Comox Valley rugby athletes have earned four of the 39 spots on the Canada U20 selection camp that will be held Jan. 22-30 at Shawnigan Lake School. Twenty-six players will be chosen to represent Canada at their World Trophy qualifier against the USA on Feb. 13.
G.P. Vanier grads Trevor Caton, Callum Passingham and Foster DeWitt, along with Valley newcomer Nikai Penny of Penticton, will be attending the final tryout camp.
If Canada beats the USA they will earn a trip to Zimbabwe in April for the 2016 World Rugby U20 Trophy. Plus, for the top players, the Americas Rugby Championship for five weeks in February/March is a possibility.
Three of the four local athletes are currently with the UBC Thunderbirds, who have been enjoying a terrific year. DeWitt is from Courtenay while Passingham hails from Black Creek and Penny from Penticton. All three are forwards. Caton, a back, plays for Vancouver Rowing Club.
In September, the Thunderbirds (with DeWitt and Penny on the roster) were the only North American team at the inaugural, eight-team World University Rugby Cup at Oxford University, where they finished third (defeating Oxford 18-14 along the way).
The reigning B.C. Premier League champion T-Birds wrapped up a perfect (8-0-0) first half of their season on Dec. 5 by winning the Mainland Cup, defeating Burnaby Lake 20-0. UBC has scored over 300 points and is outscoring its opponents by an average of 37-14 this year.
Along with capturing the Miller Cup as mainland champs, UBC retains the National Rugby News Challenge Cup as the top club team in North America. They have defeated the #1 ranked USA club team, Seattle, twice and are undefeated against all B.C. opponents.
LINE OUTS The U20’s February one-game World Trophy qualifier (in Austin, Texas) will precede the Americas Rugby Championship match between Canada and the USA on the same weekend… DeWitt and Penny were with the BC U19 men’s team that won the national championship in July …