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Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Hodgkins Named to Class of 2020

IslandStats.com
Despite a lost season, B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union (BCSSRU) salutes the skill, heart & grit of its Class of 2020!

Theirs was a season which was ended in its infancy back in March.

Yet while the B.C. boys high school rugby graduating Class of 2020 didn’t get a chance to experience the tests of league, playoff and provincial matches due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no doubting its heart and its skill.

That’s why today, BCSSRU has decided to continue its annual tradition with Varsity Letters, and present a list of its top 50 graduating players.

Every senior boys varsity head coach in the province was asked for their opinion, and after that extensive consultation was complete, two teams of 25 were fashioned.

Players listed numbers one-through-15 are done so largely by their positions, while those 16-through-25 are mixed bag of forwards and backs. The list does not purport to rank its 50 players in any way.

Jamin Hodgkins, who attended Shawnigan Lake was listed 10th.
Monday, June 29, 2020
Wainwright to Return to Arrows for 2021 Season

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The Toronto Arrows are continuing their initial roster assembly ahead of the 2021 Major League Rugby season, with the team sharing its first group of players to sign for next year’s campaign.

The club announced that Marcello Wainwright will return for the 2021 season.

While unable to feature during the shortened 2020 season due to injury, Wainwright appeared in 15 matches for the Arrows in 2019. The 23-year-old back-row stalwart produced a strong debut season with the club, racking up 158 made tackles (90.8% completion), 427 carry meters on 81 carries and two tries.

The hometown back row specialist has featured for the Canada Maple Leafs Sevens national development program, is a graduate of the Ontario Blues senior men’s provincial program, and played his grassroots rugby with the Toronto Scottish and Toronto Saracens.

Wainwright is also a player ambassador for club partner organization Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation, a Toronto-based rugby-center community nonprofit that uses rugby as a tool for social good.
Monday, June 15, 2020
World Rugby Release Law Application Guidelines

IslandStats.com
World Rugby has collaborated with some of the biggest names in international rugby to launch an educational resource to support the practical implementation of the breakdown law application guideline announced in April.

With the objective of making the one of the game's most dynamic and difficult facets simpler to play, coach and officiate, the resource has been developed with the input of leading coaches Joe Schmidt, Ian Foster, Richie Gray and Russell Earnshaw, International Rugby Players representatives Josh Beaumont and Victor Vito and international referees Wayne Barnes and Jaco Peyper.

Available via www.laws.worldrugby.org
, the resource provides step-by-step guidance for one of the most dynamic and complex areas of the game outlining guidance for the tackler, the ball carrier, the first arriving player (jackler), other arriving players and dealing with foul play.

The key focus areas are:

Tacklers will be expected to release the ball carrier and roll away immediately in the direction of the touchline
Ball carriers will be allowed one dynamic movement after being tackled with an onus on presenting or releasing the ball more quickly

Stand-up tackle: Ball carrier will be given time to get to ground. A tackle will be called when the ball carrier clearly gets a knee to the ground. A maul will be called when defenders stop the momentum of the ball carrier and successfully hold him/her up. Maul side entry and collapse will be strictly refereed

Jackler: First arriving player must enter legally, be on their feet and on the ball, with an attempt to lift it. Likely to be rewarded more quickly

Other arriving players: Side entry will be refereed. 'L Angle entry' (see guidance) expectation with players required to 'drive not dive'

Foul play will continue to be a priority in the interests of player safety

All unions have received the guidance and New Zealand’s Super Rugby Aotearoa, which kicks off on Saturday, will be the first competition to implement the World Rugby law application guideline.

Resource co-author, breakdown specialist and former Scotland and South Africa coach Richie Gray said: “This resource has been developed by those who are involved in the game on a daily basis. It is designed to assist coaches, players and referees with alignment that the breakdown is coached in the spirit of the laws, is played in a positive and accurate manner, and refereed consistently across competitions and at all levels.

“As I coach, I believe that we have to invest the time to coach the breakdown better. In turn, this should make it easier for the referee who has to make split-second decisions.

“This project has been a real team effort across the coaching, playing and refereeing fraternity to achieve clarity on what we expect from the ball carrier, the first arriving player (or jackler), the angle of entry for other arriving players and so on in order that we build a consistent picture for referees on the field and for coaches to coach their players effectively.”

