By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
June 27, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Just four years ago it was announced that sevens rugby would be in the 2016 Olympic Games and since then, the University of Victoria coaching staff have been pioneers in training and developing the next generation of sevens players.
Current Vikes men’s rugby head coach Doug Tate has bred several Canadian national team members in his time including the current international trio of Phil Mack, Sean Duke andNathan Hirayama. Under Tate is Vikes Norsemen head coach Shane Thompson, who has been the work horse behind the success of the current BC Elite Youth Sevens program.
The BC Rugby Union, with Thompson as the lead coach, runs the high performance program that scours the BC high school and club scene, holding camps, evaluating talent and narrowing down potential international players. The program initially targeted the under 16 boys bracket but over the past three years has branched to include multiple age grades to keep the talent stream high.
On July 12-13, Thompson will spear head the third annual Victoria International Youth Sevens tournament at Wallace Field and Centennial Stadium. The tournament will feature boys and girls in different age divisions and includes teams from all over British Columbia, as well as England, California, Ontario, Washington.
“This is really the only elite invitational tournament in Canada for the Under 18 group and outside of the Las Vegas Invitational is the largest youth sevens event in North America,” said Thompson.
The Vikes, as well as the BC Elite Youth Sevens program, have already made incredible gains to stream line athletes for the international stage but with the completion of the Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA), the Victoria campus can be expected to become an even bigger hot bed for Canadian high performance rugby. The resources that CARSA will offer as a training facility will be gravy to an already rapidly growing high performance rugby culture on the island.
With several young athletes traveling regularly to the island for training and tournaments like the Victoria International Youth Sevens tournament, CARSA will be an enhancement to their experience, offering a lot of recruitment opportunities for the Vikes rugby programs.
About Shane Thompson:
As an assistant coach to the Vikes men’s rugby program, Thompson not only brings technical and tactical knowledge to the current squad but also continues to help in the development, recruitment and retention for the program. As a player, Thompson has made the most international appearances in rugby sevens for Canada and after he retired, spent time as the national sevens head coach. As head coach of the BC Elite Youth Sevens program, Thompson claimed the 2012 Las Vegas Youth Invitational title, the 2012 and 2013 Hong Kong International Youth Sevens title and the 2012 Victoria International Sevens title. Thompson was head coach of Canada’s Under 18 Sevens team at the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games and has and will continue to be the head coach of the UVic Norsemen.
For more information visit the BC Rugby Youth Sevens Program or the CARSA website.