Vancouver, BC – December 18, 2019: The two Canadian teams competing in the World School Sevens tournament in Auckland, NZ, have returned to home soil with plenty to smile about. The BC Elite Sevens team, sponsored by Onni Group & Amorne, were the winners in the Plate Final and secured fifth overall in the girls division. Meanwhile, the Canadian Misfit Sevens team that competed in the boys division won the Shield Final, finishing 13th.
This was the first time in the history of the World School Sevens competition that a female side from Canada had been included in the event, a great honour for the BC Elite Sevens team. Inclusion in the event guaranteed both Canadian teams the opportunity to face top U18 Rugby Sevens talents from around the world, including multiple teams from Australia and New Zealand as well as rugby other National sides like Japan, Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.
The BC Elite Sevens team featured players from seven different teams across BC, including the Rugby Canada Development Academy based in Langford. Athletes were selected based on their performance across multiple competitions in 2019 and included all players currently based in BC. “These girls have been playing with and against each other for some time now in both club, regional and provincial fixtures,” commented Head Coach Darcy Patterson. “This familiarity really helped the team gel quickly and play as one attacking whole. That adaptability is so vital when you’re taking a team half way around the world and have just a few days to prepare before the tournament starts and I can’t praise the players enough. This group was one of the best to work with from both an on-field and off-field perspective.”
Day one of the tournament brought mixed results for the BC Elite Sevens and Canadian Misfit Sevens teams. While the girls got off to a roaring start, winning all three pool games and keeping a clean sheet in two of them. The boys were thrown in at the deep end, their opening games pitting them against teams from New Zealand and Australia that would ultimately finish third and fourth. While day one would finish winless for the Misfits, there were clear signs of progression and increased cohesion amongst the bright young players.
Day two saw both teams narrowly beaten in their first matches respectively, something that seemed to galvanize the determination of each side to make the most of this great opportunity. From there on out, it was wins all round for the Canadian teams, helping to end their tours on respective highs.
Results aside, this was about getting out of familiar environments, facing new opposition and broadening the experiences of these young players. While the memories will doubtless stay with them forever, it will be exciting to see what this experience does to inspire players from both teams to reach for even greater heights. With the HSBC World Sevens Series already underway for another year and the return of Rugby Sevens in the Olympic schedule in Tokyo mere months away, the pinnacles of the sport are never far from the public eye.
“Canada’s Women’s Rugby have really earned a spot as a top nation in both codes of the sport” says Patterson, “but we need to be fostering the next generation of superstars, get them playing at even higher levels and challenging the status quo for Youth 7s to build the playing pool for the future. We’re establishing a strong Rugby Sevens pathway here in BC from grassroots to elite level and you can already see some of the results of that in the performance of the team here in New Zealand. With the right support of these athletes, there’s no reason they can’t go all the way.”
Thank you to all of the family, friends and clubs who helped support the BC players in making this tour a reality. An announcement will be made later this week confirming Elite Youth Sevens Programs for 2020.