The Comox Valley is well represented at this week’s (Aug. 5-10) 2014 Rugby Canada National Festival Championships in Calgary.
Over 140 B.C. age grade provincial team representatives kicked off their schedules Tuesday morning at Calgary Rugby Park.
BC Rugby has six teams in the U16 and U18 competitions in the men’s and women’s divisions. Heading into the 2014 championships, B.C.’s U16 teams are both defending national champions while the U18 squads will be looking to better their silver medal performances in 2013.
Foster Dewitt (G.P. Vanier/Comox Valley Kickers) is with the BC U18 men’s team; Georgia Bellamy (G.P. Vanier/Campbell River AA), Madi Gold (G.P. Vanier) and Lauren Sargent (G.P. Vanier/Comox Valley Kickers) are on the U18 women’s team; Ken Erikson (G.P. Vanier) is an assistant coach with the U17 men’s squad and Dawson German (G.P. Vanier) is with the U16 women.
The U18 men’s team is competing in a new three-match series format in the U18 Tier One division against Ontario Junior Storm. The two historic rivals have lifted the bulk of the U18 national titles since the tournament’s inception, with Ontario edging BC 29-21 in the 2013 final at Vancouver’s UBC Wolfson Fields. Prior to last year’s defeat, BC had been undefeated at the 2011 and 2012 tournaments. The BC Rugby HappyWater U17 men’s team will be looking to improve on their 2013 debut at nationals where they finished up as Plate runner-ups to Eastern Ontario. The U17s are competing in the U18 Tier Two division at this year’s championships.
An experienced U18 women’s BC side will be looking to improve on their 2013 runner-up finish to Ontario where they were defeated 25-5 at Vancouver’s UBC Wolfson Fields. For the first time in several years, the entire squad will have already competed at Nationals with several returning players from last year’s U18s forming the bulk of the squad along with graduates of the 2013 U16 women’s national championship side also cracking the traveling roster.
BC’s U16 women’s program will be looking to repeat their success in 2013, where they went undefeated against provincial reps from Ontario and Alberta. 2013 BC Female Coach of the Year Jen Ross returns to lead the program in their campaign.
Full schedules and roster announcements for each BC provincial team competing in Calgary, scores and recaps are at www.bcrugby.com.