EORU U18 Sevens: Leading Las Vegas

Las Vegas has never seen the likes of the 24 young men and women from the Eastern Ontario Rugby Union. They fought blinding blizzards in Ottawa and Montreal which translated into a 15 hour travel delay. Travel is always an adventure, and everyone rose after 6 hours of sleep with smiles on their faces, eager to embrace their unknown rugby opponents in the hot and dry dessert air. The park itself was impressive- full floodlights on each of the 19 pitches – complete referee, registration and medical tents, some apparel sales tents, and canteen options other than the standard hot dog and burger spots.

The first day was mostly a walk in the park for both teams, with six wins out of six games. Even with that, the kids didn’t let up in their effort or teamwork. There was some concern over how the draw for the girls’ quarter finals went as we were undefeated and a team with one loss was seeded higher than us. Didn’t matter in the end as the girls handily won their quarter final game.

EORU U18 Girls and U18 Boys after six wins from six games on Day One of the Las Vegas 7s

After playing three hard fought wins on day one, the boys arose to a difficult second day that would test their resilience and fitness. The first unknown foe was Utah’s Herriman Gold. Our scouting reports informed spectators that they were truly a U18 side.

As soon as the whistle blew at the game’s commencement, it was evident this would be a tough game. We made things worse for ourselves by not consistently retaining the ball kicked to us on a number of occasions, thus proving the old saying “you can’t win without the ball.” This loss moved us from the cup to the plate.

We went on to play the team that had ended the first day as the number one seed. It was looking like another disruptive game as the boys tried to find their mental strength in facing Arizona state. The boys found their resilience and strength and played a great game in the end, with a mounting comeback cut short by the final whistle. We witnessed a great effort and great results in those two short days.

In the girls’ quarter final game the players came out quickly, putting points on the board and never looking back. The defence was outstanding and the attack was just as good, with players creating so many attacking options that the other team had a really hard time defending.

Our semi final was going to be a really hard one against the team who was ranked first and who had scored close to 140 points for and zero points against at this point in the tournament.

The Williams Lake team from BC looked really confident, as they should be: they were the current BC club champs and hadn’t lost a game in nearly 3 years and. It featured four girls who opted out of playing for BC, so they could play for their club team. Our girls were a bunch of players who had trained hard all winter and who also were undefeated in the current season, and really didn’t care which they played. Watching them it was obvious: the bigger the challenge, the more determined they were as a team.

After the first few minutes it was obvious how focused the girls were – scoring a quick few tries and putting up a defensive brick wall. At halftime the body language of the other team telegraphed it all: they were shocked and the coaches spent halftime not talking about tactics to try and stop our girls, but rather trying to boost them up. From that half time moment the girls had won that fight – they just needed to sustain the pressure in the second half and we would walk away with the win. Williams Lake fought hard and threw everything at our girls. In the end it wasn’t enough to phase a team so focused and determined. At the end of the game the emotions of the players from both teams showed. Speaking with the coach afterwards he said he had never played a team so dominant. We were onto the cup final.

After coming away with a close win against Park View in the first game of the tournament, we set our focus on taking on the team who were considered the team to beat. This team had a lot of playing experience with two U19 USA players on their roster and also being crowned California State Champions. Our strategy was to play the way we had been playing all tournament, cancel out Park View’s two USA U19 players and enjoy the moment. Let’s just say the girls didn’t let up and continued playing the way they started. Coming away with a convincing win, the girls were rewarded from all the hard work and effort they had put into over the winter.

EORU U18 Girls win Las Vegas 7s CUP in High School Open Division

We went to Las Vegas for the rugby but managed to fit in a visit to the Hoover Dam as well as cruise the strip from our team buses. Cheering on Canada and watching Fiji win the Las Vegas International 7s was a highlight for our rugby group, and absolutely everyone is looking forward to the next tour.

EORU U18 players visit Hoover Dam.

Our Las Vegas 7s players:

Girls U18

Brooke Bean Ottawa Indians
Regan Casey Barrhaven Scottish
Angeline Giddy Barrhaven Scottish
Zoe Goodwin-Sutton Barrhaven Scottish
Sasha Guedes (Rugby Quebec 7s U18)
Jan-Ma Letinois (Rugby Quebec 7s U18)
Alex Liepmann Barrhaven Scottish (Rugby Canada U18)
Addison McCulloch Barrhaven Scottish
Emmi Merilainen (Rugby Canada U18; Rugby Ontario 7s U18)
Sydney Seymour Cornwall Craymores
Maddison Rogers Barrhaven Scottish
Kelsey Welsh Barrhaven Scottish

Boys U18

Tyrone Abraham Barrhaven Scottish
Isaac Brown Barrhaven Scottish
Nick Calina Bytown Blues
Gabriel Casey Barrhaven Scottish (Rugby Canada U17; Rugby Ontario 7s U18)
Dawson Fatoric Barrhaven Scottish
Thomas Montgomery Bytown Blues
Quinn Nadon-Stencill Ottawa Beavers
Thomas Patel Barrhaven Scottish
Nathan Pinder Belleville Bulldogs
Will Saikaley Bytown Blues
James Shaw Bytown Blues
Jordan Thaggard Barrhaven Scottish

Stay tuned for information about the 2016-2017 7s season- we’re adding several more tours in addition to the New York 7s and Las Vegas 7s.

LeeEllen Carroll
EORU U18 7s Manager