Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Canada Corner: Middleton Not Renewed, CRC Underway

It's time to take a look a some news and notes from our neighbors to the north.

Middleton Out As 7s Coach

After Canada failed to qualify for the Olympics a review of the program was promised. At least part of that review is in and it's not good news for coach Liam Middleton. Rugby Canada announced today that Middleton's contract would not be renewed.  Middleton came to the job after Geraint John had left but didn't arrive until just before the season and he inherited a team in the middle of transition. In the end it was too much and it cost him his job.

According to Patrick Johnston of The Province (who you should all be following for your Canada related news--Twitter here, Facebook here) some players also disagreed with Middleton's style. Canada will now be looking for a coach ahead of the season but it's going to be a difficult position to fill.

Take the jump to read more.

Women's Team Named For Rio

Prior to Middleton being let go the biggest news of the week was the announcement of the women's team that will represent Canada in Rio. After the announcement all most people could talk about was the non-selection of Magali Harvey, a former World Rugby Player of the Year. Recovery from injuries and her overall fit in the team are the main reasons head coach John Tait left her off the team. Even without Harvey the team is absolutely stacked. Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Kayle Moleschi, Ashley Steacy, and the list goes on of great players. The team is easily a favorite to medal in Rio.

Squad: Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Jen Kish, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy, Charity Williams

Women 15s Ranked #2

Thanks to their dominance at the recent Super Series the Canadian 15s team has moved from 4th in the world to second. Fitting as that is where they finished at the World Cup in 2014. They absolutely controlled the Super Series despite missing their key 7s players and a few others. For reference, the Women Eagles moved down to seventh from sixth.

Wolf Pack Lead CRC

The Canadian Rugby Championship, which is arguably the strongest 15s competition outside of PRO Rugby in North America, is halfway finished and the Prairie Wold Pack sit at the top of the standings. Last year's champions beat their western rivals the BC Bears 25-17 on Vancouver Island last week. That moves them to 2-0 with 9 points. The Ontario Blues are next in the table with 5 points followed by the Atlantic Rock with 4. The Bears have only one point. Things will pick back up in a few weeks as the Bears and the Wolf Pack head out East to place the Rock and the Blues.

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