International referee Wayne Barnes said: “We are not changing the laws of the game, but we are aligned in our mission to stricter enforcement of key areas to create faster, attacking ball and a fairer contest.”

“This has been a cross-discipline effort with coaches, players, referees and medics – a very positive process.”

International Rugby Players representative and England international Josh Beaumont added: “There are so many different moving parts at the breakdown. When we were discussing the area with the players, it was very apparent that it was not a law issue, but an issue of alignment and clarity for players and coaches.
Monday, June 08, 2020
Qualification Process for 2023 Rugby World Cup Revealed

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The qualification process for the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been confirmed, with eight teams to join the 12 automatic qualifiers for the tournament in France.

After finishing in the top three in their respective pools at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, 12 of the 20 nations to take part have already qualified.

These are champions South Africa, runners-up England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina and Fiji.

Two more qualifiers will emerge from the Americas in 2022, with the same number of places going to Europe.

Oceania, an Asia-Pacific region and Africa will all have one place, with the last spot coming from the final qualification event in 2022.

That last-chance event will involve four nations in a round-robin competition - one from Europe, one from the Americas, one from Africa and from either Asia or Oceania.

Oceania's initial qualifying position will either go to Tonga or Samoa, who will play for the automatic spot in 2021.

The loser of that match will have the opportunity to win the Asia-Pacific spot, playing the winner of the 2021 Asia Rugby Championship over two legs for a place in France.

The loser will enter the final qualification tournament.

For the 2019 World Cup, Canada defeated Germany, Hong Kong and Kenya to take the final spot in the competition.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said, "With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.

"The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men's 15s event.

"Maximizing existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organizers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic."

Full dates of qualifying matches and tournament formats will be announced by World Rugby in the future.
Friday, June 05, 2020
Wainwright From North York to Rugby’s Pro Circuit

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Toronto Arrows forward Marcello Wainwright worked his way from North York to Rugby’s Pro Circuit, writes Paul Attfield of the Globe and Mail in Toronto.

Had he been born just 10 years earlier, there’s a good chance Wainwright wouldn’t have become a professional rugby player.

He certainly wouldn’t have been pulling on the blue shirt of the Toronto Arrows, for whom the back-row forward could make his season debut on Sunday after missing the first three games with a sprained left ankle. But while the latter opportunity was afforded him by the founding of Major League Rugby three years ago, to even be in a position to grasp it was due in part to the emergence of the Toronto Inner-City Rugby Foundation (TIRF) in 2011.

“I wasn’t very good at sports growing up,” Wainwright says of his childhood, when his sport of choice was soccer. But all that changed when he first picked up a rugby ball at 14 after being asked to try out for the rugby team at Brebeuf College School.

“I remember just being able to run with the ball in my hands rather than having to dribble it, you can move a lot faster,” the 23-year-old says. “So just when you make a break and you run, it’s just much more of a feeling of freedom than having to slow down and dribble the ball. Your brain kind of switches off and you just go.”

Having been bitten by the rugby bug, Wainwright tried out for Ontario but didn’t make it. So he joined Toronto Saracens rugby club at 16 and with more game time under his belt, he tried out once again for Ontario and made the cut.

The only problem was that representing the Ontario Blues for a summer would cost between $2,000 to $3,000, a sum of money that neither Wainwright, nor his mother Stacey, could afford.

His career might have stalled there, but that’s when TIRF stepped in. Co-founded by Toronto executives Alan Broadbent, Bill Di Nardo and Scott Bryan, the foundation’s mission is to build community through rugby. While that initially began with the simple idea of exposing young Torontonians to the sport through rugby clinics in priority neighbourhoods, it has since grown into free summer house leagues and programming at 106 elementary schools throughout the city. In its nine years of existence, TIRF has allowed more than 26,000 kids to pick up a rugby ball and now awards annual scholarships to postsecondary rugby players.

In a stroke of good fortune, at Toronto Saracens Wainwright found himself playing alongside Di Nardo’s son, Riley, coincidentally enough a future Arrows teammate. When Bill Di Nardo found out about the financial hurdle Wainwright had to overcome to represent his province, he ensured that TIRF removed it.

But Wainwright still had to put in the work, both on the pitch and off it.

“What we're talking about is creating pathways for people with desire and capability and removing the financial constraint from them,” Di Nardo says. “Marcello is not there just because we've removed the financial constraint. He's there because he had both desire and ability.”
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