A Thunder player delivers a flying tackle on a member of the North Island Tsunami late in a U16 boys match during the Thunder Sevens at Shawnigan Lake School last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Inaugural Thunder 7s storms into Shawnigan

Aboriginal rugby program hosts first tournament

The host team and the North Island Tsunami each won two division titles at the inaugural Thunder Sevens tournament at Shawnigan Lake School last Friday.

For the last four years, the Thunder Aboriginal Rugby Program has held a youth camp at the school, but this year they wrapped the week up by inviting other teams to Shawnigan for a one-day tournament. The North Island Tsunami entered teams in the U14, U16 and U18 boys divisions and the U16 girls division, and other entries came from Westshore in the U18 boys division and the Barbarians in the U18 girls division.

The host Thunder finished first in both the U18 and U16 girls divisions, while the Tsunami prevailed in the U16 and U14 boys groups, and Westshore won the U18 boys pool.

All four North Island Tsunami sides were stocked with Cowichan talent.

The head coaches of both Canadian national sevens teams were present for the tournament, John Tait from the women’s program and Damian McGrath from the men’s team, who presented the five winning teams and 25 tournament all-stars with their medals. Robin MacDowell, the Duncan product who now runs his own rugby academy in Saskatchewan and is coaching the junior boys Canadian sevens team at the Commonwealth Youth Games this month, was also on hand to scout talent.

The day wrapped up with senior men’s showcase games featuring players from across the country.