VANCOUVER - Head Coach of the U17 TrueBlue Selects Curry Hitchborn has announced his roster for the upcoming B2Gold Provincial Regional Championships on July 5-7 at UBC's Wolfson Fields. The U17 TrueBlue Selects will be competing in the U18 men's division against regional sides from across the province.
This is the first step in a revamped pathway for BC's U17 age grade, introduced for the 2013 season. Hitchborn and assistant coach Andy Blackburn will have the opportunity to see these players competing along side one another and will also have the option of selecting U17 players (born in 1996) who will be competing for their U18 regional sides. After the PRCs, the final team will be announced ahead of the National Festival in August.
This past weekend saw over 60 athletes assemble at UBC's Wolfson Fields for a trial and Hitchborn was pleased with the level of talent on display.
"The hardest part about any team is making selections and with 65 guys there, competition was stiff," said Hitchborn. "We had six selectors on staff to help with the process as well as the regional head. Going into the PRC's with this group of 25 may seem like a benefit towards nationals, but since selection is an ongoing process throughout the tournament, we're going to see some guys pop up and hopefully others not fade."
BC will be hosting the Rugby Canada National Festival Championships this August and for the first time will be entering both a U18 and U17 team into the competition.
"This [U17] team is new and an excellent opportunity for players to advance and get a look from National level selectors," added Hitchborn. "As part of the BC Rugby player pathway, it's also an excellent opportunity for some guys to get a look that normally may be missed. The continued support of the various regions has been instrumental in making this a reality for these guys."
The U18 B2Gold PRCs are underway July 5th and the U17 TrueBlue Selects will be battling against the North Island Tsunami, South Island Tide, Vancouver Wave as well as Fraser Valley's East, West and Central rep sides. Teams from Kamloops, Kelowna and Williams' Lake are still to be confirmed.
Nick Allen (Capilano RFC)
Tyler Beselt (SLS/Tsunami)
Phil Brena ( Vancouver Rowing Club)
Trevor Caton ( GP VANIER/Tsunami)
Drew Coles (Bayside AA)
Nick Collett (Bayside AA)
Christian Haldane (Bayside AA)
Jason Hignell (Abbottsford RFC)
Nolan Howell (Richmond RFC)
Jake Knapton (Capilano RFC)
Charlie Macdonald (Capilano RFC)
Calixto Martinez (Bayside AA)
Mitch Mehlenbacher (Capilano RFC)
Jack Nyren (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
Andrew O'Connor (Bayside AA)
Reegan O'Gorman (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Anthony Oswald (Capilano RFC)
Nakai Penny (BCU16)
Gavin Rowell (Bayside AA)
Theo Sauder (Vancouver Rowing Club)
Tim Stephens (Bayside AA)
Spencer Walker (Richmond RFC)
Robert Welch (Meraloma Rugby Club)
Austin Wright (Capilano RFC)
Nick Wright (Bayside AA)
Head Coach - Curry Hitchborn
Assistant Coach - Andy Blackburn
Manager - Don Wright
Athletic Therapist - Alvin Tseng
TrueBlue® Blueberry Juice is a major proprietary brand developed by Leading Brands, Inc. [NASDAQ: LBIX]. and is now a Premier BC Rugby sponsor. In June of 2012, BC Rugby and Leading Brands, Inc. CEO Ralph McRae announced a partnership with TrueBlue® Blueberry Juice to sponsor three specific, age-level programs through BC Rugby. Each TrueBlue® titled program was positioned at a pivotal period in a rugby player’s career; from the introduction to the sport all the way up to international tours. The motto for the innovative partnership was established as TrueBlue® Tackle the World™. McRae's initiative has seen TrueBlue® further enhance the Mini Rugby program, as well as provide opportunities for age grade representation through supporting the U15 and U17 men's provincial teams.