BC Rugby announces NextGen Sevens squads for 2018

Men's team target podium finishes while the women's team, defending champions, seek a hat-trick of wins in Las Vegas this March.

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The Women's NextGen Sevens team proudly display their trophy after winning the Aces division at the 2017 Las Vegas Invitational. (courtesy of BC Rugby)

BC Rugby is proud to announce this year’s NextGen Sevens squads, sponsored by Marcon, who are set to compete at the Las Vegas Invitational and Vancouver Rugby Festival in March.  Both a women’s and men’s squads have been selected following ID sessions, with selected training dates to take place in the coming weeks.

Head Coach Aaron Frisby commented that his goal this year was to find “new talent that may have been missed by the usual pathways instead of chasing known players to represent us”.  In this respect, the open tryouts gave a chance to a wide range of athletes, including those with a less established Sevens background.  Tryouts on both the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island were well attended, giving Frisby and his team the chance to test and analyse a good cross-section of players.

Discussing the evolution of the program from year to year, Frisby stated, “even with a very high turnover of athletes, both the men’s and women’s squads look on par with previous years. Both squads have a ton of speed and also some up and coming players, so it will be exciting to see them develop”.

In terms of names to watch, he went on to say “New players that stood out at the tryouts were Julie David from Capilano. She has returned from a stint in the UK where she played a high level of rugby and looks to be a huge asset to the team. The returning Allison MacCormack and Demi Stamatakis will be natural leaders and top performers in the squad again.  For the men, Justin Logan from Castaway Wanderers impressed with his pace as a finisher. Kimi Vunituraga is back to captain the side, David Dinbandhu has returned to rugby after some time away to refresh and Gino Paolella will be looking to develop his game a little more before he is pushed into higher honours”.

Looking forward to the two big tournaments in March, the Las Vegas Invitational (LVI) 1st-3rd and Vancouver Rugby Festival (VRF) 8th-9th, Frisby was confident of his teams’ ability to compete for the top spots.  “I think the men will be competitive in the Aces division in Las Vegas and Elite in Vancouver, with more of a team feel to this year’s squad” he said expectantly before continuing, “and the women should go undefeated in Vegas and look to avenge their Vancouver loss from last season and reclaim the title there”.

High expectations indeed.  The Men’s NextGen Sevens team have just missed out on podium places twice at the LVI in the last two years, so a finish of third or higher will be demonstrable proof of development.  The Women’s NextGen Sevens team, on the other hand, have won Aces division in the tournament twice in a row, so a hat trick is a clear benchmark of expectation.  Similarly, both teams missed out on the Open division titles at last year’s VRF, meaning gold will be firmly in their sights when the tournament kicks off in just over a month’s time.

BC Rugby Next Gen Squads

Men
Las Vegas Invitational
1 Gino Paolella – Burnaby Lake RFC
2 Kimi Vunituraga – Burnaby Lake RFC
3 Malcolm Klaver – Capilano RFC
4 Anton Ngongo – Castaway Wanderers RFC
5 Mitchell Sora – James Bay AA
6 David Dinbandhu – Unattached
7 Nathan Tough – James Bay AA
8 Peyton Eagar – Nanaimo Hornets RFC
9 Justin Logan – Castaway Wanderers RFC
10 Darren McCrory – Burnaby Lake RFC
11 Logan Smith – Bayside Sharks

Included for Vancouver Rugby Festival
12 Kieran McAuley – James Bay AA
13 Darwin Guevara – Abbotsford RFC
14 Jordan Ford – Castaway Wanderers RFC

Women
Las Vegas Invitational
1 Jessica Piotrowski – Simon Fraser University RFC
2 Demi Stamatakis – Capilano RFC
3 Allison MacCormack – Capilano RFC
4 Nicole Shaver – Castaway Wanderers RFC
5 Courtney Sims – Westshore RFC
6 Kaitlyn Cumming – Capilano RFC
7 Julie David – Capilano RFC
8 Natalie Teteris – Abbotsford RFC
9 Faith Fitzpatrick – Ridge Meadows Bruins RC
10 Grace Campbell – Kamloops RC

Included for Vancouver Rugby Festival
11 Elyssa Phillipson – Abbotsford RFC
12 Daris Tendler – Comox Valley Kickers RFC

Staff
Coach – Aaron Frisby
Coach – Emily Young
Support Staff – Melissa Ngawati
Support Staff – Natalie Hawthorne
Support Staff – Randi Hunter

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