A pair of South Surrey rugby players boarded a plane bound for Germany Monday, where they’ll suit up for B.C.’s U16 Elite Youth Sevens rugby team on an international stage.
Earl Marriott Secondary’s Michael Smith and Southridge’s Jared Thind are two of 11 players set to compete in the Heidelberg Junior International Sevens tournament, an event that features teams from Europe, Africa and across North America.
Smith and Thind were chosen for the team by head coach Shane Thompson after a lengthy selection process that included tryouts in Victoria and the Lower Mainland.
The competition at the tournament, which runs June 14-15, will be fierce, said Thompson, who is no stranger to German rugby, having taken teams there in the past.
“This is a great tournament that has included junior national teams from Romania and Kenya as well as provincial teams from across Germany,” Thompson said. “The strongest team in recent years is always the French Toulouse Junior Academy.”
B.C.’s Elite Sevens team has previously toured to Vegas and Hong Kong. This will be the first European tour in the program’s history.
It’s because of that experience that Thompson expects his team to be competitive when the games begin next week.
“This is a strong group and many of them played rep Sevens in the BC Summer Games in 2012,” Thompson added. “A number of them have also been playing senior high school rugby at the recent provincials and have shown they are able to compete at a high level.”