Andrew Smith

Head Coach of the BC Elite Youth Sevens rugby program Shane Thompson has announced his travelling roster of 37 players headed to the 2012 Las Vegas Invitational Sevens scheduled for February 9-11.

The 37 Under-18 players from across the province will soon be divided into three teams to compete in one of North America’s largest youth rugby tournaments. British Columbia-1 (BC-1) and BC-2 have been entered into the ‘International High School Elite 7s’ competition while the third and younger BC-3 squad will compete in the ‘High School Boy’s 7s’ division.

BC-1 and BC-2 will be tested against state sides from Washington, Utah and Colorado as well as representative sides from Ontario and Canadian Prairies regional selects Dog River Howlers. Also entered in the competition are two national development sides known as the All-Americans 1 and All Americans 2.

This will be the first year Thompson has taken a third squad and he has entered them into the ‘High School Boy’s 7s,’ a tournament set to feature teams from Indiana, Arizona, California, Nevada and Washington.

“We spend most of the year holding ID camps and trials to get the top athletes together for this tournament,” said Thompson after announcing his traveling roster. “The Vegas event is quickly growing into the largest youth tournament and we are able to field teams at a feasible cost. As a provincial program we need tournaments like these which serve as great measuring sticks for us to see where we are in comparison to other national and regional programs.”

As a result of rugby sevens being included into the 2016 Olympic Games, the BC Elite Youth Sevens program was designed by the British Columbia Rugby Union to identify, train and develop athletes for representative competition. In 2011, under Thompson’s guidance, BC sevens sides won the Western Canada Summer Games, medalled at the Victoria International Youth Sevens and six of his elite players went on to represent Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games. The program is quickly paying dividends and this year Thompson will be relying on some of his more experienced players at the Las Vegas event.

“There are a number of players from our program who have gained crucial experience both at the provincial and national level and it is certainly paying off,” added Thompson. “Our experienced guys are developing into strong leaders and you can see them coaching each other as they quickly gain understanding of how to play sevens. It’s the same thing with some of our guys who went to the Western Canada Summer Games as they learn quickly and benefit from the number of times we have hit the field together.”

Within Thompson’s player pool of 37 athletes are four Canadian U18 sevens players that won the Plate at the Youth Commonwealth Games this past September. The foursome had their first competitive sevens experience in Vegas last year with the BCEY7s and went on to represent BC in regional competitions. The four include Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC), Jorden Best (Abbotsford RFC), Haydn Evans (Shawnigan Lake School) and Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers RFC).

A group of 11th graders are quickly making names for themselves within the BC sevens program and could soon have national selectors knocking at their doors. Of the 10 players who won gold at the Western Canada Summer Games in August, nine have been selected for this Vegas tour. The list includes Island players Evan Cambridge (Castaway Wanderers), Guiseppe Du Toit (Shawnigan Lake School) and Spencer Soltan (Shawnigan Lake School). Six of those players are products of lower mainland clubs and include Marhsall Fuller (Capilano RFC), Harjun Gill (Richmond RFC), Spencer Loughlin (Abbotsford RFC), Spencer Miller (Abbotsford RFC), Tomasi Vataiki (Richmond RFC) and Luke Zandbergen (Surrey Beavers AA).

The 37 players will assemble in Vancouver on February 4th for a camp before traveling south to Vegas. The High School Boys 7s tournament will run February 9-10 while the High School Elite 7s will run February 10-11. The players will then remain in Vegas to watch the world’s best in action at the HSBC Las Vegas 7s featuring international caliber sides including team Canada.

For more information on the Las Vegas Invitational visit the tournament website at

BC Elite Youth Sevens Traveling Roster

Name (Region/ Club/ High School)

1. Jorden Best (Valley East/ Abbotsford/ Robert Bateman)

2. Evan Cambridge (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

3. Shane Dagg (Valley West/ Bayside RFC / South Delta Secondary)

4. Jordan De Graaf (North Island/ G.P. Vanier)*

5. Bobby Devaney (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)

6. Guiseppe Du Toit (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

7. Haydn Evans (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)

8. Marshall Fuller (Vancouver North/ Capilano RFC/ Collingwood)

9. Harjun Gill (Vancouver West/ Richmond RFC/ St. Georges)

10. Fergus Hall (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Glenlyon Norfolk)

11. Alan Hogarth (South Island/Shawnigan Lake School)*

12. Avi Horwitz (Vancouver West/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

13. Robert Jones (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Lord Tweedsmuir)

14. Alex Kanty (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC / Oak Bay)

15. Joey Kenville (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)

16. Alex Klassen (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Semiahmoo)

17. Kieran Lauridsen (North Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Cowichan High school)

18. Karsten Leitner (Vancouver West/ UBC Old Boys/ St. Georges)

19. Spencer Loughlin (Valley East/ Abbotsford RFC/ Yale Secondary)

20. Riley Macpherson (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

21. Gavin Mclean (North Island/G.P. Vanier)*

22. Ian McMaster (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)

23. Connor McRae (Vancouver North/ Capalano RFC/ Collingwood)

24. Chris Miles (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

25. Spencer Miller (Valley East/ Abbotsford RFC/ Yale Secondary)

26. Jeff Nishima-Miller (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ St. Michael’s)

27. Ollie Nott (North Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

28. JD Paul (Valley East/ Abbotsford RFC/ WJ Mouat)

29. James Pitblado (Vancouver West/ Vancouver Rowing Club/ St George’s)

30. Spencer Soltan (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

31. Tyson Stoochnoff (North Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Cowichan High School)

32. Tobin Sydneysmith (Vancouver North/ Capalano RFC/ Sentinel)

33. Morgan Tate (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

34. Tomasi Vataiki (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Hugh McRoberts)

35. Quinton Willms (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)

36. Nathan Yanagiya (Vancouver North/ Capilano RFC/ Carson Graham)

37. Luke Zandbergen (Valley West/ Surrey Beavers/ Lord Tweedsmuir)

*unattached to club

Non-traveling reserves:

1. Macbryan Boss (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

2. Tobey Digney (North Island/ Brentwood)

3. Zack Edmonds (North Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Shawnigan Lake School)

4. Nolan Lah (South Island/ Velox RFC/ Claremont)

5. Cody Milne (North Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Shawnigan Lake School)

6. Troy Murray (Vancouver West/ Richmond RFC/ Hugh McRoberts)

7. Jack Nyren (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

8. Dan O’Flynn (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Oak Bay)

9. David Pratt (South Island/ Velox RFC/ PCS)