Fraser Brings Blue Collar to Canada’s July UK Tests

By Evan Lappen

 

He has been called one of the most underrated players in the MLR, and now Doug Fraser will bring his blue-collar work ethic to the United Kingdom for Canada’s tests against England and Wales this month. Fraser is the Great White North version of a Swiss Army knife capable of playing multiple positions wherever needed. Although only 5’8” and 205 lbs, he packs a punch and is ready to rumble overseas for the July tests before the World Cup qualifiers later this year.

Hailing from Ladysmith, British Columbia, Fraser rose through the Canadian club system and made a name for himself as a five-year starter at the University of Victoria. After graduation, Fraser stayed in the area and further developed his game in the club rugby scene with teams like the BC Bears and the Castaway Wanderers.

The Canadian National team came calling soon after. After an invite to a Canadian 7s camp, Fraser got his first Canada A caps in 2016 and 2017 and then received the nod in 15s in 2018. Fraser has been on five tours with the Canadian side but only has four international caps to his name.

Fraser’s most memorable cap came in the first time he hit the field in the red and white. “We played Brazil 45 minutes from my hometown in Langford, so all my family and friends were able to come. I hit the jackpot in the first cap. I got to start [at #13], we won quite handily, scored in my debut, and played 80 minutes. Pretty memorable for me.”

Wanting to continue to work on his craft, Doug joined the MLR’s Austin Elite in 2019 and then, in 2020, signed with Old Glory DC. It all started with an email to the club, and the rest is history.

“After my Austin season, I wanted to look around and branch out a bit,” Fraser said. “I enjoyed my time there, but I figured I needed to go somewhere else to get better for personal growth. With my background in Canadian history and politics, I thought DC would be a very interesting city to live in. So, I emailed the team, and within ten minutes, I got an email back putting me in touch with Coach Douglas. We chatted for a month, and things were settled. It was pretty easy.”

Ever since, Doug has been a reliable asset to DC and a cannonball on the pitch. Fraser’s stellar play hasn’t gone unnoticed at the international level either.

“He’s been one of the unsung heroes [of the MLR],” Old Glory head coach Andrew Douglas said. “A really good pro, a really good guy. Strong defender, good on his feet… He’s one of those guys who goes about his business and doesn’t want to brag about it on social media. Every week, he’s really consistent and … every week you know what you’re going to get from him. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the MLR in terms of what he brings to the team.”

Canadian head coach Kingsley Jones shares Douglas’ high opinion of Fraser and hopes he can take a leadership role on a young team. “He an unassuming character that once he crosses the line, he plays above his weight… I’m excited to see him play because always makes things happen. I also enjoy the shock on the opposition’s face when they see this little fella actually pumps more power than the big fellas.”

“I expect him to be positive in the environment, lead by example in his behavior which he always does, and set standards in terms of his professionalism and preparation,” Jones continued. “The biggest thing I expect from him is his open-mindedness in his ability to step into any role and just grab it. Nothing is a problem for Doug. You ask him to do something, it’s not a problem. That’s what really forged his place into this group is the fact that he has the ability to play well at a number of positions and always open to it.”

Doug feels good to be back on the squad and said it’s pretty hard to say no when your country comes calling. He will look to be that veteran presence in the locker room and a positive voice on the field.

“Though I don’t have many caps, I’m one of the older guys on the team now which is funny to say,” Doug explained. “A bit of voice and some composure and try to set a standard of where we want to go the rest of the summer, especially with two really important games against the USA with World Cup qualifying coming up in September. It’s going to be really important for us to get together and set a clear benchmark of where we want to go going forward with those two tests.”

Fraser’s focus in the UK is to get his Canadian teammates comfortable in their systems and get those competitive juices flowing. “For us, it’s to make it as competitive as possible. Hopefully, leave them feeling that they weren’t expecting us to be quite as hard as we were. Canada has always had an identity around the world within rugby and we’re trying to get back to that identity. Back to being a hard-nosed team and after a game, you know you’ve just played us.”

While living his dream, Doug cherishes every moment but knows it’s still a business trip with a job to get done. “It’s always a pretty cool feeling. It’s one you never want to take for granted because you don’t know how many times you are going to wear that jersey. It will feel pretty incredible but at the end of the day, we’re there to do a job so I won’t focus too much on just the jersey. Just focused on the work we have to do.”