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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Canadian rugger: Rugging across borders

    Sophomore center Jordan Kohn fights for the ball in Arizonas 49-0 loss to Cal Poly Pomona Sunday. Kohn learned that he made Canadas Under-21 Mens National Team Monday and will split his time between Canadas program and the Ruggers.
    Sophomore center Jordan Kohn fights for the ball in Arizona’s 49-0 loss to Cal Poly Pomona Sunday. Kohn learned that he made Canada’s Under-21 Men’s National Team Monday and will split his time between Canada’s program and the Ruggers.

    The Arizona club rugby team has had a rough last few weeks after suffering three losses to conference teams – but for one player on the squad, the past few weeks have brought much good fortune.

    Sophomore center Jordan Kohn, a native of Calgary, learned weeks ago of the possibility of bolstering his chances to take his rugby competition to the next level, but this dream did not become a reality until Monday.

    That’s when he discovered that all of his hard work on the rugby field had finally started to pay dividends, as Kohn was one of 46 rugby players to make Canada’s Under-21 Men’s National Team.

    “”I’m very excited,”” Kohn said. “”It’s not that often that a player can get this kind of recognition, so I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity and will do everything in my power to help my country.””

    While this is great news for Kohn, who said he has a passion for rugby, it could affect his commitment to the Arizona team.

    “”I’m still going to play for Arizona,”” Kohn said. “”You can’t get enough practice, and playing here really helps improve my skills. However, if I have to commit to one or the other, I’m probably going to commit to the Canada program … but I’m going to try to commit to Arizona too.””

    Canada’s U-21 men’s team has two tours planned for 2006, as well as the possibility of two international competitions with the United States in the summer.

    The U-21 national team is something that the Canadian rugby team holds in its highest regard and is essentially the same thing as an Olympic team. There are 46 players on the roster plus an extra 32 on the traveling team, which is the reserve team.

    Last year, the team played and finished 11th in Argentina for the International Rugby Board U-21 World Championship.

    The first tour the Canadian National Team will compete in will be in the Cayman Islands in April, and Kohn said he hopes that the trip will not affect the end of the Ruggers’ regular season.

    “”I’m going to try to manage the situation as best as I can,”” Kohn said. “”It probably won’t affect me at all this semester since the season is over at the end of March.

    “”However, I will have scheduling conflicts during the preseason next year because in November we go to Ireland with the U-21 team, and the Arizona team is scheduled to go on tour to New Zealand. So I won’t be able to go to there because I’ll be training with the Canada program, but it will be worth it in the long run.””

    Kohn said he hopes that by the time he is 21, his experience will land him a spot on the regular Canadian National team.

    “”Hopefully all goes right,”” he said. “”Hopefully by the time I’m 21 and graduate college, I will get a contract and play somewhere professionally, and after I play professionally, maybe get noticed nationally.””

    Kohn’s fellow teammates said they are excited about his recent achievement and hope he can use his extra practice as a benefit to the Arizona club rugby team.

    “”We’re all pretty happy for him making the team,”” senior captain Mark Gallo said. “”Some people in certain instances can get a bigger head and only really focus on the national team, but I think it can also have a reverse effect. We will look for him to step up as a leader. If he uses what he learns in Canada correctly, it will help our team out significantly.””

    Kohn said he is disappointed this year by his team’s performance and hopes that getting the extra practice in Canada this summer will help him make the team stronger next year.

    “”There is a lot of potential on this team,”” he said. “”We’re a really young team that is in the developing years. I’m disappointed with the results just because I know we’re just so much better than how we’re playing.””

    Arizona head coach Dave Sitton also said he recognizes the disappointment of his team, saying that Kohn has not been able to make a major contribution to the team yet.

    “”Rugby is one of the ultimate team games,”” Sitton said. “”Right now Jordan is not having an opportunity to make a major impact because we aren’t playing very well right now.

    “”Quite frankly we haven’t seen how good Jordan is. He’s a good size with good speed and craft. This tells me in general that he should be a good impact for the Canada team. Once we fix some things in our overall style, Jordan should be noticed more on the field.””

    Whatever contribution Kohn makes for the Ruggers remains to be seen, but the Canadian said he is eagerly awaiting the intense national competition ahead of him as well as reliving some old memories.

    “”Something I really miss about playing in Canada is singing the Canadian national anthem,”” Kohn said. “”And now that I’m on the team, I can’t wait to show my pride.””

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