HEIDELBERG, GERMANY - The U16 Dog River Howlers will be in Germany competing at the SAS Institute Heidelberg Junior Sevens championships and this year's roster has a distinct BC flavour. Half of the 12-man squad is made up of BC representatives - as is the entire team staff, headed up by BC Elite Youth Sevens head coach Shane Thompson.
The Howlers, made up of players from across Canada will scrum down against the Romanian national team, five German provincial sides along with select French regional sides from the Mid - Pyrenees, Ile de France (Paris) and Alsace - Lorraine. The competition runs June 23-24.
This is the 25th anniversary of the German/Canadian rugby exchange which has seen the Regina Rogues, Vancouver Kats, University of Victoria, Saskatchewan U-16 and 18, Edmonton Clansmen, Canada U-17 and U-23 (Pacific Pride) tour Germany. Traveling tours to Canada over the years include SCN Heidelberg, DRC Hannover and the German national team.
While the tour is run independently through the Dog River Howlers and not by the BC Elite Youth Sevens program, head coach Shane Thompson is relishing the opportunity to test some of Canada's rising talent against international competition.
"The BCEY7s supported this initiative from the start as it fits with what we are doing - trying to give young athletes an opportunity to play and practice sevens at the highest level possible," said Thompson. "For me personally, the tour will give me another opportunity to gage where we stand at the U16 level internationally in sevens. Hopefully I will come back learning how we are doing, where we stand and where need to get to in order to make the BCEY7s program one of the best in Canada, North America and in the World."
"One of my first sevens experiences was on a similar tour in 1998 where I met Karl Fix (Howlers President) for the first time on a tour of Barbados and Trinidad," Thompson added. "I have met tons of friends through the organization and will continue to support what they do."
Thompson and the U16 Howlers touch down in Frankfurt on Wednesday and will hit the ground running training sessions, cultural outings and a team parade packed into the itinerary.
Howlers U16 Roster:
1. Brandon Baker - Thom Collegiate/Campion Grads RFC - Regina, Saskatchewan
2. George Barton - Shawnigan Lake School/Cowichan RFC - Duncan, BC
3. Christian Grillo - Mayfield Secondary School/Mississauga Blues RFC- Caledon, Ontario
4. Payton Hall - Campbell Collegiate/Condors RFC - Regina, Saskatchewan
5. Cole Keffer - Sutherland Secondary/Capilano RFC - North Vancouver, BC
6. Jake Knapton - - Sutherland Secondary/Capilano RFC - North Vancouver, BC
7. John Mitchell - Shawnigan Lake School - West Vancouver, BC
8. Callahan Mc Master - Shawnigan Lake School - Hong Kong
9. Jackson Mc Donough - Western Canada High School/Canucks RFC - Calgary Alberta
10. Theo Sauder - St. Georges School/Vancouver Rowing Club - Vancouver BC
11. Ben Scher - St. Georges School/Vancouver Rowing Club - Vancouver, BC
12. Kieran Smerdon - Christ the King CSS/Mississauga Blues RFC - Georgetown, Ontario
Head Coach - Shane Thompson
Assistant Coach - Bruce Barton
Team Manager - Joe Heilman