Islander Griffiths makes Canadian rugby debut at Spain Sevens

To have a field, to throw something – be it a spear hurled forward or a rugby ball tossed sideways. Allrounder Sion Griffiths of Mill Bay, Canadian Legion Class National Bronze Medalist and 2018 BC

To have a field, to throw something – be it a spear hurled forward or a rugby ball tossed sideways.

Mill Bay all-rounder Sion Griffiths, the Canadian Legion class national bronze medalist and 2018 high school silver medalist in the javelin throw while at Brentwood College, will make his international rugby debut for Canada this week in the Spain Sevens event of the HSBC World Series.

6-foot Griffiths, of the Cowichan Valley Athletic Club, now throws javelin as a member of the UBC Thunderbirds track and field team. But it is rugby in the spirit of the Cowichan RFC player in Malaga, Spain.

Griffiths is one of the newcomers to be introduced as Rugby Canada makes its way to the 2024 Paris Olympics following the retirement of its veteran core group – Victoria’s Connor Braid, the great Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Justin Douglas and Conor Trainor from the University of Victoria Vikes – carrying Canada to the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Griffiths joins the new wave with fellow island players Brennig Prevost of Glenlyon-Norfolk School, Jack Carson of Oak Bay High, Victoria’s Ciaran Breen of Shawnigan Lake School, Anton Ngongo of Claremont Secondary and Mill Bay’s Matt Percillier of Brentwood College.

They were introduced to HSBC World Sevens Series tournaments in Vancouver, Edmonton and Dubai during the fall, although not all will make the trip to Spain due to injury or unavailability as Canadian management strives to spread the net widely and allow as many young players to evaluate. as it can in the melting pot of international competition.

Noah Bain from Abbotsford will make his debut in Canada with Griffiths. On the veteran side, Olympians Phil Berna and Jake Thiel are returning to the roster after injuries. Theo Sauder, Josiah Morra and Cooper Coats are the other veterans of interest to play in Spain.

The younger players selected include Griffiths, Bain, Ngongo, Elias Ergas of UBC, Alex Russell of McGill, Thomas Isherwood of the Foothills Lions, Matthew Oworu of Pacific Pride of Langford and Nick Allen of Capilano RFC.

“We are delighted to be back in action with some new and familiar faces as we continue to develop young talent and welcome a number of players returning from injury,” Canada head coach Henry Paul said in a statement. .

“Every player relishes the opportunity to showcase their skills on the international stage.”

The tournament starts on Friday with Canada lined up in Pool D with Wales, Kenya and France.

The announcement of Canada’s roster for Spain comes after news of the HSBC Canada Sevens, scheduled for February 26-27 at BC Place, and the Los Angeles Sevens, March 5-6, being postponed due to pandemic restrictions.

“Our entire team is lucky and thankful to be able to continue to compete on the Sevens circuit [in Spain] given the current circumstances that everyone is facing right now,” said Paul.

The Canadian women’s team, based in Langford, meanwhile, opens Friday in Malaga in a group with the US and Poland.

On the roster are UVic Vikes graduates Pamphinette Buisa and Paige Farries, the latter with Westshore RFC. Elissa Alarie is also from Westshore RFC and Olivia Apps is a Victoria resident of Queen’s University.

Florence Symonds, 19, Alysha Corrigan and Chloe Daniels, 18, will make their HSBC World Series debuts. Veteran Karen Paquin, a member of Canada’s bronze medalist team of the 2016 Rio Olympics, returns to sevenfold.

The Canadian women’s team will host the HSBC Canada Sevens from April 30 to May 1 at Starlight Stadium in Langford.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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