Alexis Creek’s Jake Ilnicki is set to once again expand his already extensive rugby resume next season.
Currently with the Newcastle Falcons of the English Aviva Premiership, Ilnicki recently inked a new contract with Yorkshire Carnegie in Leeds of the second division Rugby Football Union (RFU) Championship.
“I’d been speaking to them kind of over the past couple months, then it was a done deal about two and a half weeks ago and we put pen to paper and agreed on a deal for both parties to be happy,” Ilnicki said.
The move comes with excitement and enthusiasm for the 26-year-old prop after playing time has been inconsistent since joining the Falcons in 2016.
“It’s a bit tough,” he said. “It’s a division below what I’m at right now but there’s more opportunity to play consistently, and that’s what I need right now. I hadn’t been getting a lot of playing time at Newcastle and I think I needed to move to another club where there’s that chance to play more.”
The change in club and league was reinforced by Ilnicki’s coach with the Canadian Men’s National team, Kingsley Jones, who vouched for the team’s status in the sport.
“He played 200-plus games at Leeds, and he spoke really highly of the club,” Ilincki said. “I visited there in 2015 at the World Cup and it’s a pretty cool town.”
Ilnicki brings international experience to Carnegie and has amassed 24 caps for Canada, as well as playing for Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, the New South Wales Country Eagles of the Australian National Rugby Championship, Manawatu in New Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup, the San Diego Breakers in the inaugural and lone season of PRO Rugby in the U.S and the Northampton Saints.
“I think that’s some experience which not many people at the club have, and not many players have play in the premiership,” he said. “I’ve just got a really strong mindset of giving a lot for the team and really wanting to play. I’m pretty enthusiastic about going there.”
Prior to preseason training with Carnegie in July, Ilnicki will suit up with Team Canada on tour throughout the month of June facing Scotland, Russia and the U.S.
“Then a big focus for us is on the month of November with the World Cup qualifying tournament,” he said. “It’s been a bit of a dark couple years for us [Canada]. But starting in June we will be building towards that.”
As for next season, Ilnicki is ready to make a difference with his new club. Its season runs over eight months from September through to April.
“It’s another team, another year,” he said. “I’m ready to get there and hit the ground running.”