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Pair of Abbotsford talents named to Olympic Canadian rugby sevens team

Robert Bateman grads Jake Thiel and Justin Douglas heading to Tokyo next month for Games
Robert Bateman Secondary Grads Justin Douglas and Jake Thiel have been named to the Team Canada men’s rugby sevens squad for the upcoming Tokyo Summer Olympics. (Rugby Canada photos)

A pair of Robert Bateman Secondary School grads will be competing at the Tokyo Olympics.

Rugby Canada announced that Abbotsford natives Justin Douglas and Jake Thiel will both be representing Canada on the men’s rugby sevens team at the 2020 Summer Olympics, which occur next month in Japan.

The men’s rugby sevens team qualified for Tokyo 2020 by winning the regional qualification tournament, the Rugby Americas North Sevens. Team Canada achieved a perfect 6-0-0 record at the tournament which took place in Cayman Islands in July 2019.

The men’s sevens team last competed this past April in Dubai at Emirates Invitational Sevens, which occurred over two weekends. The men’s team finished in fifth place in the first tournament and then finished second in the second tournament.

Both teams returned home from Dubai to the Al Charron National Training Center in Langford, B.C. to prepare for the Games while training under strict COVID-19 protocols.

Rugby sevens made its Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This is the first time a Canadian men’s team has qualified for the Olympics.

The men now compete with 11 other teams and are initially divided into three groups of four. The top eight teams from the round robin then advance to a knockout stage, beginning with the quarterfinal round. The semifinal winners then play for gold, while the losers play for bronze.

Men’s rugby sevens will take place July 26 to July 28 at Tokyo Stadium.

Douglas and Thiel both play for the Abbotsford Rugby Football Club and have been in the national sevens program for several years.

Douglas played at the Rugby World Cup Sevens for Canada in 2013 and 2018 and also earned a gold medal in the sport at the 2015 Toronto Pan-Am Games.

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Thiel played at the World Rugby U20 (15s) and played through Canada’s age-grade program (U-17/18/19/20 & Pacific Pride). He is the son of Jon Thiel and Jen Ross, former Senior National 15s players who combined represented Canada at four Rugby World Cups.

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Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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