Canadian Rugby Championship
|Current season or competition:
2013 CRC season
|No. of teams||4|
|Most recent champion(s)||Ontario Blues (3rd title)|
|Most titles||Ontario Blues (3 titles)|
The Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC) is an amateur rugby union league located in Canada, partially funded by the IRB. It is the highest level of domestic rugby in Canada.
It has four representative teams from regions across Canada, competing for the MacTier Cup. The regular season goes from August to September, and there is no post-season.
The CRC was started in 2009 by Rugby Canada. The league continues to grow every year, with more games being added to the schedule, and the format having changed in each of its first three years, making the league more competitive and a prospect of becoming professional one day.
Gord Sneddon is the current league commissioner.
In 2006, the IRB started the NA4, to help create a higher level of rugby in North America, as well as to develop players and provide a pathway to national team selection, to make North American rugby teams more competitive at the international level. It was contested by 4 teams, 2 each from Canada and the USA.
On September 7, 2009 the IRB scrapped the NA4 and unveiled the ARC competition, in which Canada, the USA and Argentina would send representative teams to fight for a championship title (Tonga was later added in the 2nd season, replaced with Uruguay from 2012 onwards)
In order to select a team that would play in the ARC, Rugby Canada unveiled the CRC, with the champion and runner-up advancing to the ARC. Following the first season, a Canada Selects team was chosen by Team Canada coach Kieran Crowley instead, exclusively from players who competed in the CRC.
The following season, the same 6 game season was used, however a post-season was added—with the top two teams squaring off in a final at the home venue of the team which amassed the most points during the regular season.
In 2011, the format changed yet again, scrapping the final, and instead going back to a strict round-robin competition, except this time with 10 games, each team playing 5. The western teams (the BC Bears and the Prairie Wolf Pack) played three home games and two away games, while this schedule was reversed for the two eastern teams, (the Ontario Blues and the The Atlantic Rock). In 2012, this was switched, having the western teams play two home games and three away games, with the eastern teams playing the opposite.
The CRC is broken up into a pre-season and a round robin season, with no post-season. During the pre-season teams play exhibition matches against other teams, usually not participating in the CRC. The pre-season is not a formal one set by the league, but instead the individual teams can play club or touring sides at their own leisure, or may choose to not play any pre-season games at all.
Starting in mid August, and ending late September, the regular season follows the same format as The Rugby Championship, having teams playing in a round robin format, with the team that accumulates the most points throughout the tournament winning the MacTier Cup. Therefore, no post-season is required. Every team plays five games, the western teams playing three at home and two away, while the eastern teams play a reversed schedule. There are no divisions or conferences.
The points system for the season is the same as most rugby competitions around the world:
- 4 points for a win
- 0 points for a loss
- 2 points for a draw
- 1 bonus point for scoring 4 tries or more
- 1 bonus point for losing by 7 points or less
The Player of the Year award is given out at the end of the season to recognize the best player that year. It is decided by votes from all coaches, as well as a Rugby Canada representative.
The league has no deals with any networks, however some teams provide live online streaming of their games. CBC Television aired the 2010 final live, but this was the only match shown on national television.
List of teams
|BC Bears||Langford, BC||Bear Mountain Stadium||Kris de Scossa|
|Prairie Wolf Pack||Calgary, AB||Calgary Rugby Park||Colin Jeffs|
|Ontario Blues||Ontario||TBA||Rob Doyle|
|The Rock||St. Johns, NL||Swilers Rugby Park||Pat Parfrey|
The MacTier Cup was created in 1988 to be awarded to the champion of the Rugby Canada Super League. Since the RCSL folded, the MacTier Cup is now being awarded to the CRC Champion.