2019 Kamloops Sevens Tournament showcased some of the best young rugby talents from across the BC and Alberta. Taking place at McArthur Island Park, 190 games were contested by over 800 male and female players across seven divisions from U14 to U19.
In just four short years, the tournament has become one of the biggest rugby tournaments for club and high school teams in the whole of Canada, drawing teams from all corners of BC and neighbouring Alberta. The diversity of participating sides has become one of the core components of the tournament, with 24 distinct clubs/high schools from all corners of BC representing their communities. The addition of 12 teams from Alberta highlighted the growing appeal of this competition beyond BC borders.
McArthur Island Park, dubbed by some spectators as “Rugby Park” for the weekend, once again provided the platform for the weekend’s action. Spread out across seven fields, the competition provided a fine display of age-grade Rugby Sevens for rugby aficionados and new fans alike. With the lush green grass freshly trimmed each morning and fall leafs providing plenty of colour, the scene was set for two days of excitement and high tension.
There was some fantastic rugby on display for those the gathered crowds, the Rugby Sevens format providing an ideal mix of skill, speed and strength. With matches lasting just 14 minutes each, the action was fast and furious, possession changing hands at the drop of a hat and players frequently making heart-pounding sprints over the length of the field. Rugby Sevens is known for delivering high scoring matches and that was certainly the case at the Kamloops Sevens, with over 1100 tries scored and an average of 6 tries per match over the whole of the tournament.
The level of competition at this year’s tournament continued to impress, with a total of 15 different clubs claiming a spot on the podium when the dust had settled. Albertan teams claimed a total of seven podium spots across the divisions, several teams already looking forward to signing up for 2020. Meanwhile, there was plenty for the local supporters to cheer about as Kamloops secured gold in the U19 Girls’ Elite division and Thompson Okanagan Rugby Alliance (TORA) took silver in the U17 Boys’ and gold in the U19 Boys’ divisions.
Tournament Director Darcy Patterson was full of praise for everyone who was involved at the event. “It is quite incredible to see just how much this tournament has grown in four short years. It is a testament to the growth in age-grade rugby, particularly female players, as well as the hard work from the volunteers and local community. We know there is still room for growth and we’re excited to see just how popular the event will be in another 4 years. Kamloops is an ideal setting, not just because of the wonderful facilities at our disposal but because it is accessible for clubs all over the province. It is this mix of sides from all over BC that gives the Kamloops Sevens Tournament such a wonderful atmosphere.”
The Kamloops Sevens Tournament also serves an important secondary purpose, acting as a development platform for newly qualified referees to put their skills into practice. Under the close mentorship of Chris Assmus, Officials Development Officer, a handful of newly qualified referees were part of the wider team that managed the 190 games, gaining valuable experience and feedback in the process. “Tournaments like this are so important for referee development,” said Assmus at the weekend, “because they provide a perfect system of action, observation and reflection. We had a team of around 15 referees there this weekend which was brilliant. They could provide feedback to one another through a buddy system as well as getting plenty of meaningful game time, particularly significant for our newer referees or those who cover more remote areas of the Province.”
BC Rugby would like to thank all of the players, coaches, parents and match officials for their enthusiasm and contribution over the weekend. Particular thanks also goes out to Kamloops Rugby Club, as well as all the volunteers, local donors and business and to the City of Kamloops for their continued support. The 2019 Kamloops Sevens Tournament was a great success, made possible by contributions from many more people than we can name. We hope that you enjoyed the event and are already looking forward to next year….we certainly are!