Locals new and former in running for Rugby World Cup

This week Rugby Canada released its team that will play in June’s Churchill Cup, held in England. By doing so, RC tipped its hat towards the core of players likely to be included in the final 30 Canada takes to New Zealand for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in September.

Coach Kieran Crowley was guarded in the press release, however, saying there is still room for players to play themselves off the team and room for others to play their way on it.

Because RC’s national program is based in Victoria, plenty of the Churchill Cup team players have ties here. Just two of the squad, however, actually did their schooling in Victoria.
And both are scrum halves.

St. Michaels University graduate Edward Fairhurst returns from Canada’s old guard, having competed in the 2003 and 2007 RWCs, and will split the duties with newcomer Sean White of Oak Bay High.

Following a stint playing professionally in Europe Fairhurst recently took up his career as an investment advisor with RBC in Vancouver while playing for the UBC Old Boy Ravens.

Despite early work commitments taking him from the game, the 31 year old is back and with his employer’s okay.

“I made myself available for tournaments this summer and the World Cup, if selected. I’m lucky in that my managers are very supportive of me and both of my careers,” he said.

It will be the first RWC for the soon to be 23 year old White.

Other selections for the Churchill Cup include controversial second rower Jamie Cudmore, who is often in the European headlines for his rugged play in the French Top 14 rugby union league.

Going to England Churchill from are UVic Pat Riordan, Ryan Hamilton, Nathan Hirayama and former Vike centre Phil Mackenzie. From Oak Bay’s Castaway-Wanderers centre Ryan Smith, winger Ciaran Hearn, fly half Ander Monro, and forwards Scott Franklin, Hubert Buydens, Jebb Sinclair, Nanyak Dala and Chauncey O’Toole.

Canada will play Italy A in Northampton on June 4 and Russia in Moseley on June 8.

Following pool play the first place, third place and fifth place games will take place as a triple-header in Leeds on June 18.