‘Big’ day of rugby at Kukri Sevens

The seventh annual Abbotsford Kukri Sevens tournament, the first of four official stops on the B.C. Rugby Sevens Circuit.

Finnegans' Keegan Carson is tackled (Abby team in black) by a Brit Lions player in rugby sevens action June 13 at Exhibition Park in Abbotsford.

Finnegans' Keegan Carson is tackled (Abby team in black) by a Brit Lions player in rugby sevens action June 13 at Exhibition Park in Abbotsford.

The seventh annual Abbotsford Kukri Sevens tournament, the first of four official stops on the B.C. Rugby Sevens Circuit, took place last Saturday at Exhibition Park with local squads seeing varying success against some strong out-of-town teams.

There were 24 teams participating across four divisions: men’s elite, women’s, men’s social and U14 boys.

In the men’s elite division, Abbotsford Rugby Football Club (ARFC) finished third.

The Seattle Saracens coached by Fijian sevens legend Waisale Serevi, won the tournament, defeating Burnaby Lake in the finals.

Ryan McWhinney, one of the organizers of the tournament, described the two top squads as “very experienced, big sides who played some exciting rugby.”

There are three more tournaments remaining, so Abbotsford does have a chance to improve position in the series standings.

In the women’s division, Abbotsford had the top club team officially competing on the circuit, finishing in third place, with a selects side from Castaway Wanders of Victoria winning the division.

In the men’s social division, three Abbotsford squads, Yale Alumni, Finnegan’s, and the Heavy Setters, competed with six others to challenge for the cup.

This was the first time Yale entered the seven-a-side tournament. Yale and Finnegan’s met in the plate final, with Finnegan’s securing the win to claim fifth.

The organizers were impressed to see the Heavy Setters in the tournament. The team was organized by Aaron Flagg, the most recent ARFC player to wear a Canadian jersey, and was comprised of big boys each weighing in at 250 pounds, at least.

“The Heavy’s were competitive and came away with a couple of wins, but fitness may have been a liability in their pursuit of the cup,” joked McWhinney.

Tanner Hunter from the Heavy Setters won the men’s award in the drop kick contest, which had upwards of 20 competitors.

The Vod Lounge Skids, which featured local Bateman product and UBC player Jorden Sandover-Best, won the social division over the Youngbucks.

The most successful Abbotsford side came from the U-14 division in which Valley East, composed of players from Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Langley, secured top honours. They will go on to the provincial regional championships in two weeks at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.