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EIRA 7s Team for Victoria International Youth 7s

irish rugby tours

EIRA 7s Team for Victoria International Youth 7s

Travis Heer was with the HSAA 7s team in Las Vegas, and will be part of the EIRA team in Victoria. David Barpal photo.

Eagle Impact Rugby Academy Director Salty Thompson is taking a 12-player team to British Columbia in July for the Victoria International 7s.

The team Thompson will take is very similar to the HS All American squad he coached at the Las Vegas Invitational, a team that lost to British Columbia 7s Academy in the final. 

Will Brennan David Barpal photo
Will Brennan David Barpal photo
Aaron Matthews David Barpal photo
Aaron Matthews David Barpal photo
For more on EIRA click on image

Two players did not participate in that tournament - SE Polk speedster Deion Mikesell out of Iowa, and Hawaiian Gardens halfback Cristian Rodriguez out of Southern California. Mikesell emerged as the most dangerous scoring threat in Iowa’s HS season, which is a series of 7s tournaments. Rodriguez was a candidate for the HS All American camp in the winter, but missed it due to injury.

Two players from Fallbrook are on the squad, versatile Ian Crilly, who will be needed in the breakdowns and on defense, and Steven Branham, who will be expected to set the tone physically.

Thompson has asked Branham to do his best Danny Barrett impression and Branham, who has enjoyed an excellent senior season, should do the job.

Six of the players also played in the Rosslyn Park 7s, and that’s where Luke Bienstock of Greenwich and Travis Heer of Back Bay, both wings in 15s, were introduced to playing as a forward in 7s. Both took to the roles and as a result the EIRA team will have pace everywhere.

“There is a sense of unfinished business,” Bienstock told Goff Rugby Report. “We played really well in Las Vegas and went into that final feeling confident. But BC is a really good program and they beat us. We just felt we would like to play that game over again.”

The EIRA trip will take the place of HS All American activity for some of these players, as there is no HSAA tour this summer due to lack of funding.

The Victoria International Youth 7s will run July 10-11 with brackets that include U18 Elite Boys, U18 Open Boys, and U18 Open Girls, as well as U16 and U14 brackets. The tournament will be held at the University of Victoria, at Wallace Field and in Centennial Stadium.

Several US teams are slated to appear. Along with the EIRA team and three BC Elite teams in the Boys Elite bracket, Utah Lions, Utah Cannibals, and EIRA-Washington will participate.

Both the Lions and the Cannibals will send 2nd sides for the Boys Open.

Apex Academy (Colorado), Kent Crusaders (Washington), and Utah Cannibals are all slated to play in the girls bracket.


EIRA Squad for Victoria 7s:

FIRST LAST H.S. Grade Height Weight Rugby Club Name
Luke Bienstock Junior 6'1" 195 Greenwich HS, Conn.
Steven Branham Senior 5'11" 210 Fallbrook, Calif.
Will Brennan Junior 6'1" 210 Seattle Vikings, Wash.
Ian Crilly Senior 6'2" 195 Fallbrook, Calif.
Travis Heer Senior 5'11" 195 Back Bay, Calif.
Devin Lim Senior 6'2" 200 San Diego Young Aztecs, Calif.
Kyle Makaiwi Senior 5'9" 180 Danville Oaks, Calif.
Sim Mander Junior 6'1" 200 St Paul's School, UK
Aaron Matthews Senior 5'11" 194 Back Bay, Calif.
Deion Mikesell Senior 6'0" 215 SE Polk HS, Iowa
Cristian Rodriguez Senior 5'6" 165 Hawaiian Gardens, Calif.
Nathan Short Senior 5'11" 170 Dixon HS, Calif.