ESQUIMALT - Shane Thompson and the BC Elite Youth Sevens program wrapped up a successful weekend in Esquimalt on Saturday with the U18 team advancing to the semifinals of the senior men's Buccaneer Sevens event and over 40 U16 athletes competing in a youth tournament at Bullen park.
BC U18s advance to Buccaneer 7s semifinals
A BC rep team comprised of U18 and two U19 players won their pool and advanced to the Buccaneer Sevens semifinals on Saturday, eventually bowing out with a 22-7 loss to the runners-up South Seas Connection. In the cup final, the South Seas fell to reigning BC Sevens Series champions Burnaby Lake Rugby Club. The BC U18s topped their pool with a 40-5 win over The Untouchables and then downed James Bay 24-12.
"All the guys played well and this is exactly what they need to get better - to play against bigger and stronger competition," said BC Elite Youth Sevens head coach Shane Thompson. "Going into the tournament I don't' think the boys had the confidence that they could do this but once they were out there and could see they could compete, they played much better."
"Quinton Willms, Nathan Yanagiya and Jeff Nishima-Miller all had outstanding tournaments but it was Ian McMaster who scored a number of tries, showing his pace and that he has the ability to play with the big boys," Thompson added.
The team was made up mainly of U18 players as well as two U19 BC standouts:
1. Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC); 2. Jeff Nishima-Miller (Castaway Wanderers RFC); 3. Gavin McLean (GP Vanier); 4. Bobby Devaney (Bayside AA); 5. Quinton Willms (Bayside AA); 6. Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers RFC); 7. Ian McMaster (Bayside AA); 8. Liam Murphy-Burke (UBC Thunderbirds); 9. Joe Erlic (Castaway Wanderers RFC); 10. Stephen Grdic (Castaway Wanderers RFC); 11. MacBryan Bos (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Four-team BC U16 Sevens tournament a success
Four teams made up of players from North and South Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Thompson-Okanagan regions assembled at Bullen Park for an elite tournament. These players will be the next generation of BC Elite Youth Sevens products as Thompson begins his preparations for the 2013 Las Vegas Youth Invitational.
"The U16 day went very well!," Thompson added. "We divided the athletes up into four teams, playing three pool games plus 1 vs 2 for cup and 3 vs 4 for plate finals. This was a great opportunity to allow the athletes to play against a higher level of competition."
Also in attendance was BC Under-16 provincial coach Ken Erikson who helped coach one of the sevens teams.
"To me this is important as it shows interest and integration with the provincial 15s programs," Thompson added. "To have Ken come down and take the time to look at the players and get to know them will only help when it comes time to make the selections for this summer's BC U16 team."
Special thanks also go out to volunteer coaches Bruce Barton, Joe Heilman, Riley Macpherson and the BCEY7s physio Gareth Adams who had his hands full working with both the U18 and U16 programs.
BC U16s at Buccaneer 7s