A Terrace local has hit the world rugby stage, travelling to England with the Canadian national U17 team.
Haydn Evans is 16 and currently attends boarding school away from Terrace in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.
He was picked up for the selection track for the team during a rugby camp at his school last July.
Jim Delaney is a coach for the U17 team who travelled with the players to England.
Delaney said playing for the team is a life changing experience, which certainly sets players on the right path in rugby, as the U17 team is the entry level into national rugby in Canada.
“It was pretty awesome,” Evan said, adding he did not expect to make the team because he did not participate in provincials.
Evans was chosen from 250 other athletes in a process that Delaney describes as nation-wide.
“We have a selection on the west coast and then one on the east,” he said.
In the end, 52 athletes were chosen and broken down into two teams before playing in one more tournament where the final roster of 26 players was chosen.
These top 26 made up the Canadian U17 rugby team and flew to Wellington, England, to take on other international teams in a tournament.
After a few exhibition games in Leeds and Yorkshire the team travelled to Wellington College for its first match, which was against England.
They lost the game 29 – 12 although Delaney said the game still went well over all, saying at half time the teams were evenly matched in goals.
“Results are not our focus,” he said, adding they are more so concerned with developing a player’s end potential and propelling them on to other Canadian national teams.
“This age group is really to prepare them for some of the demands and challenges that will follow as they move up,” Delaney said.
Evans agreed the team played pretty well in the England match-up, as they managed to tie up the score from 12 -0 to 12-12 by the half time mark, a strong accomplishment against such an established team as England.
Game two was a victory for Canada against Belgium 24-5.
The third and final match was against France, where the team took its second loss, with a 35-10 final result.
During the tournament Evans said the focus was all rugby, with upwards of two to three practices a day.
Delaney also said the team managed to maintain its tier one status, something he was happy about.
“It was awesome playing that level of rugby,” Evans said, adding while it may have not been the easiest thing he has done he definitely held his own on the team.
“He fits that profile of what we are looking for,” Delaney said, adding that Evans has excellent work ethic and is capable of doing the work necessary to progress through to one day play senior levels of rugby in a world cup.
And carrying on the rugby path is certainly what Evans plans to do.
Next on his plate will be tryouts for the U18 provincial B.C. team.