School-age all-star teams from British Columbia and Northern California meet tomorrow night at San Francisco Golden Gate's Sheeran Field, each looking to clinch a three-game series initiated last month in the Canadian province.
British Columbia Mainland Under 17 claimed the June 17 opener 36-34, while two days later the Northern California Youth Rugby Association's Varsity XV rebounded with a 46-39 win over BC Island U17. Friday's visitors combine the two regions, whose sturdy rivalry fuels the Pacific province's national preeminence.
In as much as NorCal can claim to be America's strongest region, particularly at the scholastic level, the TrueBlue BC-NorCal Cup looks to exemplify sensible 'cross border' competition. The first-year event matches regionally elite players, coaches, and managers, a marked contrast with the top-down, multimillion-dollar, and ultimately short-lived North American 4.
BC's identity is all the stronger for its success in Canada's age-grade competitions. Earlier this month, the provincial U19 side went undefeated at the national championship. Some 9 of the 21-man San Francisco squad helped BC to last years's U16 Canadian crown.
USARFU no longer conducts domestic representative play, at any level, leaving governing bodies like NCYRA to create their own opportunities. The region now boasts 90 teams, more than enough to warrant all-star play.
In theory, the full BC side ought to be stronger than its components. In practice, availability is a perennial issue, for both sides: North Vancouver's Capilano and the Sacramento-area Dixon contribute the lion's share of players. This go-round, NorCal is at home.
Following the Friday match, BC will travel to Dixon to compete in a school-age 7s tournament.
Northern California Varsity XV
Forwards: Ryan Adair (Oak Ridge), Nico Bedoya (Dixon), Nick Bonovich (Dixon), Anthony Calnero (Jesuit), Marshall Godfrey (Ponderosa), Val Lee-Lo (Dixon), Austen Middleton (Dixon), Gavin Moscone (Piedmont), Teki Polaulu (Luther Burbank), Pepe Semeraro (Dixon), Josh Short (Vacaville Christian), None Vailea (Luther Burbank)
Backs: Nate Ansbach (Rio Americano), Alex Brewer (El Camino Fundamental), Tim Dallosta (Rio Americano), Aidan Flynn (C K McClatchy), Kyle Garlick (Dixon), Mark Qoro (St. Francis), Chris Rico (Dixon), Moni Tongauiha (Oakland)
British Columbia Under 17
Sina Alavi (Capilano), Ben Bethune (Capilano), Joel Campbell (Abbotsford), Toby Digney (Nanaimo Hornets), Will Foss (Langley), Marshall Fuller (Capilano), Alex Klassen (Bayside Athletic Association), Caleb Lee (Capilano), Spencer Loughlin (Abbotsford), Anton Metalnikov (Richmond), Connor McRae (Capilano), Christian Nonni (Capilano), James Oswald (Capilano), James Porter (Capilano), Jack Rainer (Capilano), Louis Retief (Abbotsford), Morgan Tate (Castaway Wanderers), Jenner Teufel (Cowichan), Tomasi Vataiki (Bayside Athletic Association)
Starting lineups not available at time of publication.