Terrace’s Haydn Evans helped bring B.C. to the top spot at the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens international rugby tournament in Las Vegas Feb 9-12.
B.C. sent three teams to the tournament and it was the BC1 team who went undefeated in five games to take the tournament win.
“It was just an absolute blast…we just worked as a machine,” says Evans, 17, who played with the BC1 team. “We were unstoppable, it was probably the best sevens experience I have ever played.”
The final match had BC1 team pitted against the USA High School All Americans. Evans crossed the line twice, earning two tries for his team, contributing to a final of 35 – 14 for BC1.
“They had a couple of good plays, but our team was on fire,” Evans said of the final game, noting the final match was actually less difficult than the semi-finals, where BC1 took on the BC2 team.
That match ended with a 15-5 result for the BC1s, with Evans achieving one try.
Evans currently plays rugby for his school, Shawnigan Lake, located on Vancouver Island, and also
plays for the Cowichan Rugby Club.
The BC2 team went on to beat out Ontario in the consolation round for a third place finish at the event.
Head coach for the BC teams, Shane Thompson, said out of 36 players in Las Vegas, 18 had attended the tournament last year, which gave the B.C. teams an advantage.
He said Evans’ performance was a strong one at the event.
“He did very well, he is big and strong, but he is also a smart player,” Thompson said, adding that Evans, who normally plays standard rugby, gets better and better each time he plays rugby sevens. It’s a variation of rugby where teams are made up of seven players instead of 15 and matches are shorter.
More than 200 teams from around the world were in Las Vegas competing in divisions for men, women and youths.
Evans and his teammates got the chance to take in some high-level rugby games from international teams on their down time.
“That was a really neat experience,” Evans said of watching some of the best rugby teams in the world play live.
“For those guys (the players) it is probably as good as playing, to see where they have to get to,” Thompson said of watching higher levels of play.
Evans is in his Grade 12 year and is looking into post-secondary plans, which would likely include playing rugby for a college or university.
Next for him is the Sanix World Rugby Cup in Japan in April. Held by the Japan Rugby Union, one team per country is invited to take part and Evans’ Shawnigan Lake will be representing Canada.