British Columbia goes undefeated at Hong Kong International Youth Sevens

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HONG KONG (ISN) – British Columbia’s Elite Youth Sevens Under-18 men’s team went undefeated at the Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong International Youth Sevens tournament on Thursday, capturing their second international championship of the 2012 season.

Competing in their first-ever tournament outside of North America, British Columbia’s Under-18 men’s sevens team scored 22 tries in four matches and held each of their opponents scoreless. Opposition in the eight team tournament was made up of sides from Hong Kong, Singapore and Thailand.

In round-robin play the BC provincial team blanked Hong Kong club side Dea Tigers-II 63-0, downed Hong-Kong club side Flying Kukris 40-0, and beat Thai club Bangkok-Lions 28-0. The Cup Final was a much closer affair where BC handed Dea Tigers-I a 21-0 defeat.

“BC were deserving winners and turned some heads at the tournament as the other players and coaches were impressed with the team’s speed and skill,” said Doug Tate, BC’s team manager and former Canadian national sevens team head coach.

“The BC players were well aware that the Canadian senior men’s sevens team, fresh off their own practice, were cheering them on from the sidelines,” Tate added. “The cup final was a much more physical game and BC had to defend well to stop the Dea Tigers from scoring. A strong second half put the game away, as the defensive pressure forced the Dea Tigers into a series of mistakes.”

The 10 BC athletes, who are also members of the BC Rugby Academy, have all been a part of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program coached by former Canadian sevens standout and national sevens team head coach Shane Thompson. The BCEY7’s program is an initiative 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. Back in February, BC’s Under-18 team went undefeated to capture the Las Vegas International Sevens. For the 10 players selected for the Hong Kong tour, traveling to the world renowned rugby sevens hotbed was the ultimate learning experience.

Building up to the tournament the BC players had trained with the Hong Kong Rugby Academy and the HSBC Penguins, a program recognized as the the premier touring club in the United Kingdom. The BC players had also met with the Canadian senior men’s national sevens team and watched Canada scrimmage against Australia in their preparations for the International Rugby Board World Series Hong Kong Sevens.

HK Youth 7s Tournament Results

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 63, Dea Tigers-II 0

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 40, Flying Kukris-I 0

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 28, Bangkok Lions-I 0

CUP FINAL: British Columbia 21, Dea Tigers-I 0

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 63, Dea Tigers-II 0

The BC team kicked off the tournament with a convincing 63-0 win over Hong Kong based club side Dea Tigers-II. Nathan Yanagiya (North Vancouver, BC) led BC offensively, crossing over for four tries. Jordan De Graaf (Black Creek, BC) scored two tries and single tallies were also recorded by Fergus Hall (Victoria, BC), Avi Horwitz (Vancouver, BC) and Spencer Miller (Abbotsford BC).

“This was a great start and the opposition never got out of their end,” Tate said. “Dea Tigers didn’t touch the ball until the second half.”

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 40, Flying Kukris-I 0

Ian McMaster (Surrey, BC) crossed over for two tries and single tallies were also recorded by Haydn Evans (Terrace, BC), Jorden Best (Abbotsford, BC), Hall, and Miller. BC were dominant at the restarts as Bobby Devaney (Surrey, BC) was lethal in the air, regaining possession to set BC up for scoring opportunities.

ROUND ROBIN: British Columbia 28, Bangkok Lions-I 0

The Bangkok Lions proved to be BC’s toughest opponent in round robin play, holding the squad to just four scores. De Graaf dotted down twice and tries were also recorded by Yanagiya and McMaster.

“This was a much closer battle as the Lions defended much better than opponents in the first two games,” Tate added. “BC struggled at times having to adjust to the style of the Lions. [We] were put on defence for long periods due to a number of penalties.”

CUP FINAL: British Columbia 21, Dea Tigers-I 0

BC’s trio of tries were recorded by Gavin McLean (Courtenay, BC), Hall and Yanagiya. BC’s kickers were in top form during the tournament, going 21-for-22 between the uprights in conversion attempts.

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. Avi 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)        

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