Bayside players to represent BC at international rugby event

A handful of South Surrey rugby players will be among 36 from across the province heading to Las Vegas for the USA Sevens High School Invitational later this month.

The prestigious event – the first of the year for the provincial program – is set to hit the pitch in Sin City on Jan. 23.

Team BC will enter multiple teams into the tournament – two under-18 sides in the Elite division, plus an under-17 team in the Open category.

The provincial U18 team’s roster includes a handful of Bayside Rugby Club members, including Joseph Carter – who attends Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary – Nick Collett (Southridge), Nico Docolas (Elgin Park), Matt Gallagher (Semiahmoo), Cali Martinez (Earl Marriott) and Andrew O’Connor (Elgin Park).

Of that group, Martinez, Collett and Docolas are returnees, having advanced to the finals of the 2013 tournament.

At the U17 level, the Team BC roster will include one local – Keenan Houde (Earl Marriott), while Team BC’s U18 girls team will also include one local name – Clayton Heights Secondary’s Chantal McLean.

“Chantal has shown a work ethic that drives the players around her,” said U18 women’s coach Brad Skene in a news release.

Though the U18 boys advance to the finals last year – and were undefeated at the 2012 tournament – B.C. head coach Shane Thompson knows winning it all this year will be a challenge, considering their competition includes top provincial teams from across Canada, as well as state champions from across the United States.

“We certainly have our work cut out for us,” he said. “Teams in the tournament are more organized and are getting better every year. We can’t think about what we’ve achieved in the past. (We) have lots of work to do if we hope to make it to the final again.”

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