Andrew Smith

Vancouver, BC: It’s 2,000 kilometres to Vegas, we’ve got a full tank of gas and a bus load of rugby players. Hit it.

A total of 36 rugby standouts will depart Vancouver by bus on Tuesday evening, headed to the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens. The three squads, comprised of BC Under-18 provincial players and part of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program, will look to prove themselves against North America’s top age grade programs this week.

Leading the voyage is BCEY7s head coach Shane Thompson along with his coaching staff comprised of former internationals Winston Stanley, Morgan Williams, Nik Witkowski and Barry Ebl.

Competing in the International High School Elite 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 BC-3 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. “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.

BC-3 will kick off their tournament against high school side Notre Dame hounds on Thursday at 8:20am. The squad will also face American side Stern Math and Science School as well as a national rep side from Bermuda. Playoff rounds for the division are scheduled for Friday morning.

BC-1 will face Ontario in their opener on Friday morning, and BC-2 will be up against State side Utah Cannibals. The Elite Youth Sevens playoffs are scheduled for Saturday morning.

Also in action on Friday are two squads made up of Canadian senior women’s national team players competing in the International Women’s Sevens event. Team Canada and development side Canadian Maple Leafs will be playing national sides from Brazil, France, United States, Netherlands and Japan. Team Canada, featuring a number of BC players including Barb Mervin (Velox Valkyries) and Mandy Marchak (Capilano RFC) kick off the tournament on Friday at 8:20am against Brazil.

The 2012 USA Sevens international rugby tournament will take place February 10-12 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The Canadian senior men’s national team will be looking to build on a Cup quarter-final appearance at the Wellington Sevens this past weekend. Canada play hosts USA in Pool B competition at 4:22pm on Friday.

For more information on the events in Las Vegas visit the USA Sevens Rugby website


BC Under-18 Men’s Provincial Teams at Las Vegas Invitational 7s – Thurs. Feb. 9th:

BC-3 vs Notre Dame Hounds (High School Boys 7s) 8:20am

BC-3 vs Stern Math and Science School (High School Boys 7s) 11:00am

BC-3 vs Bermuda (High School Boys 7s) 1:20pm

BC Under-18 Men’s Provincial Teams at Las Vegas Invitational 7s – Fri. Feb. 10th:

High School Boys 7s Division Playoffs – All Day

BC-1 vs Ontario (International Elite 7s) 8:00am

BC-2 vs Utah Cannibals (International Elite 7s) 9:00am

BC-1 vs Washington (International Elite 7s) 10:40am

BC-2 vs Dog River Howlers (International Elite 7s) 11:40am

BC-1 vs All Americans-2 (International Elite 7s) 1:40pm

BC-2 vs All-Americans-1 (International Elite 7s) 2:20pm

BC Under-18 Men’s Provincial Teams at Las Vegas Invitational 7s – Sat. Feb. 11th:

International High School Elite 7s Playoffs – All Day

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/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Shawnigan Lake School)

7. Haydn Evans (South Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ 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/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ 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. Chris Miles (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)*

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

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

26. Ollie Nott (North Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)

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

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

29. Spencer Soltan (South Island/ Shawnigan Lake School)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Team Staff

Head Coach – Shane Thompson

Coach – Winston Stanley

Coach – Nik Witkowski

Coach – Morgan Williams

Coach – Barry Ebl

Phyiso/Trainer – Gareth Adams

Communications/Video – Andrew Smith