Canada Rugby League East v West 2020

Any faint hopes that the rugby league community had of seeing any domestic games being played in Canada in 2020 have finally been dashed because of the global pandemic.

Normally at this time of year, provincial competitions would have been underway out west in British Columbia and Alberta, however, due to the novel coronavirus, those domestic seasons have had to be mothballed.

Earlier in the summer, it had been hoped that provincial governments might have eased their COVID-19 protocols for a safe return to sporting activities but that was not to be.

“No contact rugby league permitted anywhere in Canada at present,” Canada Rugby League Association (CRLA) president Bob Jowett told Rugby League Planet.

“With concerns around a second wave, I think it’s fair to say that this season is a write-off.”

The CRLA initially decided to suspend the Canadian season back in April and then extended the suspension two more times after that, basing its decisions largely on recommendations by Canada’s health experts.

In Ontario, where the pandemic’s effects were felt harder and earlier than in the western provinces, the CRLA was forced to scrap their provincial competition first. It is usually played in the summertime.

And the story is not dissimilar in other countries within the Americas region.

The USA Rugby League (USARL) initially took the decision to suspend its club competition in April and it never got off the ground from that point onwards.

There were a couple of games played during the summer. The Northern Virginia (NOVA) Eagles squared off against USARL North Conference rivals the Delaware Black Foxes in a practice match, before traveling to Cleveland to face the newly formed team there in an exhibition game.

Out west, the California Rugby League tried in vain to get something going, but as was the case everywhere else in North America, the state’s COVID-19 protocols for a safe return to sporting activities proved to be just too big of a hurdle to overcome.

So too in the Midwest, plans to ramp up activity this summer were scuppered because of COVID-19.

There has also been no domestic rugby league played in Jamaica, while in Chile, all forms of physical activity there have been suspended, meaning Rugby Football League Chile 13 (Rfl13Chile) had to shelve their local competitions for this year.

Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others. Brian has his own YouTube channel @brianlowe5567 where he posts his interviews for Rugby League Planet. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.