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Vancouver, BC – BC Rugby is delighted to announce the return of the BC Bears Senior Men’s XVs Program, with the team set to compete at the 2023 Coast-to-Coast Cup Competition in Halifax this June.

The Province of British Columbia has a rich rugby history and has been represented by Provincial Teams, now known as the BC Bears, for well over a century. Through the years, BC Rugby Senior Provincial Teams have toured, hosted, and played some of the world biggest and best Rugby teams including Australia, New Zealand, England, and the British & Irish Lions.

Now overseen by BC Rugby Technical Director John Tait, the BC Bears Senior Men’s XVs Program is embarking on a new era under the leadership of Head Coach Curry Hitchborn (UBC Thunderbirds) and Assistant Coaches Phil Mack (Pacific Pride), Jake Ilnicki (Williams Lake Rustlers) and Christian Esterhuizen (Meraloma RFC), with the aim of revitalizing and improving the pathway between Provincial Representative Rugby and the Canadian National Team, and enhancing the experience for all BC athletes. Coaches will work closely with the BC Bears U19 Men’s Program and U19 Head Coach Graham Turner to identify and develop future talent for Senior programs, while focusing on identifying talent from all areas of the province to strengthen the relationship between regions.The journey begins with preparation for the 2023 Coast-to-Coast Cup Competition in Halifax, taking place on June 17-20.BC Bears Coaches will continue to scout Senior Club and Regional Competitions throughout the province, and keep a close eye across all leagues in the Lower Mainland, Island and Interior regions. Engaging with Club Programs throughout BC remains both a vital and valuable step in the identification process.Athletes can also attend one of several planned Talent Identification and Development Sessions hosted across the province throughout April and May. Athletes are only required to attend one session, and all athletes must pre-register for the session they wish to attend.More information on BC Bears Selection Policies can be found here.

“The BC Bears Senior Men’s Program is about giving BC’s ambitious young Rugby players a platform to perform, and to showcase the quality of our athletes and the Rugby that is played here in this province. The aim of the program is to build the BC Bears Senior Men’s team into attractive opposition for not only Canada’s own National Programs, but also for other nations and professional teams looking for a quality challenge. The Coast-to-Coast Cup is a starting point of bigger tours and games to come; we want BC Rugby to be seen as an attractive touring destination for professional teams, as well as touring with the Bears to top Rugby destinations and showing what BC players are capable of.” BC Rugby Technical Director John Tait

“The province-wide work gone into developing Programs where players can be identified has not gone unnoticed. We are not restricting identification to specific areas but rather casting a wide net that will capture what this province has produced across all leagues. We are not building a team for one quick tour: there is a plan in place to attract, develop and maintain identified players for a more fulsome program that will enable higher level games not just here in Canada but also abroad.” BC Bears Senior Men’s Head Coach Curry Hitchborn

Identification Sessions will take place on the following dates/locations:MAINLANDApril 16 – Capilano Rugby Club – 12:00pm-2:00pmApril 23 – Capilano Rugby Club – 3:30pm-5:30pmMay 7 – Capilano Rugby Club – 12:00pm-2:00pmISLANDApril 16 – Westshore RFC – 12:00pm-2:00pmApril 23 – Westshore RFC – 12:00pm-2:00pmMay 7 – Westshore RFC – 12:00pm-2:00pmCOMBINED SESSIONSMay 14 – Capilano RFC – 1:00pm-4:00pm (TBC)May 21 – Capilano RFC – 1:00pm-4:00pm (TBC – by invite only)INTERIORMay 27 – Williams Lake Rugby Club – 4:00pm-6:00pmMay 14 and May 21 training sessions will combine Island and Mainland athletes, with the May 21 session being invite only. A Blue vs. Gold match will then take place on June 2 (location TBD) with the final BC Bears Senior Men’s team selection announcement set for June 4.The team will travel to Halifax on June 14, arriving on June 15, ahead of the 2023 Coast-to-Coast Cup Competition on June 17-20.The BC Bears Senior Men’s XVs team will wear playing kit manufactured and supplied by X-Treme Sports Gear, the official kit supplier to BC Rugby, for the 2023 season. The kit features the logo of primary program sponsor ONNI on the right chest.  

About BC Rugby  The British Columbia Rugby Union, commonly known as BC Rugby, is the governing body for Rugby in British Columbia and is a Provincial Union of Rugby Canada, the national governing body. Representing over 6,000 individuals registered through around 60 Member Clubs and Associations across the Province, BC Rugby leads and manages the sport with the aim to grow participation and develop excellence in all games of Rugby and in all facets of the sport. Web: www.bcrugby.comSocial: @bcrugbyunionAbout X-Treme Sports GearX-treme Sports Gear is a Canadian-owned company that has been serving the sporting community for 15 years with its custom designed gear for both on and off the field. It is an industry leader in technical development and innovative design and specialises in designing and manufacturing apparel for most major sports.About OnniFor over half a century, Onni has been building communities for people to live, work, and play. Onni has constructed over 15,000 new homes, owns and manages more than 11,200 rental apartments, built more than 18.4 million square feet of office, retail, and industrial space, and has an additional 28 million square feet of space in different phases of development. Employing thousands of people across North America, Onni is one of the continent’s largest and most established developers of real estate and is the primary sponsor to the BC Rugby Men’s Premier League and BC Bears Senior Men’s XVs Provincial Representative Team.–30– For more information, please contact: BC RugbyRob Bartlett, Director of Marketing and PartnershipsTel: 604-737-3065 ext.