Mailbox: There is no shortage of rugby players in Canada

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Dear Editor,

There are 56 Canadians playing in MLR, according to Rugby Canada’s head coach. And MLR currently only has one Toronto franchise, as they expand to BC and Montreal they’ll be well over a 100 Canadian players very soon. That’s not even factoring their Sevens players; Vancouver holds a World Sevens tournament every year and their team is ranked #7 in the world.

There is no shortage of rugby players in Canada.

RFL salary cap rules give an exemption to RU players switching to RL. Their first year, they don’t fall under the salary cap, and in their second year they only count 50%.

There’s easily 500 players in Canada sitting around waiting to get signed. You can’t tell me at least 5 of those guys aren’t capable of playing RL.

Wolfpack is hurting themselves not signing a Canadian or three, both on and off the field. Brian McDermott keeps coming up with pathetic excuses saying it will take 20-25 years to develop players. B-llsh-t. That’s how much it might take in a country where there’s no rugby, but in Canada it can be done in 1-2 years.

Wolfpack got no mainstream publicity in Canada after winning the Championship. I’m not talking about online articles but TV and talk show appearances. That’s because they don’t have any Canadians for enough people to really care about Brits and Aussies with foreign accents playing an unfamiliar sport. By the time there’s 2-3 more Canadian MLR teams, all attention will be on them and TWP loses out.

Wolfpack seem to be open to signing RU players in England but not Canadian RU players, which makes no sense. It’s just pathetic excuse after another, including one where supporters say them not getting a cut of the UK TV deal is why they don’t have a player development program.

There’s hundreds of players waiting in Canada to be signed to a rugby deal.

RFL just raised the salary cap recently but TWP supporters have been complaining about it before the season even started. How about wait till the middle of the year before trying to raise it again for next year? TWP can easily sign RU players to sit the bench if they won’t put them on the pitch asap. They’ve been so obsessed with getting ‘into’ Super League while blaming their shortcoming on everyone else that now that they’re here all they’re doing is blaming their shortcoming on everyone else but failing to promote their growth in Canada itself.

If Toronto Wolfpack win the SL and Canadians don’t notice it to care, then even if they win their second trophy they won’t care. That’s the danger that they’re treading close to: apathy.

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor:


  1. Whilst I agree with James about the number of Canadian players in the new league I’m not sure that they are many ready for the change of code. The really top echelon of players are overseas and being paid quite well.
    Besides the rigors of League play th extravehicular is a challenge for lots of players.
    The lack of mainstream media is a bit over the top. Sportsnet and am590 have both featured management and players. It will be a long haul for TWP to become mainstream and get a lucrative TV contract. I’ve been to a number of games in TO and they are well supported, surprisingly with a lot of young people not familiar with the game. Patience it will come!

  2. Gotta love swiss cheese letters! So full of holes, it won’t hold together. The Wolfpack got plenty of cross Canada press after winning the MPG. TV and talk show appearances..huh? When you have to spell RUGBY for most of talking heads in the mainstream sports media how do you expect them to interview professional players? And when a dual code legend like Sonny Bill Williams needs time to get up to speed how do you expect a Canadian RU player to adapt to SuperLeague RL? This game is so physically demanding compared to MLR RU they’d get badly injured never mind look totally lost out on the field. When the Ottawa RL team get’s rolling in League 1 it MAY be possible to insert a few talented Canadian RU players into the squad for seasoning but dropping them into the Wolfpack squad in Superleague is such a foolish idea I can’t fathom anyone suggesting it. Give the two Brians a call for a full technical rebuttal but suggest you do it on April 1st when they’d be expecting this kind of call. I am proud to Run with the Pack and so are many, many others. Cheers!

    • Completely agree… Not to turn this into a union bashing piece (just gonna relay some facts), but the athletic ability and stamina of league players compared to union players is daylight…

      Ever since the two games went fully professional in the mid 90’s, league players have become overall far better athletes making the game itself out of reach in reality for union guys to cross over. Take for instance the Warrington union guy (English international), since switching last year, still stuck in reserve grade. This is also why when league guys cross over to union, they dominate from the outset.

      Also the progression of the league game in skills technically and athletically has moved the game way ahead of union. (Is why union basically copy league tactics and bring in league coaches)

      What TW and Canada rl have to do is focus on the next generation of kids making sure there are the pathways to learn and play league to hopefully become a strong breeding ground for rl talent.

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