Rosters were announced last week for the provincial youth rugby sides that will be participating in this week’s Rugby Canada National Championship Festival – and the teams are chock full of Peninsula talent.
In total, 17 South Surrey, Cloverdale and White Rock players are competing on four different teams at nationals, which began Monday in Sherbrooke, Que. and are set to run until Aug. 12.
Suiting up for Team BC’s U18 men’s team will be recently graduated Semiahmoo Totems captain Dylan Kiselbach, as well Ian McMaster and Quinton Willms, who both helped Earl Marriott Secondary’s senior boys team to a sixth-place finish at B.C. AAA High School Rugby Championships in the spring.
In the U18 women’s tournament, Team BC will feature seven locals, including a strong Cloverdale contingent. Nikolina Boundy, Jenna and Jade Elidoros, April Martin and Alex Mueller – all of Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary – are on the roster, as are Semiahmoo’s Sierra Bonner and Earl Marriott’s Nicole Bengco. All seven players are members of the Bayside Rugby Club, which plays out of South Surrey.
Bayside Rugby members also dot a pair of U16 boys team, with five players – Drew Coles, Nick Collett, Nico Docolas, Calixto Martinez and Gavin Rowell – on the U16 Gold side, and two more, Tim Stephens and Nick Wright, with the U16 Blue team.
In total, the tournament will featured more than 650 players from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Newfoundland.
Each team will have impressive performances to live up to; in 2011, both U18 teams finished on the podium, as did the U16 Gold side, while the U16 Blue team wasn’t far behind, in fourth.
Last year at nationals in Calgary, the U18 men’s side and the U16 Gold team went undefeated (4-0) en route to a gold medal.