Inaugural Canadian East v West Fixtures a Triumph
14/01/2020 by Aiden McNicholas
Toronto’s Lamport Stadium has once more played host to history, providing the stage for the inaugural Canadian East versus West men’s and women’s Rugby League clashes.
Hailed as a resounding success, the two fixtures took place beneath the roof of the Wolfpack’s Den and featured teams made up of Canada’s top Rugby League talent. For many, it was the first chance to represent their provinces and it showed on field through the passion and energy each player brought to the contest.
The double-header began with the Canadian East and West women’s teams facing off for bragging rights and the heat was on from the earliest moments. Captained by Kristy Sargent and Nat King, the West started strong and built a commanding 14-point lead within just 20 minutes. The East, led by MacKenzie Fane, then admirably fought back and pushed the result to the final siren, eventually falling just short. The West claimed victory 24-18, thanks in no small part to two tries from former ice hockey player Ashley Holt.
East again took on West when the men’s teams took to the field following the thrilling opening fixture. Captained by Eddie Bilborough, the East proved too good for the West, tallying eight tries to their opponent’s three to finish 44-14 winners. Scyler Dumas led the West determinedly for all 80 minutes, with his side providing many memorable moments before the referees whistle brought the historic proceedings to an end.
Vice President of the Canada Rugby League Association (CRLA), Josh Knight, lauded the day as a glowing endorsement for Rugby in North America:
“The success of the games was massive. The whole idea is to grow the game in Canada and based on the camaraderie shown by these teams, I think it makes it a massive success for growing rugby league.”
Toronto Wolfpack have worked with the CRLA consistently throughout the Club’s four-year history and are proud to continue doing so. 2019 alone saw the hosting of a Masters Rugby Tour in Toronto, the staging of the inaugural International Rugby 9’s tournament at Lamport Stadium and first of their kind coaching courses with the Coaching Manager of the Rugby League European Federation.
Wolfpack Vice President, Commercial Jon Pallett also spoke in the wake of the event:
“We would like to congratulate everyone involved in these two fantastic games of Rugby League. The commitment and desire shown on the operations and logistics side to get players and teams together has been simply astounding. We firmly hope that this fantastic event becomes an annual fixture.”
If you would like to get involved with Canadian Rugby League, you can contact the CRLA by clicking here
Photo credits – Helenka Boden