Story and Photographs by Glenn Ivens with files from Mark Bryant/BC Rugby News
The Summer 7’s rugby season kicks off this Saturday (May 19th) with the Langford 7’s tournament at Bear Mountain Stadium. Games go from 9am to 7pm with free admission. This is the inaugural event for the tournament which will hopefully become a May long weekend feature for many years to come.
With Rugby 7’s now an official Olympic sport, making it’s debut in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, it’s has become a favorite for both players and fans. The games are 14 minutes long and go non-stop throughout the day and are fast paced and full of excitement.
Phil Mack (with ball) will be on hand as a guest coach during the inaugural Langford 7’s rugby tournament on Saturday. (photo by Glenn Ivens)
National Men’s 7’s coach Geraint John will be in attendance, scouting for new talent as well as guest coaches Phil Mack and Winston Stanley.
There will be a Men’s, Women’s division as well as a special ‘Front Row’ match and the Hong Kong winning BC Youths 7’s team will be providing some exhibitions.
Following is a list of the Men’s teams participating.
Abbotsford are a team that earned promotion to the BC Premier league last year. They typically have a youthful team, supplied by graduates of the Fraser Valley school system. Expect a fast paced, hard-working effort from this group.
The youthful side will be led by a group of Belmont High grads who will be playing for home town pride, here in Langford. They will be bolstered by local and island club players.
Coached by Winston Stanley, the only Canadian to claim a Heineken Cup championship, this team features graduates of the Glenlyon-Norfolk program also coached by Stanley. A few Kiwis added to the mix for experience and leadership will round out the team.
NORTH ISLAND LAGERS
Managed by former national 7s player Robin MacDowell this team will feature graduating talent from the North Island schools such as G.P. Vanier who won the BC high school championship in 2010. Senior players from North Island clubs such as Cowichan, Nanaimo and Port Alberni will round out the selections.
South Sea Connection has been active since 2010 and is made up of players from the South Pacific such as: Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia along with some local Canadian players. The SSC is very much a part of the Pacific Islander community here in Victoria, and many of our players compete for local clubs such as Castaway Wanderers, Velox and UVIC.
The Untouchables have a South African flavour to their team which means they’ll be hard core rugby. At the core of the team are a group of South African touch rugby specialists with additions from the Velox rugby club of Saanich.
The Western Washington Vikings are looking to become a force in the US collegiate ranks. They recently hired former UBC coach Paul Horne as program director and Adam Roberts as 7s coach. In December, the Vikings won the right to represent the PAC 12 at the Nationals hosted by Texas A&M. The team finished 13th in the US. Some players of interest include: Gavri Grossman, who played rugby at South Delta Secondary, Matt Jensen, an all-state wrestler who found rugby at Western, Matt Tiscornia, an all-state basketball guard who also found rugby at Western.
WEST COAST WARRIORS
The West Coast Warriors are coached by iconic 7s player Phil Mack. The team will feature some up and coming talent that Canadian 7s fans may become familiar with in the future. One example is Mike Mizerski the local football star who was ranked in the 2010 CFL draft.
Action will be fast and furious during the Langford 7’s inaugural tournament this Saturday at Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford. (photo by Glenn Ivens)