The BC Elite Youth Sevens Girls' Team and Rugby Canada Development Academy sharing the limelight at BC Place - Image courtesy of BC Rugby

BC Rugby’s Elite Youth Sevens (EY7s) Boys and Girls teams provided plenty of entertainment as they competed in the U18 Champions Cups during the 2019 HSBC Canada Sevens tournament at BC Place.  The EY7s Girls’ team, sponsored by Onni, pushed the Rugby Canada Development Academy team all the way but lost 0 – 14, while the EY7s Boys’ team defeated Pairie WolfPack by 43 – 5.

Taking place between Pool matches on day one of the HSBC Canada Sevens tournament, the sides were welcomed to the field with much applause from the crowd.  The Girls U18 Champions Cup was a closely contested affair, both sides taking a moment to settle on the big stage.  Both sides had breaks and opportunities, but it was the Rugby Canada Development Academy (RCDA) who managed to capitalise first.  The BC Girls were not prepared to give up without a fight and defended hard, Summer Blackmore (Cranbrook, BC) putting in some crunching tackles.  The game hung in the balance for a long period, before RCDA struck again, extending their lead.  Despite some passionate counter attacks and a blistering last-minute sprint down the touchline in the dying seconds, BC were unable to get on the scoreboard.  Scorers from RCDA were Maddy Kushner and Kendra Cousineau (both Ontario).

Vancouver Parks Board Chair Stuart MacKinnon was on hand to present the U18 Champions Cup, along with Onni Group Chief of Staff Duncan Wlodarczak. Onni Group have given significant support to the BC Elite Youth Sevens Girls’ Program, aiding the development of young rugby stars in the Province as they aspire towards National teams.  BC Elite Youth Sevens Girls’ Head Coach Darcy Patterson commented, “What an experience for our girls to take the field during such an amazing event.  To be able to showcase programs like the Elite Youth Sevens in front of a sell-out crowd like this means so much to the future of women’s rugby in the Province.  These types of experiences are invaluable to the growth of the players and the game as a whole.”

The match between Prairie WolfPack and BC Elite Youth Sevens Boys was no less entertaining, drawing plenty of noise and encouragement from thousands of spectators.  BC were quick to gain the upper hand and stormed into a commanding lead, including a perfectly timed interception.  The WolfPack were not making life easy and the tackles from both teams echoed the ferocity of the international Men’s teams.  Playing an expansive, attacking style, BC were able to exploit gaps in the WolfPack defence, the scoreboard steadily ticking over in their favour.  X showed some exceptional skill with the boot, slotting conversions from various angles with ease.  Confidence high, BC continued to control the match, WolfPack battling every step of the way.  The final score was 43 – 5 in favour of BC with Ciaran Breen (2), Takoda McMullin (2), Ethan Turner, Nathan Holm and Sam LaRue all crossing the line.

“It was a fantastic atmosphere for the boys to be a part of,” said Adam Roberts, Program Head for the BC Elite Youth Sevens Boys.  “Harry Jones came and spoke to the team before the game about embracing the moment.  Based on this performance, I’m hopeful that we will soon see some of these players in Canada shirts following in the footsteps of Harry, Nathan [Hirayama] and the many other BC players on the Men’s Sevens team.”  BC Elite Youth Sevens player Jacob Bourne revelled in the atmosphere, commenting after the match “This is unreal! What a great way to play rugby.”  The trophy was presented to BC by Lisa Beare, Minister for Tourism, Arts & Culture, Responsible for Sport & Multiculturalism and Allen Vansen, CEO of Rugby Canada.

Congratulations to both U18 Champions Cup winning teams and huge thanks to the many coaches, staff, parents and volunteers on all sides who helped bring these matches together.