(ISN) – Four Vancouver Island athletes including, Randall Barton (Duncan), Lucas Bradley (Port Alberni), Christopher Miles (North Saanich) and Oliver Nott (Cowichan) have been named to the Rugby Canada U17 team that will travel to the United Kingdom to compete at the RFU’s Wellington Festival being held in Crowthorne Berkshire.

The final selection process has been extensive for program coaches and Rugby Canada’s high performance staff.

Jim Delaney has this to say, “Well here we are, after many months of player identification from all over the country and hundreds of hours of video analysis, we have selected what we feel is the best team.”

“After an intense week of final selections, we have a team. The players know each other very well but they will now have to face the fact the hardest work is about to begin. They need to come together even more to face the challenges ahead. We are no longer considered a Tier 2 team at this festival and there can be no excuses from the athletes for not stepping up the work rate, effort and physicality that good performances demand.”

“During our preparation week, we will spend a lot of time preparing the athletes mentally to compete against the best rugby players in Europe. We have proven in the past we are able to play well and win against these teams but it takes a special effort and one I know this group possesses. I look forward to seeing them perform and fulfilling our expectations.”

The squad heads to England on March 29th and will spend a preparation week at the premier English Rugby Academy, Hartpury College in Gloucester. The preliminary festival games for the squad include their first game against Gloucester U17s and will wrap-up at the end of the first week with a fixture at Newport Dragons Rodney Parade against Wales U16. The fixture is a warm-up for the Wales team in preparation for their U16 Four Nations game the following week.

Assistant Coach Dean Murtens, had this to say about the selection process, “The selection process for the tour has been a long intense process with lots of considerations made to get it right. The good thing is many coaches provided input into the selection, so all the athletes had a fair chance to show their talents to a variety of coaches from all parts of Canada.”

“This will be my first time at the RFU Wellington Festival, but from what I have seen from previous years, this looks like a very strong team. I am excited to see this great group of players go out and express themselves while playing for their country. This team has a great balance of pace, power and physicality so it should be a great festival.”

Assistant Coach Francois Ratier had this to say, “We started our selection process last summer at the Eastern Canada Championships and Nationals. After three camps we selected the best twenty-six players for the UK tour. This tour and the Wellington festival will be the first international experience for these young players, and with five games in fifteen days, they will have the opportunity to express themselves against the best teams in Europe. They know the level of their opponents and I am sure they are excited to meet the challenge.”

Congratulations to all the players who worked so hard at the U17 camps. The program would like to thank all the individuals and groups who have supported the program with special thanks going to Shawnigan Lake School, British Columbia Rugby Union, Rugby Canada High Performance staff and the many coaches from across the country that have volunteered their time.

The selected players and non travelling reserves are:

Nicholas Andrews – Lords Tweedsmuir SS (Surrey, BC)
Randall Barton – Shawnigan Lake (Duncan, BC)
Lucas Bradley – Alberni D SS (Port Alberni, BC)
Paul Ciulini – St Joan of Arc, Aurora Barbarians (Maple, ON)
Thomas Chan – Lakefield College (Peterborough, ON)
Andrew Coe – Bill Crothers, Markham Irish (Markham ON)
Peter John Collins – St. Michael’s College, Oakville Crusaders (Mississauga, ON)
Michael Douros – Senator O’Connor, Balmy Beach (Toronto, ON)
Giuseppe DuToit – Shawnigan Lake (Mapleridge, BC)
Marshall Fuller – Collingwood, Capilano (West Vancouver, BC)
Harjun Gill – St Georges School, Meralomas (Vancouver, BC)
Tristan Hooey – Glebe, Bytown (Ottawa, ON)
George Jeavons-Fellows – The Kings School, Worcester Warriors (Bricklehampton, UK)
Winston Jin – St Georges School, Meralomas (Vancouver, BC)
Kiera Lacey – Holy Heart of Mary, Swilers (St Johns, NL)
Jordan Marsh – Stoufville D.S.S, Markham Irish (Stouffville, ON)
Calixto Martinez – Earl Marriott, Bayside (Langley, BC)
Connor McRae – Collingwood, Capilano (West Vancouver, BC)
Christopher Miles – Shawnigan Lake, Velox (North Saanich, BC)
Spencer Miller – Yale, Abbotsford (Abbotsford, BC)
Oliver Nott – Shawnigan Lake, Cowichan (Cowichan, BC)
Rupert Peers – Elgin Park, Bayside (Surrey, BC)
Lucas Rumball – Senator O’Connor, Balmy Beach (Toronto, ON)
Mitchell Santilli – St.John’s College, Brantford Harlequins (Brantford, ON)
John Shaw – St. Peter CHS, Bytown Blues (Orleans, ON)
Brandon Waeyen – Henry Wisewood HS, Hornets (Calgary, AB)