Vancouver, BC (ISN) – Thousands of rugby players, supporters and enthusiasts will flock to Hong Kong this week to take in the 2012 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Sevens event, one of the most renowned stops on the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series.
Among the many Canadians traveling this week are 10 members of the British Columbia Elite Youth Sevens (BCEY7’s) program who will be competing in the Standard Chartered Bank International Youth Sevens tournament.
The 10 Under-18 men’s provincial players have all been a part of the BCEY7’s program, designed to create and deliver a development pathway for junior athletes who can develop skills to represent Canada with distinction at future World Cup tournaments and the Olympic Games. For those select 10 players, this will be the ultimate learning experience.
All of the players recently participated in the Las Vegas High School International Rugby Sevens in February, where British Columbia went undefeated to claim the 2012 championship. The select few, representing North and South Vancouver Island, North Vancouver, Vancouver West and the Fraser Valley will now have a taste of what it means to be an international sevens player.
“Going on a tour like this is the reason we have the BCEY7’s program, to prepare players for representative and international rugby,” said BCEY7’s head coach Shane Thompson, a former national player and head coach of Canada’s men’s sevens team. “These guys will have the full experience of going to an international tournament where they will have to adjust to a new time zone, battle jet-lag and dehydration, recover from travel and adjust to different foods and a new culture. There aren’t very many opportunities like these for our young age grade players and this will give them a true taste of what it’s like to be an international sevens player.”
Standard Chartered Bank International Youth Sevens
The BC U18 players will compete in the Youth Sevens tournament on March 22nd, before watching Canada and the world’s elite men’s sevens programs compete at the IRB Hong Kong Sevens, set to run March 23-25. The BC squad will also see the world’s top-ranked Canadian women’s sevens team in action as they look to retain their title at the IRB Challenge Cup.
The BC U18 players have a busy schedule on tour where they will train with the Hong Kong Academy on March 20th, train with the renowned international Penguins team on March 22nd and will participate in a training session with the Canadian senior men’s national team.
For the Youth tournament, the British Columbia side is currently in Pool A of the U18 Men’s division, competing against Hong Kong-based club sides Flying Kukris-1 and DeA-2 Tigers RFC as well as the Bangkok Lions-1 out Thailand. If BC were to advance to the Cup semifinals they would be up against a team from Pool B, which includes Singapore-based club DHL Ta’moko Lions, DeA-1 Tigers RFC, Bangkok Lions-2 and Flying Kukris-2.
The tournament will be played out on March 22nd at King’s Park Sports Ground in Kowloon.
British Columbia U18 Sevens Roster
The BC roster headed to Hong Kong will feature a number of standouts that have excelled in both the BC Elite Youth 7s program as well as the BC Rugby Academy.
Four players have formed the nucleus of the BCEY7’s program since its inception 18 months ago, and the quartet recently represented Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games in the Isle of Man this past September. The foursome includes Abbotsford’s Jorden Best (Abbotsford RFC), North Vancouver’s Nathan Yanagiya (Capilano RFC), Victoria’s Fergus Hall (Castaway Wanderers RFC) and Trail’s Haydn Evans (Cowichan Rugby Club).
The North Vancouver Island region will be represented by Jordan De Graaf and Gavin McLean, two products of Comox Valley’s G.P. Vanier Secondary. South Surrey’s Bayside Sharks RFC will be well represented on tour with Robert Devaney and Ian McMaster also selected. Two standouts from the BC-2 squad who recently captured the Plate in Las Vegas, Spencer Miller (Abbotsford RFC) and Averon Horwitz (Shawnigan Lake School) are also headed for Hong Kong.
BC Elite Youth Sevens – Hong Kong Roster:
Name (Region/ Club/ High School)
1. Jorden Best (Valley East/ Abbotsford RFC/ Robert Bateman)
2. Jordan De Graaf (North Island/ GP Vanier)
3. Robert Devaney (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)
4. Haydn Evans (South Island/ Cowichan Rugby Club/ Shawnigan Lake School)
5. Fergus Hall (South Island/ Castaway Wanderers RFC/ Glenlyon Norfolk)
6. Averon Horwitz (Vancouver West/ Shawnigan Lake School)
7. Gavin McLean (North Island/ GP Vanier)
8. Ian McMaster (Valley West/ Bayside RFC/ Earl Marriott)
9. Spencer Miller (Valley East/ Abbotsford RFC/ Yale Secondary)
10. Nathan Yanagiya (Vancouver North/ Capilano RFC/ Carson Graham)
Head Coach: Shane Thompson
Manager: Doug Tate
Physio: Gareth Adams
British Columbia athletes representing Canada in Hong Kong
Four members of the Canadian senior women’s national sevens team set to compete in the IRB Challenge Cup are from British Columbia. The group includes North Vancouver’s Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC) and Mandy Marchak (Capilano RFC), as well as Vancouver’s Brittany Waters (Meraloma Rugby Club) and Barbara Mervin (Velox Valkyries) out of Victoria, BC.
Suiting up for the senior men’s sevens team as Canada looks to win the Hong Kong Sevens Tier Two competition and earn core status are Vancouver’s Sean Duke (University of Victoria Vikes), Conor Trainor (University of Western Mustangs), Harry Jones (University of British Columbia Thunderbirds), Richmond’s Nathan Hirayama (University of Victoria Vikes), and Victoria’s Sean White (James Bay AA).