Young Islanders hold promise for Canada in rugby sevens tournament

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The kids were sixth but, with my apologies to the Who, they seem to be doing well.

There was an enticing time to peek into the future on Sunday at BC Place when Oak Bay High graduate Jack Carson scored a try and Glenlyon Norfolk School graduate Brenning Prevost scored a try. is converted to give Canada a 7-5 halftime lead over the United States. didn’t last, as Canada lost 26-7 to the Americans in the fifth-place game of the HSBC World Sevens Series rugby tournament. The new players in red are always green, but it gave a glimpse of tomorrow for the Langford-based Canadian team.

As key players of the past decade recently retired after the Tokyo Olympics, the mantle fell between young players from Carson Island, Prevost, Ciaran Breen of Victoria of Shawnigan Lake School, Matt Percillier of Mill Bay and Brentwood College and Anton Ngongo from Victoria. , from Claremont Secondary, among the nine debutants for Canada.

It was strange not to see retired veterans Connor Braid of Victoria, University of Victoria Vikes legend Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones of North Vancouver, Justin Douglas of Abbotsford and Conor Trainor of Vancouver on the field of BC Place.

Young Canadians have been thrown into the deep end. Not only have the five pillars of the past decade retired, but non-retired Canadian Olympic team players Mike Fuailefau of Victoria, Pat Kay of Duncan, Lucas Hammond, UVic Vikes alumnus, Matt Mullins and Theo Sauder missed the Vancouver tournament to recover after the Olympic Games pandemic in Japan.

That left just three of the Canadian team’s quarter-finalist at the Tokyo Olympics – Jake Thiel, Andrew Coe, Phil Berna – in the roster at BC Place and for next weekend for the World Series Edmonton Sevens. at Commonwealth Stadium.

Captain Berna said the future is in good hands.

“I think we have a good base,” Berna told The Canadian Press.

“It’s exciting to have depth. We have guys at home who weren’t selected for this tournament and I know they can’t wait. I think we are on track for 2024 [Paris Olympics], which is our next big step.

Assistant captain Thiel of Victoria also feels a solid foundation: “The new guys are so hungry and their level of talent is so high. The pride of the pacific [Langford-based national U-23 development team] did a great job getting these guys into the senior program. We’re going to have the kind of depth we’ve never had before.

But it will take time as the youth of the Canadian team was evident as they placed sixth among 12 teams as South Africa swept gold, Kenya silver and Great Britain swept bronze in BC. Square. South Africa beat Kenya 38-5 in the league game. Canada went 2-1 in pools and lost to Great Britain in the quarter-finals.

Meanwhile, the Canadian women’s team shut out Mexico 48-0 on Sunday to finish third in the four-team women’s field. Great Britain beat the United States 34-12 in the final.

Familiar veteran Canadian names were also absent from the BC Place Series Sevens women’s tournament, including two-time Olympians Ghislaine Landry, Charity Williams and Bianca Farella.

Queen’s University graduate Olivia Apps, taking on Landry’s long-worn captain’s armband, truly established herself in a leadership role and had a very inspiring weekend as the Tokyo Olympian made big plays to lead a loaded Canadian beginner group that included UVic Vikes players Ella O’Regan and Renee Gonzalez.

Next up will be the Edmonton Sevens at Commonwealth Stadium next Saturday and Sunday.

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– With a file from the Canadian Press

© Colonist of the time of copyright


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