A re-post from the Canaberra Times on Westshore RFC Prop Ryan Kotlewski.
How Canberra Royals can help launch Canadian World Cup dream
Playing against the All Blacks? Piece of cake. But the dreaded slope of Campese Field and the fierce Queanbeyan fans? That’s the sort of World Cup test that will prepare Ryan Kotlewski for his Test hopes this year. Canadian prop Kotlewski is back in Canberra for the second time, linking with Royals to help them win a premiership in their 70th season and at the same time trying to force his way into World Cup contention.
“I just want to get as much rugby exposure as possible,” Kotlewski said. “This sort of fell into my lap. [Royals] contacted me three or four weeks ago and said they needed a prop and asked if I knew of anyone. I knew of at least one – me.
“I was in camp with the Canadian team. They sent me a message on the Tuesday, by Thursday I’d spoken to my Canada coach and my wife, they said it was a good opportunity and I committed. Now I’m here and ready to go.”
Kotlewski, who is also a qualified engineer, played soccer and gridiron as a junior in Canada before making the switch to rugby when he followed his brother into the sport. The 117 kilogram tighthead has played Tests against Chile, Romania, Brazil and Russia and his World Cup dream is alive after Canada secured the 20th and last spot up for grabs for the tournament in Japan. Kotlewski’s links to Canberra started when he met Royals coach Wayne Southwell at his club in Calgary. The pair have stayed in contact and are hoping to team up for Royals’ third title in five seasons.
“The club rugby in Canada is good, but it’s not up to the same standard of here,” Kotlewski said.
“There are plenty of games and coaching resources … it was a no-brainer for me coming back here. I just want to enjoy the experience here and work hard to make myself better.”
The Canberra premier division season will start this weekend, but sports ground closures around the capital will limit the round to just two games.
Ryan, a solid 6′ tall – 290lbs Prop is a native of Calgary, Alberta starting his rugby career with the Calgary Saints. He has been a member of the Prairie Wolf pack since 2014, winning the National Championships in 2015 with this team. Ryan then travelled to Canberra Australia, where he went on to win the John I Dent Cup championship with the Canberra Royals. He was then selected for a Canada ‘A’ tour to Fiji. Following this, Ryan was selected to the Canadian NSMT for the Americas Rugby Championships for his international debut in Mar 2016 in CAN vs Chile, as well as matches against Glasgow Warriors RFC, Ulster and Doncaster in Aug 2016. He has been selected for Canada’s Fall 16 tour of Ireland, playing against Samoa and Romania and never looked back. He has 6 caps and with the NSMT for many of the Fall and Spring sessions earning caps against Russia, Brazil and Chile, backing up the front row when required. Ryan joined Westshore RFC as well as the NSMT centralized program in the 2016 season, remaining with the team currently. Ryan will now be travelling back to Canberra with the Royals to play through the spring/summer of 2019.