Kaay, Nott, Pitblado, Stewart and Vataiki earn all-star honours
By Jamie Umbach with files from Rugby Canada
VICTORIA -- After earning their fourth-consecutive University Sevens Rugby Championship this past March in Burnaby, the University of Victoria Vikes men's rugby team had five of its winning athletes named University Sevens All-Stars by Rugby Canada.
Vikes Isaac Kaay, Oliver Nott, James Pitblado, Crosby Stewart and Kapi Vataiki earned all-star honours after helping their side past the UBC Thunderbirds in the final for the fourth time in as many years. Twenty players from 10 universities across Canada were named all-stars.
The University Sevens began in 2011 as part of a plan to give more opportunities to university rugby players and to build a pathway towards National team consideration. The all-star selections from the University Sevens are in its second year and is part of our long-term approach to sevens talent identification.
"There are a number of very good players coming through the university sevens ranks," Men's National Sevens head coach Liam Middleton said. "This university representative team offers players an opportunity to enter our pathway which leads to competition for National team places."
The University All-Stars will take part in the Langford Sevens on May 29 and the event will be held at Westhills Stadium.
From 2012-15 the event was played in Langford after the original tournament was played at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium.
"This tournament is growing in quality and the athletes we are identifying are getting an opportunity to show their talents in a new environment in front of national coaches," said Ken Goodland, Rugby Canada's National Player Development & Talent ID coordinator. Complimenting the quality of the university programs Goodland adds, "We are building the depth of the sevens program and already have had one player from last years all-stars develop through the Maple Leafs and into the World Series."
UVIC won this year's final, beating UBC 28-12. UVIC has won five of the six cup finals since the tournament's inauguration. Western University won the 2012 tournament.
2016 University Sevens All-Stars:
Dylan Mundy – Brock University
Jeffrey McDonald – Queens
Ty Williams – University of Calgary
Wade Lavellee – University of Regina
Isaac Kaay – UVIC
Oliver Nott – UVIC
James Pitblado – UVIC
Crosby Stewart - UVIC
Andrew Coe – UBC
Liam Murphy-Burke – UBC
Theo Sauder – UBC
Marcus Hall – University of Regina
William Jacklin-Watt – U of Saskatechwan
Jeremy Brownridge – Brock University
Payton Hall – University of Regina
Kainoa Lloyd – Queens
Michael Appiah-Kubi – Waterloo
Cole Keffer – UBC
Kaprieli Vataiki – UVIC
Alex Colbourne – Queens