VICTORIA, BC - Three years of training, skills camps and tournaments will culminate with the Victoria International Youth Sevens this weekend as the class of 2013 looks to make their mark in their final competition as members of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program. For a core group of vets including Richmond's Harjun Gill, the Victoria tournament will be their last chance to lift a youth sevens title before moving on from age grade rugby sevens.
A number of outgoing players have all been around since the first year of the BCEY7s, a program geared towards producing and preparing athletes for future World Cups and Olympic Games.
"It will definitely be a bittersweet moment," said Gill, who is gearing up for his second showing at the Victoria event. "A number of us have been playing high school and rep rugby together for a few years and hopefully we can finish on a high with all three BC teams being competitive this weekend. There's no more next time for some of us so we have to come out with all cylinders firing and keep our mistakes to a minimum."
Gill recently captained the BCEY7s U18 team in their title defence of the Hong Kong International Youth Sevens and was a key member of the squad who finished as runner-ups to the High School All-Americans in Las Vegas. The BC U18 team is currently 8-2 in tournament play this year (see below for full results).
It was during the Vegas tournament that Gill and the BC U18 team tasted defeat against their Canadian rivals Ontario, going down 21-19 in the pool rounds. The BC squad came back from the loss, eventually eliminating Ontario in the semifinals with a 19-12 result on day two. The series currently sits at 1-1 for the 2013 season and Gill is eagerly awaiting another matchup.
Before BC's Gold side can renew their rivalry with their Eastern foes, they'll first have to focus on defeating their Pool A opponents. The squad will face the always competitive Utah Cannibals, Southern California Selects, English touring side Sherborne-2 and a younger BC side called 'BC-White.'
"We've had to take some time to come back together and work the new guys into the systems," Gill said of the BC player pool of 30 plus athletes reassembling ahead of the tournament. "But we've had a couple days to get everybody on the same page and we're all really looking forward to it. We've played together in Vegas and although we didn't get the result we wanted, we were able to see what some of our weaknesses were and have grown a lot from the experience."
This will be Utah's third straight appearance at the Victoria tournament and the side returns after winning the Shield (3rd) at the 2013 edition. The Southern-California selects have shown well this past year, as the rep side defeated BC's U17 side in the Las Vegas High School Open division this past February. Sherborne, a touring side from England, will be competing in their first Victoria tournament.
BC-Gold's tournament gets underway on Friday, July 12th with a clash against BC-White at 10:20am. The defending champs will then play Southern-Cal at 11:25am, Utah at 1:30pm and will square off against Sherborne in their final match of the day at 4:05pm.
Pool B will be made of BC Blue, Ontario, Sherborne-1, Washington Loggers and Southern-Cal 2. The final match of the day will feature Washington and BC Blue at 4:45pm.
Pool A: BC Gold, Sherborne-2, Utah, Southern Cal-1, BC-White
Pool B: Ontario, Sherborne-1, Washintgon Loggers, Southern Cal-2, BC Blue
Day 1 - Fri. July 12th (Wallace Field)
10:00am Southern Cal-1 vs Sherborne-2
10:20am BC White vs BC Gold
10:40am Southern Cal-2 vs Sherborne-1
11:00am BC Blue vs Ontario
11:25am BC Gold vs Southern Cal-1
11:45am Sherborne-2 vs Utah
12:05pm Ontario vs Southern Cal-2
12:25pm Sherborne-1 vs Washington
1:30pm BC-Gold vs Utah
1:50pm Southern Cal-1 vs BC White
2:30pm Ontario vs Washington
2:40pm Southern Cal-2 vs BC Blue
3:45pm Utah vs BC White
4:05pm BC Gold vs Sherborne-2
4:25pm Ontario vs Sherborne-1
4:45pm Washington vs BC Blue
BC U18 7s results in 2013 (8-2):
Hong Kong (4-0)
BC 14, Dea Tigers (Hong Kong) 0
BC 35, DPB 0
BC 21, LA Inner Cities 7
CUP FINAL: BC 21, Hong Kong University 0
Las Vegas (4-2)
BC-1s 19-21 Ontario
BC-1s 29-10 High School All Americans-2
BC-1s 10-5 Washington
Cup Quarterfinals: BC-1 49-5 Utah
Cup Semifinals: BC-1 19-12 Ontario
Cup Final: BC-1 5-17 High School All Americans