The Kamloops Sevens Tournament will see over 600 young rugby players descend on the Interior city this weekend. Taking place at McArthur Island Park on October 20-21, the tournament is a celebration of Rugby Sevens for Age-Grade teams hailing from right across the Province.
In only its third year, the Kamloops Sevens Tournament has exploded in popularity. Attendance has trebled, with a total of 60 teams signed up for this year’s event. It is also one of the most diverse tournaments in the BC Rugby calendar, with teams coming from all corners of the Province including the Kootenays, Prince George, Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley and the Okanagan, as well as two teams from Alberta.
In an exciting move for 2018, the tournament will relocate to McArthur Island Park, bringing all the action together at a single set of fields. This will provide many of the younger athletes the opportunity to watch their older peers in action and cheer on neighbouring teams. Tournament organizer Darcy Patterson commented, “It’s amazing to see how popular this event has become in just three short years. Kamloops is the Tournament Capital of Canada, so it seems fitting that one of the biggest grassroots gatherings in the sport should take place here.”
The popularity of Rugby Sevens, fueled by the global spectacle that is the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver, has really exploded in the last few years. Its focus on pace, power and quick thinking makes it a great draw for athletes from non-rugby backgrounds, and the low headcount required for each team (just seven players on the field per side at any time) makes it an accessible game for many schools and clubs to get involved with.
The future looks bright for the Kamloops Sevens Tournament, with plenty more opportunity for growth and development. “Of the 60 teams attending this year, just 10 are boys’ teams,” revealed Patterson. “One the one hand its incredible to see the strength of the female game across the Province, but it’s also exciting to see the potential for more development on the male side in years to come.”
The tournament is also an opportunity for development of a different kind, with several up and coming referees from different rugby communities in attendance over the weekend. “An event like the Kamloops Sevens Tournament is ideal for us,” said Chris Assmus, Officials Development Officer at BC Rugby. “The high volume of matches gives us lots of opportunities to analyse and coach the performance of our newer referees, giving them actionable feedback and getting them plenty of valuable game time.”
Action will kick off at McArthur Island Park at 9:00am on both days of competition, with medal ceremonies taking place on field at the culmination of each divisional final on Sunday.