'Where is the beef?' This seems to be the question Rugby Canada are grappling with as they plan their 1999 World Cup approach. Let's face it. While winning the Pacific Rim tournament would be nice, Canada would not be overly worried if they lost the title they won in the inaugural year in 1996. What matters for Canada in the long term is the World Cup. And in the short term - a pair of internationals next month against Wales and a tour of Ireland in the autumn. Both of which represent a considerable step-up in class from the current opposition: Hong Kong, United States and Japan. New coach Pat Parfrey has the task of identifying the muscle to make Canada competitive against this level of opposition. So it came as no surprise when Parfrey revealed that at no time would Canada field their best 15 players on the park at the same time in the Pac Rim competition. 'We have deliberately set out this year with the objective of developing our squad. While it would be nice to win the Pac Rim again, it would be detrimental if we ignored the goal of bringing on new players,' Parfrey said. The Canadians have a target and a plan to achieve it. One can only admire the determination and manner in which Canada are going about their mission to join the world's elite. It is a hard task, simply because rugby union in Canada is a minority sport played by amateurs. Despite Canada having played in all of the three World Cups, the game has never caught the imagination of the public. The sporting pages of newspapers here are filled with stories of the downright ineptness of the Philadelphia Flyers' goaltending tandem; those Bulls and all that Jazz; or if Donovan Bailey was right to cry foul. Rugby? Forget it. 'The professional sports like basketball, ice hockey, baseball . . . take all the limelight. I don't see rugby becoming professional here because we just don't have a market, no TV exposure. We are strictly amateur and will always suffer from a lack of money,' said Parfrey. If you were a player here, you might as well be resigned to the fact that the chances of seeing your name in print would be very slim indeed. They play the game in total anonymity over here. But it has not stopped dedicated work from the players and people like Parfrey who are trying to lift the game to a new level in Canada. Like most of his players, Parfrey, too, is a 'part-timer'. A kidney specialist from Newfoundland, the former Irish international was unable to make the road trip to Japan and Hong Kong due to work commitments. While Parfrey is using this tournament to audition new players - like lock John Tait and winger Chal Smyth - he is fortunate to have a large nucleus of players who ply their trade overseas, mainly in the UK. 'We are in a period of transition. Most of our players are around 30. While we will not discard them we are constantly trying to introduce new combinations and evaluate them. 'We started this competition with a squad of 36 players and I don't think that any one player will end up playing all six games,' added Parfrey. Rugby Canada has an eye on the bigger picture and is working steadily towards accomplishing its goals. The differences in approach between Canada and Hong Kong are clear. While Canada are concentrating on development, the territory's prime objective is to be competitive and to win.