Expanded provincial championship to feature 16 teams from across BC
VANCOUVER - The 2012 BC Rugby High School Girls Provincial Sevens championship gets underway on Friday, April 13 as 16 teams prepare to scrum down at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium.
2012 BC Rugby High School Girls Provincial 7s
Dates: Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th
Location: Thunderbird Stadium, University of British Columbia
The second annual provincial seven-a-side rugby tournament will be a full scale event, building on the five-team inaugural championship in Delta which saw Cowichan High School crowned provincial champs after a 15-7 Cup Final victory over Island rivals Shawnigan Lake School in 2011.
The 2012 edition will have teams from Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Okanagan regions and will feature 45 games of heart-thumping, fast-paced rugby. The tournament gets underway with Carson Graham 'A' battling Robert Bateman 'B' at 11:00am on Friday morning and the placement games are set for Saturday, April 14th with the provincial Cup Final slated for 4:30pm.
Seven-a-side rugby is on the rise in BC as the province's next generation of athletes have seen Canada's senior women's sevens team excel on the world stage. Canada lifted four straight international titles and were semifinalists at the recent IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup in Hong Kong this past March. The abbreviated, high-tempo version of rugby is set to debut at the 2016 Olympics and the sport is generating plenty of hype at the age grade level across the country.
"The women's national team is leading by example showing what it means to be the best in the world," said BC High School Girls Rugby Association President Brad Baker. "There is a lot of high level interest in BC as the exposure is there and girls high school teams here are extremely excited. The players are really looking forward to the opportunity to play more sevens and to compete for a provincial championship."
The more traditional 15-a-side version of rugby is already established at the girls high school level in BC and features a provincial championship in May of each year. According to Baker, sevens rugby has the potential to see the game grow even more at the girls high school level and offers a platform for teams with smaller programs to be competitive.
"Sevens rugby allows for teams that may not have the numbers for 15s to be competitive, particularly schools that are only able to field about 20 players," added Baker. "There are also some great coaches with sevens experience like [Cowichan's] Brad Skene on the Island and I know out in the [Fraser] Valley they play more sevens than teams do in Vancouver. I anticipate that the winner could very easily be any of the 16 teams competing this weekend."
This weekend's tournament will be a crucial step in developing the game and Baker is looking forward to seeing more players trying their hand at sevens rugby.
"This weekend's tournament is vital to our development of the game due to the fact that it's now an Olympic sport," Baker added. "With Canada being one of the top nations in the World, the girls playing from grades 8 through 12 need to learn the game of sevens on top of 15s. It's important that for future national teams that our younger generations experience the learning curve and have the heart and desire to play sevens."
Pools - 2012 BC Rugby High School Girls Provincial 7s
Carson Graham 'A' (North Vancouver)
Elgin Park (Surrey)
Mt. Boucherie (Kelowna)
Robert Bateman 'B' (Abbotsford)
GP Vanier (Comox)
Robert Bateman 'A' (Abbotsford)
Walnut Grove (Langley)
Cowichan 'B' (Duncan)
Cowichan 'A' (Duncan)
Lord Tweedsmuir (Surrey)
Carson Graham 'B' (North Vancouver)
Semiahmoo (White Rock)
Lord Byng (Vancouver)
Kwantlen Park (Surrey)