Rugby players Vegas bound for sevens tourney

This Thursday five Williams Lake rugby players will hit the pitch in Nevada for the Las Vegas Invitational sevens tournament.

This Thursday five Williams Lake rugby players will hit the pitch in Nevada for the Las Vegas Invitational sevens tournament as part of the B.C. Banshees, a group of select players from throughout the province.

Williams Lake secondary students Alexis Myhre, Erica Pfleiderer and Sheridan Davis will join Columneetza secondary’s Jasmyn Niquidet and Jaime Carrier on the B.C. squad, which will compete in the High School Girls 7s division.

The five Williams Lake players make up almost 50 per cent of the team, as 11 players were chosen from around the province to round out the roster at the tournament.

Former Team Canada scrum half Julia Sugawara will be at the helm, coaching the team in the tournament.

Vancouver’s Jessica Nielsen, the girls said, was responsible for putting out the call to rugby clubs around the province to help support and fund the trip.

“Basically they started seeing how many players were interested in going and after that they chose [Julia] to be the coach,” Myhre said.

“It’s the largest rugby tournament in the world so it should be good.”

The local quintet was in Vancouver at the end of January to get acquainted with their new teammates and to get in a couple of practices together.

There, they loosely determined who would play which positions, had a couple of practices and spent some time watching and going over tape from the Canadian National Women’s team’s recent world championship win from Dubai.

On the wing will be Niquidet (Grade 11) and Davis (Grade 10), while Carrier (Grade 12) will play prop and Pfleiderer (Grade 12) will play hook and prop.

At first receiver or second receiver and doing line outs will be Myhre.

In addition to the invitational tournament the girls will be attending the women’s final at the 2012 USA Sevens Rugby Tournament, held at the same time in Las Vegas from Feb. 10-12.

All five girls said they’re appreciative, especially, of the Williams Lake Rustlers and the Kamloops Rugby Club for their support and donation in helping the team afford the travelling costs to the tournament.

Ryan Lee, president of the Williams Lake Rustlers, said it’s in the club’s charter to help promote youth rugby in the community whenever possible, and added he’s happy to be able to do so.

“Our club donates a large portion of money to youth rugby every year,” Lee said.

“In the past we’ve helped fund boys and girls that play at an elite level as well as helping kids that may need support to play at any level.

“These girls have a great opportunity to compete at an international level. Not many athletes regardless of the sport get that opportunity.”