Daypuck with second lease on rugby life
June 7, 2006

Derek Daypuck's selection at fly-half against Scotland A may seem like an easy decision based on his recent form at the NA4 tournament in British Columbia, but a year ago it appeared his test rugby career may have hit the skids.

A poor outing at the Churchill Cup against England in Edmonton last June so infuriated coach Ric Suggitt, he told reporters "Derek Daypuck might as well have been on vacation today."

A stinging rebuke from the coach, and one that reportedly hit the London, ON native hard. But rather than curl up and call it a day with his career, he persevered, started the transformation from fullback to fly-half, and rid himself of some of the pecidilloes that were making coaches and selectors suck in their collective breaths with each touch of the ball.

A solid season with the Castaway Wanderers in the Canadian Direct Insurance league at fly-half, coupled with a strong tour to New Zealand on the Canada 'A' tour seems to have revitalised his career.

At the press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, CRN asked Suggitt about the new lease on rugby life Daypuck has received. While he was a little surprised by the question, Suggitt was effusive in his praise of the ten times capped player.

"I am so happy for Derek - he has improved his game in so many areas," starts off Suggitt. "I was tough on him, but he understood why, and he has come out the other side a better player."

A stint with a kicking coach in New Zealand has taken some of adventure out of his kicks from hand - though Suggitt says with a smile,"there is still some adventure every once in a while."

Wing James Pritchard - of the Northampton Saints, will be taking care of goal-kicking tonight, leaving Daypuck to concentrate on re-starts and kicking for space.

Against Canada West, and the US Hawks, Daypuck showed a new command on the field, both in defense and in tactical kicking to the wings, which could play a big role with Justin Mensah Coker on the wing for Canada on Wednesday night.

Following the NA4, Daypuck downplayed all he had achieved, using sport cliches about being surrounded by a great team, and how he was a small part of that. Now he must show that the fly-half spot belongs to him, and a solid performance against the Scots will go a long way to establishing that fact.

Notes: Mike Barbieiri is in camp following he and Parma teammate Luke Tait's huge victory over Newport at the weekend, that will see the Super 10 club in the Heinken Cup for the first time. If he makes the squad that travels to play Italy in November, he may well face brother Rob of the same Parma club, who is currently on tour to Fiji and Japan with the Azzurri. That would make them the second set of split brothers playing for two different countries. Casey and Matt Dunning play for Canada and Australia respectively.

Morgan Williams is back a week earlier than expected after Stade Francais fell to Toulouse on the weekend. He led all the 'dirt-track' backs in sprint sessions at Twin Elm and is one of the fastest on the pitch over 800 metres.

Nik Witkowski is back and looking like he is ready to be the new Mr. Clean spokesman for the cleaning agent. Bald and with bulging muscles, the Coventry centre is clearly going to do some damage against opposition backs when he gets his hands on the ball. He could be Canada' s new game breaker.

With 6'5" Mike Pyke at fullback and 6'4" Justin Mensah Coker on the wing, Ric Suggitt joked he would have to keep basketball scouts away from his team - very tall boys indeed.

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Mexican GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Golf - Houston Open
    Snooker - China Open
    Tennis - Miami Open