BC Rugby Elite Youth Sevens Boys' Program Update Plus We Look at the Gold Medal 2016 Team and Ask "Where Are They Now"
The BC Rugby Elite Youth 7s Boys' program seems back on the rise again with Adam Roberts being assigned management of the program. He's put a lot of enthusiasm and effort into the venture and we're looking forward to the results in Vegas and Vancouver in Feb/March. The BC Rugby report is appended below with Adam's thoughts.
First though we'd like to revisit the last golden age of the BC Elite 7s from 2015 and 2016 when the U18 team won Gold at Vegas under Shane Thompson. The BC team defeated Eagle Impact Rugby Academy who have now become the standard of excellence in North American youth 7s. They draw from across the USA so to beat them is a major accomplishment. The BC team also defeated the High School All Americans on the way to their 2015 Gold.
When we go through the lists of previous championship youth teams we always wonder, "where are they now", why aren't they vying for spots on the Maple Leaf 7s team? Feel free to use the comments section below to share updates. These are the players we recognize.
Elias Ergas - he was the only player to be on both the 2015 and 2016 U18 Gold medal teams. He's gone on to represent Canada U20 in XVs and he currently plays for the Maple Leafs 7s team. The potential win-win between the Canada U20 XVs program and the Maple Leafs 7s program makes one wonder why they haven't worked together more.
Brandon Schellenberger - a mainstay of CW's Premier team in XVs, also a national U20 XVs player, he deserves more opportunities in elite development in both XVs and 7s. He's a scrum half but has played almost all backline positions, the term utility back fits well.
Michael Smith - Captain of the Canada U20 XVs team, winner of multiple BC Premier championships with UBC, again would love to see him have more elite opportunities in 7s and XVs.
Brennig Prevost - Canada U20 XVs team, plays regularly with the UVic Vikes in the BC Premier.
Logan Martin-Feek - A member of the Westshore Valhallians now attending UVic and playing regularly in the BC Premier. Would have been with the Canada U20 XVs team in Romania but suffered an injury prior to camp.
Lucas Devries went off our radar after 2017 when he was with the Vikes; Mostyn Findlay is trying to break into the starting Premier XV with the Vikes and was with the Canada U20 team as a non-travelling reserve. What 7s opportunities these players get on a regular basis is unknown, potentially wasted 7s talent. Evan Norris is at UBC, was on the Canada U20 XVs team but we haven't seen him in the UBC Premier roster recently. He played for the Howler 7s in September in an exhibition match but again no regular elite 7s. John Jubenvill is a regular on the UBC premier roster and scored a try in the University championships which UBC won but no elite 7s ongoing. Matthew Houghton dropped off our radar after the 7s, a Capilano player but not playing in BC Premier, same for Bayside player Wiley Gillette and Abbotsford's Thomas Rennie.
So of the 12 championship U18 7s players from the BC 2016 team we know of only one, Elias Ergas, who is currently getting high level 7s competition. 7 of the 12 players made the Canada U20 XVs long list. Perhaps a measure of success for new Director Adam Roberts isn't only how well you do at Vegas and Vancouver but in 2022 how many of your graduates will be getting high level 7s opportunities. It's not only up to Adam to make this possible but the Canada U20 and Canada 7s development programs have to start working together as well as with the Provincial and club infrastructures to create opportunities and pathways for Elite 7s.
BC U18 7s Team 2016 - Gold @ Vegas
Lucas Devries of Nanaimo, BC (St. Michaels University School)
Elias Ergas of North Vancouver, BC (Capilano RFC / Collingwood School)
Mostyn Findlay of Regina, SK (Shawnigan Lake School)
Wiley Gillette of Surrey, BC (Bayside Sharks RC / Earl Marriot Secondary School)
John Jubenvill of Surrey, BC (Bayside Sharks RC / Earl Marriot Secondary School)
Logan Martin-Feek of Victoria, BC (Westshore RFC / Claremont Secondary School)
Matthew Houghton of North Vancouver (Capilano RFC / Rockridge Secondary School)
Evan Norris of Victoria, BC (Shawnigan Lake School)
Brennig Prevost of Victoria, BC (Castaway Wanderers / Glenlyon Norfolk School)
Thomas Rennie of Abbotsford, BC (Abbotsford RFC / Yale Secondary School)
Brandon Schellenberger of Victoria, BC (Castaway Wanderers / Oak Bay High School)
Michael Smith of Surrey, BC (Earl Marriot Secondary School) from BC Rugby
Vancouver, BC – January 14, 2019: The BC Rugby Elite Youth Sevens Boys' Program has just completed a busy and successful weekend of trials to kick off the year. Head Coach Adam Roberts provided a digest of the action that took place at St George's School, UBC's Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre and Bayside RFC's fields in South Surrey.
"What a fantastic weekend! The Boys' Elite Youth 7’s program had its final trial camp for the 2019 campaign. Hosted graciously by St. George’s School, UBC and Bayside, very much appreciate all the efforts to make the weekend run smoothly.
The camp started on a gorgeous morning Saturday on the campus of St. George’s with 92 players eager to make their mark. The players were put through various skill stations with excellent support from many different coaches from across the province. The coaching support of Gregor Dixon, Bryn Johnson, Greg Byron, Andy Evans, Didier Banse, Pose Samelifia, and Mike Stiles was greatly appreciated.
The day was filled with tons of various rugby opportunities. Particular highlights included having National 7’s coach Damien McGrath, UBC Head Coach Curry Hitchborn, TWU coach Andy Evans and UVIC Head Coach Doug Tate all come and speak with the group. Each individual spoke about the pathway and opportunities that lay before these young players and imposed on the boys the importance of hard work and commitment on and off the field. It was a great way for the players to see their future and where they could be progressing to.
Sunday was hosted by Bayside RFC and the little town of White Rock didn’t disappoint. Always a halo around White Rock, the beautiful weather made for an even better day on the pitch. The boys were put into teams and just had a massive play day of 7’s. Rowan Bridger out of Abbotsford was arguably the most impressive player on the day, the tall and lanky outside back was fantastic on restarts and showed great speed and attack out wide. Logan Weidner from Capilano also impressed, a very mobile big man that is tough to bring down one on one.
The BC Elite Youth 7’s program is very grateful for the support from the rugby community. St. George’s, UBC and Bayside RFC were all fantastic in helping make a great weekend. We cannot thank the coaching staff enough for their time and passion to make this all work."
The tough work of selection now awaits Roberts and his team as they look to craft teams ahead of tournaments in Edmonton, Las Vegas and Vancouver. Further updates on final selections and matches will follow in the coming weeks.