(Pictured L to R: Justin Douglas, Haydn Evans, Nathan Yanagiya)
SHAWNIGAN - The National Senior Menís Sevens program held its first camp of the new 2012-13 campaign this past weekend at Shawnigan Lake School. A mix of experienced sevens players, as well as young up and coming talent, took to the pitch and looked to impress the coaching staff for their chance at a spot on the upcoming seasonís National Senior Menís Sevens team. The list of new players included three recent graduates of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program; Haydn Evans, Justin Douglas and Nathan Yanagiya.
All three players were members of the BC Rugby Academy setup as well as the BC Elite Youth Sevens program in recent years. The trio represented BC on numerous occasions and were also selected to represent Canada's U18 sevens team at the Youth Commonwealth Games on the Isle of Man last September.
Canadian national team head coach Geraint John will be looking to add numbers to his player pool this season as the squad's depth will be tested since qualifying as a core team. The busy IRB Sevens World Series schedule kicks off on October 13th with the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia. The national team recently won the NACRA Sevens championship and qualified for the Sevens World Cup in Moscow. Rugby Canada interviewed their head coach and he had this to say about the young players coming through the systemÖ
"This camp really gave us a good look at a lot of exceptional youngsters that pushed a lot of our experienced players like Phil Mack, John Moonlight, Harry Jones and Thyssen de Goede, who is back from injury. Some of the young guys who came in and performed well were Justin Douglas, Nathan Yanagiya and Haydn Evans who have been apart of the BC youth 7s program with Shane Thompson. They have done exceptionally well, putting pressure on the experienced players to perform," John said.
"Iím not sure there were many surprises, as much as it was pleasing to see the quality and the knowledge of the players as far as the 7s game went," John added. "The knowledge is far greater now, with the large amounts of video available to study and analyze, and we no longer come into camp needing to teach the basic systems of what the sevens game is about. It was great to see the performances from so many young players, showing great quality and their ability to push the senior players. There can be no complacency out on the field, and everyone is kept on their heels. Itís key for us as a group, key for us as we develop as a program. It is now going to be very difficult for me to pick the 12 for the first IRB leg in Australia, which is great for me from a coaching perspective because it means we have an excellent group of players to choose from.
Visit the Rugby Canada website to read the full interview with coach John.