Nakai Penny named to Canada U20 rugby team; Foster Dewitt on non-travelling reserves roster

The Comox Valley has one representative on the Canada U20 Men’s XV team that faces the USA on Saturday, Feb. 13 in Austin, Texas to determine the North American entry into the World Rugby U20 Trophy Tournament in Zimbabwe this April.

Courtenay’s Nakai Penny (back row, UBC Thunderbirds) is one of 12 B.C. players named to the 25-man roster. Thirty-nine players were invited to a Jan. 22-30 selection camp at Shawnigan Lake School.

Courtenay’s Foster Dewitt (hooker, UBC Thunderbirds) is on the nine player non-travelling reserves roster. Also invited to the selection camp were Black Creek’s Callum Passingham (prop, UBC Thunderbirds) who could not attend due to injury and Trevor Caton (scrum half, Vancouver Rowing Club).

The camp concluded last Friday with a comprehensive 44-7 win over Castaway Wanderers. Dewitt scored a try in that contest.

“There was incredible depth this year which meant some excellent players were going to miss out,”  head coach Jeff Williams said. “We had a forwards camp for three days to focus on our set pieces and we looked at our technique in different facets of the game,” he added.

“Our total mindset is to win. That’s our first goal,” said Williams of Saturday’s match. “It’s tough having to play a one-game qualifier but it is out of our hands. We can only control what we do. I have told the boys this will only make us stronger.”

Saturday’s game against the United States Men’s U20 team is set for 6:45 p.m. PST from Dell Diamond in Austin, Texas, with live streaming coverage details to come. Check rugbycanada.ca for updates.

The Canada U20 team enjoyed a standout 2015 season as they went 7-1. They defeated Romania in two exhibition games before beating the USA twice in their qualifier.

At the World Junior Trophy, Canada knocked off Namibia, Hong Kong and Tonga in the pool stages before losing to Georgia in the final, matching their best ever finish at the tournament. They achieved the same result in 2013.