Sunday, April 01, 2007

RWCQ: “Ruck on the Rock”

August 11, 2006

SANZAR's Tri-Nations takes a break from their tournament this weekend, so this Saturday's big international test action comes to the northern hemisphere -- specifically, a vital World Cup qualifier between Canada and the United States at Newfoundland.

Unfortunately, the test match will not be televised, but a live online commentary is available (details below).

Test match Preview via Rugby Canada:

The Webb Ellis Cup will be present in Newfoundland this weekend as Rugby World Cup 2007 qualifying resumes with the decisive Americas Round 3b match between Canada and USA in St John's, Newfoundland.

Both sides are undefeated in Round 3b having recorded comfortable victories over Barbados, setting the scene for Saturday’s ‘winner takes all’ clash that will determine who joins Australia, Wales, Fiji and the top Asian qualifier in Pool B for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

The winner of the match will qualify as Americas 2 and will be the fourth team to seal a place through the qualifying system , joining Samoa (Oceania 1), Fiji (Oceania 2) and Argentina (Americas 1) . The other eight confirmed places are taken by the quarter finalists from the Rugby World Cup 2003: England, Australia, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Wales, Ireland and Scotland who were all given automatic places for Rugby World Cup 2007.

The loser of Saturday’s encounter will have to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2007 through the Americas play-off where it will face Americas 3a runners-up Uruguay home and away to determine who qualifies for RWC 2003 as Americas 3 and who progresses to the Repechage. [...]

With Canada and the USA currently thirteenth and fourteenth respectively in the IRB World Rankings, the match promises to be close. Canada, Rugby World Cup quarter-finalists in 1991 and participants at all five Rugby World Cup tournaments, won the last encounter between the two sides in the Barclays Churchill Cup in May, but nothing is being taken for granted this time around.

Starting line-ups announced:

1. Kevin Tkachuk (Glasgow Gunners (Scotland)
2. Pat Riordan (Burnaby Lake & Vancouver Wave)
3. Rod Snow (Dogs & The Rock)
4. Mike James (Stade Francais (France))
5. Luke Tait (Parma (Italy))
6. Jamie Cudmore (Clermont-Auvernge (France))
7. Stan McKeen (Cornish Pirates (England))
8. Sean-Michael Stephen (Oakville Crusaders & Niagara Thunder)
9. Morgan Williams (Albi (France))
10. Ander Monro (Edinburgh Gunners (Scotland))
11. Justin Mensah-Coker (Meraloma & Vancouver Wave)
12. David Spicer (University of Victoria & Crimson Tide)
13. Ryan Smith (Montauban (France))
14. James Prichard (Bedford (England))
15. Mike Pyke (Edinburgh Gunners (Scotland))

16. Mark Lawson (Velox-Valhallians & Crimson Tide)
17. Dan Pletch (Oakville Crusaders & Niagara Thunder)
18. Garth Cooke (Bedford (England))
19. Colin Yukes (Agen (France))
20. Mike Webb (Swilers & The Rock)
21. Ed Fairhurst (University of Victoria & Crimson Tide)
22. Derek Daypuck (Castaway Wanderers)

1. Mike MacDonald, Berkeley, Calif. (Leeds (UK))
2. Matt Wyatt, Southampton, Pa. (Whitemarsh)
3. Chris Osentowski, Long Beach, Calif. (Belmont Shore)
4. Alec Parker, Aspen, Colo. (Aspen) or Adam Russell, Washington, D.C. (NYAC)
5. Mike Mangan, Crystal Lake, Ill. (Chicago Griffins)
6. Todd Clever, San Jose, Calif. (North Harbour (NZ))
7. Justin Stencel, Fort Collins, Colo. (Charlotte)
8. Kort Schubert, Sacramento, Calif. (Cardiff (Wales)) or Scott Lawrence, Smyrna, Ga. (Life)
9. Kimball Kjar, Dallas, Texas (Dallas);
10. Mike Hercus (Newport (Wales) Gwent Dragons);
11. Paul Emerick, Pella, Iowa (Newport (Wales) Gwent Dragons);
12. Albert Tuipolotu, San Francisco, Calif. (Parma (Italy)) or Vaha Esikia, Las Vegas, Nev. (Blackjacks)
13. Phillip Eloff, Chicago, Ill. (Chicago Lions)
14. Brian Barnard, Los Gatos, Calif. (Golden Gate)
15. Francois Viljoen, Los Angeles (Belmont Shore).

16. Chad Erskine, San Diego, Calif. (OMBAC)
17. Albert Tuipolotu, San Francisco, Calif. (Parma (Italy)) or Vaha Esikia, Las Vegas, Nev. (Blackjacks)
18. Kort Schubert, Sacramento, Calif. (Cardiff (Wales)) or Scott Lawrence, Smyrna, Ga. (Life)
19. Louis Stanfill, Sacramento, Calif. (Cal)
20. Alec Parker, Aspen, Colo. (Aspen) or Adam Russell, Washington, D.C. (NYAC)
21. John Vitale

  • The local St. John's, Newfoundland daily newspaper The Telegram profiles hometown boy Rod Snow, one of the greatest Canadian rugby internationals to ever wear the maple leaf and whose international career may have a curtain drawn as soon as tomorrow:

  • A warrior’s last battle?

