Olympic hopefuls looking to impress at U18 Victoria International Sevens
BC U18s look to stay undefeated and secure third straight youth title
Published Wednesday, July 11, 2012
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications
VICTORIA - This weekend hundreds of athletes will take to the pitch to compete in seven-a-side rugby, one of North America's fastest growing team sports. The Victoria International Sevens will run Friday and Saturday at the University of Victoria featuring senior men's, women's, U14 boys and U18 men's competitions.
With seven-a-side rugby set to debut at the 2016 Olympics, preparations are well underway to ensure Canada retains its status as an elite rugby nation on the world stage. A number of Olympic hopefuls will scrum down this weekend in the Men's U18 division featuring three teams from the British Columbia Elite Youth Sevens (BCEY7s) program as well as sides from Ontario, Utah and Washington.
For many of British Columbia's U18 players this will be their final year of eligibility in the BCEY7s program, created to prepare young athletes for provincial and national team representation with distinction at future World Cups and the Olympics. Several top players including Jorden Best (Abbotsford RFC), Haydn Evans (Cowichan Rugby Club), Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC) and Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers RFC) have excelled at the provincial level and have already represented Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games this past summer.
"This is probably the last event for some our players who have been in the system for a couple years and it's a great opportunity for them to perform with national coaches in the crowd," said BCEY7s head coach Shane Thompson. "This may be their last opportunity to prove themselves at this level and with Canada's men's team securing core status on next year's IRB Sevens circuit, I'm sure a number of these players will work their way onto national teams really soon."
The BC U18s have gone undefeated in 2012 competition already winning the Las Vegas Youth Invitational Sevens this past February and the Hong Kong International Youth Sevens in March. The Victoria event could see the BC squad lift their third straight championship and cap off a memorable year for the BCEY7s program.
Standing in their way is last year's winners Ontario, a team with a proud history of producing national team caliber athletes. Ontario pipped BC in the 2011 Victoria International Sevens but it was BC who came out on top at the Vegas tournament, edging their Canadian rivals in pool play and in the playoff rounds.
"Ontario and BC have a great rivalry and we are both really trying to emphasize the growth of sevens in our provinces," added Thompson. "A tournament like this is what both of our programs really need - to test ourselves against each other at the premier age grade level."
Joining the four Canadian teams in this year's competition are sevens-mad state representative sides Utah and Washington.
"Utah and Washington have great programs and they are certainly putting the emphasis on sevens. They have some great players coming through their programs," added Thompson.
The U18 competition kicks off on Friday morning at 9:30am at UVic's Wallace Field. On Saturday, the games will shift to UVic's Centennial stadium where teams will play out their final pool games and then compete in the Bowl, Plate and Cup finals.
U18 Victoria International Sevens Schedule
Friday, July 13 at Wallace Field, UVic 9:30am BC Gold vs Utah Cannibals 9:50am Ontario vs BC Blue 10:10am Washington vs BC White 12:00pm BC Gold vs BC Blue 12:20pm Ontario vs BC White 12:40pm Utah Cannibals vs Washington 2:30pm BC Gold vs Ontario 2:50pm BC Blue vs Washington 3:10pm Utah Cannibals vs BC White 5:00pm BC Gold vs BC White 5:20pm Ontario vs Washington 5:40pm BC Blue vs Utah Cannibals
Saturday, July 14 at Centennial Stadium, UVic 12:45pm BC Gold vs Washington 1:05pm Ontario vs Utah Cannibals 1:25pm BC Blue vs BC White 3:10pm BOWL FINAL 5th place vs 6th place 5:20pm PLATE FINAL 3rd place vs 4th place 5:40pm CUP FINAL 1st place vs 2nd place
BC Players (Gold, White & Blue) Player name (Rugby club) Jorden Best (Abbotsford RFC) Evan Cambridge (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Jonathan Courville (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Shane Dagg (Bayside Athletic Assocation) Jordan De Graaf (unattached - North Island) Noah Dobson (Cowichan Rugby Club) Guiseppe Du Toit (Cowichan Rugby Club) Haydn Evans (Cowichan Rugby Club) Harjun Gill (Richmond RFC) Reid Gordon (Bayside Athletic Association) Spencer Gordon-Miller (Abbotsford RFC) Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Alan Harrison (unattached) Michael Harvey (Capilano RFC) Karsten Leitner (UBCOB Ravens) Hunter Lloyd (Cowichan Rugby Club) Riley MacPherson (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Gavin Mclean (Comox Kickers / GP Vanier) Ian McMaster (Bayside Athletic Association) Connor McRae (Capilano RFC) Chris Miles (Velox Valhallians RFC) Cole Mosychuk (unattached) Jeff Nishima-Miller (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Olliver Nott (unattached - South Island) JD Paul (Abbotsford RFC) James Pitblado (Vancouver Rowing Club) Spencer Soltan (Cowichan Rugby Club) Crosby Stewart (unattached - South Island) Tyson Stoochnoff (Cowichan Rugby Club) Morgan Tate (Castaway Wanderers RFC) Tomasi Vataiki (Bayside Athletic Association) Quinton Willms (Bayside Athletic Association) Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC) Luke Zandbergen (Surrey Beavers AA)