January 16, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Head coach of the British Columbia Elite Youth Sevens program Shane Thompson has announced the team list of 40 players who will travel south for the 2013 Las Vegas Invitational Sevens in February.


The BC squads head into North America’s largest invitational youth sevens tournament as defending champions in both the High School Elite and High School Boys divisions.

After spending much of the Fall season holding regional and provincial identification sessions and development camps, the Las Vegas tournament kicks off an exciting 2013 schedule which will see the top players move onto competitions in Hong Kong and Victoria. The program is part of a pathway designed to identify and develop young athletes who will be best qualified to represent Canada with distinction at future Rugby World Cups and Olympic Games.

“This tour will expose these young athletes to a full weekend of the international rugby sevens experience,” Thompson said. “They will be prepared in a sevens environment, compete in a sevens tournament and will get to see top level international teams competing at the Las Vegas Sevens, an official stop on the International Rugby Board World Series Sevens circuit.”

These are exciting times for the BCEY7s program, now in its third year of existence, as their first graduate Justin Douglas (Abbotsford, BC) was selected to play for the Canadian senior men’s national team this past Fall. Six graduates of the program were also selected to play for the Canadian U18 men’s national team at the Youth Commonwealth Games in September, 2011.

“Being able to watch the senior international athletes compete will give our younger players exposure to the opportunities ahead and they can see first hand the work they will need to do in order to play at the next level,” Thompson added. “This tournament is quickly becoming one of the best youth sevens tournaments in North America.”

This year’s Elite Division opposition includes State-rep teams from Utah and Washington as well as Canadian rivals Ontario and regional side Dog River Howlers. Last year’s runners-up USA All-Americans will also provide stiff competition for the BC squads.

Making up this year’s coaching staff along with former national team player and coach Thompson, are a trio of former Canada sevens representatives. The list includes former professional Nik Witkowski (Victoria, BC), Barry Ebl (Kelowna, BC) and Tony LaCarte (White Rock, BC). The Team Doctor Jim Douglas – now a certified orthopaedic surgeon – is also a former national team standout in both the 15s and 7s codes.

“Our coaches bring a wealth of experience with them and it’s great to see them continue to give back to the game,” Thompson added. “They can provide first hand knowledge to these young players and continue to be valuable assets to the program we have been running.”

This year’s invitational competition will run February 8th-10th. For more information on the tournament visit www.usasevens.com

BC U18 Selections

  • Ben Bethune (Capilano RFC)
  • Evan Cambridge (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
  • Joey Campbell (Abbbotsford RFC)
  • Shane Dagg (Bayside AA)
  • Toby Digney (Brentwood College)
  • Giuseppe Du Toit (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Marhsall Fuller (Capilano RFC)
  • Harjun Gill (Richmond RFC)
  • Cameron Hall (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Karsten Leitner (UBCOB Ravens)
  • Spencer Loughlin (Abbotsford RFC)
  • Connor McRae (Capilano RFC)
  • Chris Miles (Velox RFC)
  • Spencer Miller (Abbotsford RFC)
  • Mike Needham (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Ollie Nott (Shawnigan Lake School)*
  • James Oswald (Capilano RFC)
  • Oliver Smith (Capilano RFC)
  • Spencer Soltan (Capilano RFC)
  • Peter Stockton (Kats RFC)
  • Tobin Sydneysmith (Capilano RFC)
  • Jenner Teufel (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Tomasi Vataiki (Bayside AA)
  • Luke Zandbergen (Surrey Beavers AA) 

BC U17 Selections

  • Nicky Allen (Capilano RFC)
  • George Barton (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Nick Collett (Bayside AA)
  • Nico Docolas (Bayside AA)
  • Michael Henderson (Cowichan Rugby Club)
  • Jason Hignell (Abbotsford RFC)
  • Carter Illing (Vancouver Rowing Club)
  • Cole Keffer (Capilano RFC)
  • Jake Knapton (Capilano RFC)
  • Marc Levin (Vancouver Rowing Club)
  • Jonathan Manderson (Capilano RFC)
  • Mitchell Mehlenbacher (Capilano RFC)
  • Cali Martinez (Bayside AA)
  • John Mitchell (Shawnigan Lake School)*
  • Jack Nyren (Castaway Wanderers RFC)
  • Theo Sauder (Vancouver Rowing Club)
  • *Denotes currently unattached to club

Team Staff

  • Head Coach – Shane Thompson (Victoria)
  • Coach – Nik Witkowski (Victoria)
  • Coach – Barry Ebl (Kelowna)
  • Coach – Tony LaCarte (White Rock)
  • Manager – Joe Heilman (North Vancouver)
  • Team Doctor – Jim Douglas (Vancouver)
  • Physio/Therapist – Gareth Adams (Vancouver)
  • Communications/Video – Andrew Smith (Vancouver)

Club Listings and Locations:

  • Abbotsford Rugby Football Club – Abbotsford, BC
  • Bayside Athletic Association – White Rock, BC
  • Capilano Rugby Football Club – North Vancouver, BC
  • Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club – Oak Bay/Victoria, BC
  • Cowichan Rugby Club – Duncan, BC
  • Kats Rugby Football Club – Vancouver, BC
  • Richmond Rugby Football Club – Richmond, BC
  • Surrey Beavers Athletic Association – Surrey, BC
  • UBC Old Boy Ravens Rugby Football Club – Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouver Rowing Club – Vancouver/Stanley Park, BC
  • Velox Rugby Football Club – Saanich, BC