    Friday, August 11, 2006
    By JOHN BROWNE, The Telegram

    If Rod Snow’s final rugby match in a Canadian jersey is Saturday, he’ll walk away from the game without any regrets.

    The 36-year-old warrior, who has 56 caps — more than any other Canadian prop — and seven tries for Canada, will be in uniform against the United States for the World Cup qualifying match in St. John’s. Newfoundland and Labrador’s greatest rugby player and one of the best to compete for this country, Snow had been retired from the national team for nearly three years, but couldn’t resist the chance to play for Canada in his home province.

    Snow finished up a 10-year professional career in Wales with the Newport Gwent Dragons in 2005 and returned home and helped The Rock team win the Rugby Canada Super League title the past two seasons.

    “I haven’t made any firm decisions but, to be honest, I’m not looking past this Saturday,” said Snow, who has been named to Canada’s starting 15.

    The five-foot-11, 265-pounder, who made his debut for Canada in Argentina in 1995, has played in three World Cups — South Africa, 1995; Wales, 1999 and Australia, 2003 — and he said he’d like nothing better than to help the national team qualify for France in 2007.

    “Without sounding selfish, there’s was definitely something there for me personally as well,” noted Snow, who played his first professional season in Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 1996.

    “It’s an opportunity to play in Newfoundland and wear the Canadian jersey, but the bigger picture for me is to help the team qualify for the World Cup.”

    If Canada goes on to play in France, it probably will do so without Snow.

    “To be honest, right now, I just don’t think my body is up to it,” he admitted. “My work commitments and family obligations just doesn’t allow for it. I don’t see how it would be possible for me to do it.

    “It’s a young man’s game. A lot of the players on our team haven’t even started a professional career at this stage.

    “Besides, it’s the ideal way to cap off my career if we can come off the field with a victory ... and I believe wholeheartedly we can.

    “We’ve prepared very well and we are the better team.”

    If Canada wins Saturday, Snow knows it would be heck of a way to wrap up his career.

    “I can’t ask for much more. I’ve been very fortunate in may career overseas and I’ve had two very successful seasons with The Rock,” he said.

    Snow is not just a icon in this province. The Bonavista native became a legend in Newport in 2001 when he helped the Black and Ambers win their first Principality Cup since 1977.

    “Rod’s a hero in Newport,’’ said former teammate Joe Powell while visiting Mount Pearl in 2001. “He’s very popular and was named player of the year. Because he was on the club through the thin times, the fans appreciate him even more.”

    An article by Stephen Jones*, one of the most respected rugby writers in Britain, described Snow some years ago as, “one of the great running props of the era” and “one of the most striking and respected and beloved players” on the Welsh rugby scene.

    “At Rodney Parade (where Snow played),” wrote Jones, “there is no noise like the noise that rises when Snow gets the ball. It is typical of him that he was so consistent and passionate in his play when Newport was so dreadful (in the past).”

    And concludes Jones, “It is no exaggeration to say Snow will go down in Newport’s history as one of the heroes ... perhaps not in terms of sheer rugby class, but for heart and passion. There is no finer warrior playing the sport.”

    Snow said he hasn’t thought about whether he will play for The Rock next year.

    “I love being around The Rock guys. They are a fun bunch. It’s an easy team to play for from my perspective because they are aware of the limited amount of training I can do and they accept it. Nobody holds it against me,” said Snow, who begged off a Canadian practice last week in order to be fully fit for the RCSL championship match against Prairie Fire, which The Rock won.

    “It’s hard as an old guy to see these kids go out and practise four nights and five nights a week while I sit and watch.

    “But, having said that, the possibility exists for me to play for The Rock next year. With or without me, (The Rock) will be successful for the next number of years as long as they can keep the group together.

    “Would I like to be a part of a three-peat?” he asked, rhetorically. “Absolutely. Whether or not I’m capable of doing it remains to be seen.”

    Saturday’s game will be the 11th time Snow has played against the Americans. He said the games against the U.S. are always special because the two teams do not like each other.

    * "one of the most respected rugby writers in Britain...". And one of the least respected rugby writers everywhere else. (Nothing to complain about here, though.)

  • More: Canadian Press preview here (via Globe and Mail).


  • Rugby Canada

    If you cannot make it to Newfoundland this weekend, you can still hear the game live streamed over the Internet.

    Rugby Canada and Canadian Rugby News are proud to bring this broadcast to fans around the country, as the National Senior Men's Team looks to qualify directly for the Rugby World Cup 2007.

    This final game from the North American section of qualifying sees Canada host the USA. With both teams already having beaten Barbados, this match will be winner-take-all for the first possible ticket to France.

    A draw will favour the USA, as they have better points-for record; a loss does not rule either nation out. The loser will face Uruguay for the last automatic Americas' spot; the runner-up of that match has one last chance in the repechage.

    The 'Ruck on the Rock' kicks off at 3:00 pm local time. That's 2:30pm Atlantic; 1:30 pm Eastern; 12:30 pm Central; 11:30 am Mountain; and 10:30 am Pacific.

    Log in approximately 15 minutes prior to kick-off for the pre-game show.

    Use the links below to listen (if you click before the games starts, there will be nothing to hear).
    (pop-up player which includes chat functions and instant scoring)

    (regular player link)


  • More info re: Canada vs. USA.

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