico Rugby is currently ranked 74th in the world. Mexico Rugby has over 200 club sides and 35 university programs, as well as over 750 female players. Mexico RugFMRUby now has 16 full-time staff members, compared to just 5 in 2009.

The growth of rugby in Mexico is very amazing to see. Stay tuned for more information on Mexico Rugby, as The Travelling Rugger prepares to head to the Cancun 7s tournament in June.

By Dale Hall

2014 Rugby Ontario Focus Group

The 2014 Rugby Ontario Referee Focus Group had their kick-off camp this past weekend in Markham, Ont.

The Focus Group consists of 12 promising referees, who are ready to continue their development as match officials. The Focus Group’s objective is to take these eager referees and provide them with training and development resources, which they can use to grow as referees.

The Focus Group’s first weekend together saw the group members attend various workshops, which will set down a good foundation for growth and development in each individual. The Focus Group is led by Andrew McMaster and Greg Williams. Over the weekend, the group had special presentations held by former Welsh international Lisa Newton, and current Markham Irish head coach Rodin Lozada.

The Focus Group members and leaders will meet four more times this year. They will be attending: the National Capital Youth Rugby Festival in Ottawa, Ont., the Ontario Summer Games in Windsor, Ont., the Rugby Ontario Jr. Cup in Markham, Ont., and the men’s leg of the University Sevens Tournament in Kingston, Ont.

Focus Group Members:

Michael Hargrave (Maxwell, Ont.)
Khalil Bheriani (Aurora, Ont.)
Sam Jones (Erin, Ont.)
Susan Heald (Burlington, Ont.)
Ben Stinson (Kingston, Ont.)
Mario Shelton (Toronto, Ont.)
Dale Hall (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
Nathan Sayers (Toronto, Ont.)
Marnus Coetsee (Stoufville, Ont.)
Dylon Hart (Mississauga, Ont.)
Becky Murray (Sunderland, Ont.)

By Dale Hall

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Article can also be found on the Rugby Ontario website.


Upright Rugby has the ‘Magic Formula’

The future of rugby is in the youth’s hands.

Tyler Leggatt, the owner of Upright Rugby Canada, is making sure those hands can catch and pass well.

Leggatt started Upright Rugby Canada as a summer camp for kids. After receiving help from several national team players, and putting in a lot of hard work, Leggatt has created a Upright Rogueswell-known rugby program.

Upright Rugby Canada runs summer camps for children 12 to 16 years of age, and they run sessions for clubs and schools. Upright Rugby Canada started an academy program four years ago, which has seen high performance athletes such as Djustice Sears-Duru, Kainoa Lloyd and Danielle Spice.

The academy program is the pride of Upright Rugby Canada, according to Leggatt.

“It has helped a number of our players work toward their goal of becoming the best rugby player they can be, says Leggatt.

“The summer camps haven’t quite found their niche.”

However, Brantford Harlequins and Oakville Crusaders have partnered with Upright Rugby Canada for 2014, and Leggatt is hoping to partner with more clubs throughout the year.

This year marked the first year for the Upright Rugby Rogues, which is a specialized sevens program for aspiring high performance sevens athletes. The Rogues are just coming off a successful Las Vegas Sevens tournament. The first team won the plate final against the Toronto Rugby Union team, and the second team had a tough loss in their shield final.

Leggatt is happy knowing that he was able to help 20 boys from Ontario get a chance to play at the biggest sevens tournament in NoUpright Rugby Canadarth America.

It is amazing to see that, what started as a summer camp has grown into something so large and successful. Upright Rugby Canada employs three people on a semi-permanent basis, as well as seeing support from current and former junior national players.

“I am extremely grateful to have players like Andrew Ferguson, Dan Mathie and Tyler Ardron come back to help when they can,” says Leggatt.

Upright Rugby Canada is a prime example of a small rugby organization making a big impact in the rugby community.

By Dale Hall 

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Canada’s USA Sevens Pool Stage

With the USA Sevens tournament starting in a matter of hours, The Travelling Rugger is breaking down Canada’s pool stage.


Photo by José Lagman

Canada’s first match is against Kenya. In 22 matches against Kenya, Canada has come out on top 13 times. The last time Kenya and Canada faced off, Kenya came out on top 24-12.

