Cowra Eagles, Rugby Canada form link ahead of 2018 Central West season

Col Jeffs’ affiliation with Rugby Canada is reaping benefits for the Cowra Eagles.

A 19-year-old outside back and a 21-year-old second-rower, both future prospects of rugby in Canada, will link with the Eagles for this year’s Central West tier one competition.

The opportunity comes as a result of Jeffs’ work during the past seven years with Rugby Canada and coaching Canada Rugby Championship club Prairies Wolf Pack.

The new Eagles duo, Isaac Gonevou and Aidan McCleary, are currently playing with Westshore in the British Columbia Premiership, but will arrive at the Eagles’ Nest later this month.

Jeffs said that the Central West tier one competition will provide an opportunity for young Canadian rugby players, on the fringe of the Canadian Rugby Championship, with week-in-week-out strong rugby.

“The standard of the competition the last few years hasn’t been strong enough,” Jeffs said.

“The players that are coming out from Canada need to be playing a strong competition. With the restructure of the Central West and the tier one football being fairly full-on, it actually suits the standard of these guys.”

Prairie Wolf Pack Rugby manager Jim Kazakoff has worked closely with Jeffs in recent years, and was in Cowra this week.

He’s a massive fan of seeing young Canadian rugby players head Down Under.

“With Col being involved with the Wolf Pack for the past seven years it’s about time we form more of a relationship,” Kazakoff said.

“It’ll be a good experience for them to come down here and have some different exposure and hear a different voice.

“Different coaching, different systems and different rugby cultures, for any player, it just makes you a better player all round.”

Jeffs explained that he reckons the Central West offers young players, who have a desire to fulfill their potential, with a better environment than the city.

“If they’re going to be playing third or fourth grade [in the city], to us, it’s more beneficial for them to be playing out here in a top tier competition,” he said.

Two players could become more in 2019 as an affiliation between Rugby Canada, Cowra and Central West Rugby blossoms.   

“For Cowra, to have that nucleus of some young guys each year, it would be awesome because we’re always chasing numbers,” Jeffs said.