Pritchard planting roots
May 25, 2007
Canada winger James Pritchard has enjoyed a nomadic rugby career - but he is now ready to lay down roots in Bedford.
Pritchard, who will start for his country in tonight's Barclays Churchill Cup clash with the New Zealand Maori, has enjoyed spells playing for Prairie Fire in Saskatchewan, Australia and France.
But he has settled with the Bedford Blues in National League One and was voted the club's player of the season.
Pritchard, who is in the process of buying a house in the town, recalled: "I was here initially for two years launching my professional career. After that, I flew to Saskatchewan, where my grandfather came from, and played for the Prairie Fire and made Canada's 2003 World Cup team.
"That was one of the greatest experience of my life and, after the World Cup, I played a bit in Sydney with Randwick before returning to Europe, playing for Plymouth, Perpignan in France, Northampton Saints and from there, back to Bedford. It's great to be back.''
Canada are based in Bedford ahead of tonight's game at Franklin's Gardens, Pritchard's old Northampton stomping ground.
Pritchard scored more than 300 points for the Blues last season - most of them with the boot - and he made sure Canada head coach Ric Suggitt was fully briefed on how well he was playing.
"I'm really glad to be back with Canada again. I pestered Ric with e-mails until I finally got the call,'' he said.
"This is a different team from the 2003 team. Everyone blends together and we enjoy each other's company. I hope to have a good World Cup.
"We'll see after that what materialises but, for the time being, I'm very happy to be in Bedford, it's a great place and a great rugby town.
"I hope to play professionally for another five or six years.''
Pritchard is one of only seven players to have retained their place in the side following Saturday's 39-20 defeat to Ireland A.
There are five changes in the pack, including recalls for Glasgow prop Kevin Tkachuk and Parma lock Luke Tait.
Canada face a Maori side packed with Super 14 experience, captained by Crusaders centre Rua Tipoki and featuring former New Zealand flanker Angus MacDonald.