Canada’s second pool match is against South Africa. Canada has only beaten South Africa five times in 34 matches, and South Africa is coming off a cup win at their home tournament, in December.

Finally, Canada will take on Wales. Wales is sitting in ninth place on the series standings. This will be Canada’s first match against Wales at the USA Sevens. Winning over 70 per cent of their matches against Canada, Wales are heavy favourites.

Canada is up against three top 10 countries, and Canada is missing Nathan Hirayama, Sean Duke and Ciaran Hearn. It is safe to say, Canada will be fighting an uphill battle. The good thing for Canada is the fact that the tournament is being held in the United States. There are many Canadians down in Las Vegas, Nev. cheering on the Canadian side, which could give them the feeling of having a home-field advantage.

For continual updates on Canada’s progress, during the tournament, please follow The Travelling Rugger on Twitter:

By Dale Hall

IRB Approves Trial on ‘Rugby Goggles’

The International Rugby Board (IRB) has approved a global trial on “rugby goggles.”

Players around the world with vision issues have always had a bit of a disadvantage when it came to rugby. Many players wore contacts on the field, but contacts would often fall out. The cost of replacing contacts would often turn into a costly and tedious chore as well.

“Not everyone can wear contact lenses, particularly children,” says Steve Griffiths, head of technical services for the IRB.

These innovative goggles are now available for purchase, but you must have an optometrist’s prescription. These goggles are safe for the player, teammates and opponents on the pitch. The features advertised by the manufacturer, Raleri, “high-speed impact resistance, anti-fogging, anti-abrasion surfaces, UV protection and a specially designed strap with no clip, or sharp edges.”

The goggles can be purchased at

By Dale Hall

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From London’s Fog to Fiji’s Sunset

From living in the cool climate of England to watching the Fijian sunset, that is a scenery change that anyone would enjoy.

Ben Ryan - England

Submitted Photo

For former England sevens coach Ben Ryan, 42, that was a change he is proud of making. Ryan is the longest serving sevens coach, in England’s history, and he is the coach that took England to their highest Sevens Rugby World Cup (RWC) finish in 20 years. After having such a fruitful career in England, Ryan is now coaching the Fijian national sevens team.

After having a successful 2013 with England, Ryan was still feeling frustrated off the field.

“I was falling out of love, a bit, with the game at the end of last season,” says Ryan.

“I remember thinking during the RWC that perhaps it was time to do something else.”

Ryan and his family are now settled in Fiji, and he is in full control of the Fijian squad. Ryan is quite grateful for everything the people of Fiji have done to make his family’s transition easier.

“It’s been a big lifestyle change, and Fiji and London are incredibly different places,” says Ryan.

The decision to move was not solely Ryan’s. Ryan had to ask his wife, Natalie, as well. Ryan says he took Natalie to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Richmond, U.K., and after having a lengthy conversation they came to an agreement. After they agreed to make the move, they ordered a bottle of red wine and toasted to the decision.

“It was a little surreal sitting in a nice restaurant in an affluent area of London,” says Ryan.

“Knowing that the scenery was about to change pretty drastically.”

Ryan now finds himself on the fourth stop on the HSBC World Series tour, and his team is sitting in third place. The Fijian squad is quite inexperienced, compared to other top squads. However, this inexperience does not bother Ryan.

“The talent is there to be the best in the world,” says Ryan.

Ryan is confident that with time, and the continuation of the player’s hard work, the Fijian squad will be the best in the world.

One speed bump in this road to dominance is the recent actions by the International Rugby Board (IRB). The IRB recently froze funding to the Fiji Rugby Union (FRU). In light of the recent events, Ryan has willingly waived his salary until the situation is dealt with.

“I owe a lot, to a lot of people that have helped shape my career,” says Ryan.

Submitted Photo

Submitted Photo

“Rugby has had a huge impact on my life, and it didn’t take long to decide to do what I did.”

Ryan was upset that his decision to waive his salary got out publicly, and that is a testament to his character. Not many people will completely up-root their lives and move halfway around the world, while also telling their employer to waive their personal salaries.

Ryan’s determination, to build a successful program, will undoubtedly rub off on his players. No matter what the outcome of this year’s HSBC World Series, the Fijian sevens squad will be one to watch.

 By Dale Hall

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