Image Courtesy of Darcy Patterson

This Fall has seen the introduction of a new series, aimed at pushing the development of Rugby Sevens talent for Age-Grade Girls in BC.  The Elite Sevens Series follows a similar model to the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, with a total of four stops providing an opportunity to win points.  Aggregate points will determine an eventual winning team, who will be crowned at the final event on February 16th/17th 2019. The opportunity for top players from across the province to face one another on a more frequent basis is one of the key drivers behind the creation of the Elite Sevens Series.

The four teams taking part in this inaugural Elite Sevens Series include the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA), Island Selects, Fraser Valley/Interior and Lower Mainland.  The RCDA trains daily out of Belmont Secondary school, adjacent to the Centre of Excellence in Langford, while players for the other three regional teams are identified through observation in both club and high school rugby tournaments, before receiving an invitation to join each team.  

However, the series is not just a standalone set of competitions, but rather an integral part of the overall development pathway for female rugby athletes in the Province.  The Elite Sevens Series draws on talent from the Club Sevens competitions that take place through the fall, acting as a goal for young athletes to aspire towards.  It also forms an important part of the identification and development pathway of the BC Rugby Elite Youth Sevens program, which leads to representing the Province in national and international competitions.  The hope is that this series will build the level of competition and play within BC, providing a solid pathway to Provincial and National programs.

Adam Kleeberger, Lead Development Strength and Conditioning Coach at Rugby Canada and coach of the RCDA team, gave this comment after the most recent event at Shawnigan Lake. “The intent behind the BC Elite Sevens Series is, for those who have aspirations of playing for the national team, to give them exposure to the highest level of competition available, allowing them to continue their development.  A really exciting aspect of this tournament series is that, for players who might not have been on the national team radar the chance, they now have the opportunity to make a statement through their play against current members of Canada’s development 7s program. I believe this internal competition is necessary to give our programs the absolute best chance of competing internationally.”

The first two stops of the series were held on Vancouver Island, the first at University of Victoria on September 16, the second hosted at beautiful Shawnigan Lake School on September 29.  Both are venues steeped in rugby history and each provided an excellent backdrop for a day of high-intensity sevens action.  The third and fourth stops on the tour will take place in the Lower Mainland after the Christmas break, with details being released later in the Fall.

The Sevens action doesn’t stop here though, with plenty of activity in the coming weeks.  Age-Grade Girls’ Club Sevens competitions have been running every weekend across the Island and Lower Mainland already this season.  What’s more, the action will build to a climax in two weeks time at the Kamloops Sevens Tournament held in the Interior.  Over 60 Club teams from right across the Province will descend on the town for a two-day tournament that has exploded in popularity since it’s inception 3 years ago.

As part of that tournament, the Elite Youth Sevens Programs will be running ID Sessions for aspiring male and female sevens players who hope to become part of the Provincial team in 2019.  These sessions are free to attend and open to all athletes regardless of rugby experience.  Sessions are about identifying raw talent in areas including pace, strength, stamina and agility amongst others.  They are the perfect way for any player to get themselves noticed and start targeting a place on provincial and national teams.  ID Sessions will also be held elsewhere in the Province, so make sure to check out the Elite Youth Sevens program page.