Potter plays for Canada

Rugby captain suits up against Americans

James Potter, center left, makes a tackle last season for the Gaels.
James Potter, center left, makes a tackle last season for the Gaels.
Journal File Photo

Rugby Gael James Potter was selected to play for the Canadian U-21 team in two international friendlies against the U.S. last month.

Potter, incoming captain of the Gaels’ squad, has played for various Canadian teams before, including the U-19, U-21 and developmental sides. His previous international experience includes a trip to Ireland last November and last year’s friendly series against the U.S., both with the U-21 team. After the friendly series, he competed with the Canadian developmental team.

Potter said he enjoys being selected to play for Canada at various levels.

“It’s always very competitive, which is nice, and it’s a good group of guys: they get along,” he said, adding that the camaraderie extends even to traditional rivals. “[There’s] a lot of Ontario players that I’ll play against during the regular season.” Potter said his time with the Queen’s squad has helped him develop into a better rugby player. “Queen’s has a good rugby program, ’cause we just have so many players out. It’s a really good place to develop skills. We’re able to do a lot of head-on-head stuff, full-contact things, which is really important for developing rugby.”

Potter said the recent success of the rugby program has helped him elevate his play, with the Gaels facing more playoff games and more games against tough opponents. “The other aspect is Queen’s has been doing well for the past three years. Coming in fourth place [in the OUA last year], we’re hoping to do a little better, but at the same time, we’re getting deep into the playoffs and playing some more games against better teams.”

Potter hopes to use his national experience to enhance the team chemistry of the Gaels this fall.

“You only get to come together for a week or two for these camps to play at a very high level. You really learn how to mesh with guys quite quickly, and to pull together as a team,” he said. “Since our season is so short in Ontario, that’s going to be really important for us too, seeing as we’re going to have a lot of new guys on the first team this year.”

There are several other Gaels representing their country this summer. Gael rowers Nick Pratt, Buzzy McCord, and Kathleen Romatowski, along with Queen’s rowing alumnus Mike Wilkinson, are competing for Canada at the world U-23 championships in Scotland. The championships began on July 27.

Golf’s Patrick Forbes will be representing Canada in the 2007 Summer Universiade, the world university athletics championship, which take place in Bangkok, Thailand, from August 8 to 18. He will be joined by former star Gael Eilish McConville, who will play for the Canadian women’s soccer team, and women’s basketball coach Dave Wilson, who will be the head coach of the Canadian women’s basketball squad.

Two volleyball Gaels will also be competing for their country this summer. Sam Pedlow, who will return to Queen’s for his third year this fall, makes up half the top-seeded Canadian team that will compete at the U-21 World Junior Beach Championships in Italy from Sept. 6 to 9. New recruit Daniel Rosenbaum will also represent Canada this summer at the U-19 World Beach Championships in Poland.

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