Sol Jacques and Daniel Kilian impressed Moreno Stefanon while at a B.C. Rugby under-14 camp in late July.
The Penticton products were among 46 players at the camp vying for one of 25 roster spots. They were selected to the team and return to the Lower Mainland this weekend for more training.
Stefanon, the coach of the U14 squad, gave high praise to the players. Stefanon described Kilian as a finisher with another strong quality.
“He’s got fantastic speed. He’s probably one of the fastest kids for his age group in the province that’s playing rugby,” said Stefanon. “He’s got fantastic running lines. Gets the ball, runs straight.”
Stefanon also said Kilian is a team player with a fantastic attitude.
Kilian was excited to make the team since his father played in South Africa in high school and college.
Kilian said the camp was hard, but after a few days he got used to the pace. The tough part for him was mainly the running. During the camp Kilian learned more about rucking and tackling. Kilian has played the positions of fly half, left and right wing and full back.
What he likes about sport happens during game time.
“When you start a game and then you get kind of like an adrenaline rush,” he said.
Stefanon said that Jacques, who started playing rugby last March, also has a great attitude, but is a different player.
“He’s already performing at the same level of the other U14s that are there but a year younger,” said Stefanon. “For him, it’s obviously we’re looking ahead to the future for next year. You want there to be some sort of transition player there. Somebody who has seen the system the year prior and can be a leader. He’s very mature for his age.”
Stefanon was also impressed that Jacques isn’t afraid to speak up. He executes in practice what the coaches ask.
“They are both huge, positive players that don’t have a big ego,” said Stefanon. “You need those role kind of guys.”
Jacques, who won bronze medals in kayaking at the Abbotsford 2016 B.C. Summer Games, said it was a great experience at camp. He learned more about the sport, including game strategy and improved his ball handling skills.
Jacques said he has gained confidence in knowing he is among the top players in B.C. for his age group.
“It’s a really good feeling knowing that you’re one of the best in B.C.,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to be selected for the team. When I found out that I was, I was really happy. I really want to go far in the sport. I think this is a big step.”