Tim Hart from Lockview HS and the the Under 16 and Under 18 Provincial programs played with the Howlers Under 18s in the Elite High School International Competition while Ellis Gray of the Halifax Tars/Dalhousie Men and NS Keltics played with the Howlers Mens Aces. Karl Fix was pleased with both players performances and how well they represented East Coast rugby.
Below is the players own summaries of the team, tournament, and overall experience.
Written by Brian Krawetz
(NS technical director) March 5,2012.
Ellis Gray - Everyone has heard the saying "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas." Pair that with "what happens on tour stays on tour" and we have a little problem considering that this rugby tour happened to take place in Vegas. So really the insight into this trip should really read like .....and that was my experience on my first Dog River Howlers tour to Las Vegas. Luckily I will bend the rules a little bit and share my experience, as much as I can.
As soon as I got off the plane I knew I was in Vegas. After flying all day all I wanted was something to eat and drink and yet all I could find were slot machines. Although curious I had come to Vegas for rugby. There would be time to experience Vegas after. Wednesday was spent training. I was with a group of very skilled rugby players inclduing some players with Canadian and international caps such as Robin MacDowell, James Bucchanan and our coach Ryan Smith. Being relatively new to the game of 7s it was awesome to be surrounded by such a wealth of knowledge. Thursday and Friday were game days. Obviously there isn't much water in Las Vegas and the fields clearly showed the lack of watering. Despite the field conditions the level of rugby was very high. We played games against Texas Selects, America South, a Fijian team and a university team in the round robin. It was a tough day of games but we finished the friday with a record of 1-2. On Thursday night we entertained the Guayana 7s team for dinner. Guayana does not have the money or support to be able to purchase a full set of kit so the Dog River Howlers purchased a kit for them and presented it at dinner. It was a very humbling experience to listen to the players talk about their life in Guayana. On Friday we entered the playoff side of the tournament and ended up losing in the Plate Final. Although it would have been nice to do better in the tournament I definitely learned a lot about the game and look forward to putting these new skills into use during the Nova Scotia summer 7s series. Now that all the playing was over it was time to have some fun. I'll keep it simple but Ryan Smith showed that he is not just a good rugby player but also a good bowler by winning the bowling tournament. Unfortunately all the prize money had been lost in true Vegas fashion (I knew we should have gone with red!) The rest of the night was spent in the company of good friends down on the Las Vegas strip. If you have never been to an IRB Sevens Tournament I highly recommend it. The environment was simply amazing. I have never really experienced anything like that. It was really good to see Canada play so well as they had a huge following at the tournament. The final of the tournament between Samoa and New Zealand an amazing game to watch and I am extremely lucky that I got to watch it. I am extremely lucky to have gone on tour with the Dog River Howlers. I learned a lot and hopefully will be able to spread some of the knowledge I have gained. I certainly look forward to gaining another Howlers Cap!
Tim Hart - Vegas was definitely an extreme eye opener for me into the world of rugby 7s. It could not have been a better first experience than what I had with the Dog River Howlers Rugby club. Between the coaching staff, the players, and how well organized everything was for us, everything was exactly what I had thought it would be if not more! The Dog River Howlers Rugby club has a fantastic program and it was an honor for me to be a part of, I am very thankful of them for selecting me.
The friendships and connections I made while in Vegas I hope continue to grow outside of rugby. A huge thanks is due to the coaching staff while for the insight to the game of sevens and everyday life because I now know the rugby is not just a game it is a way of life, I am definitely looking forward to the next chance to step on to the field for some sevens, and hope I can have a chance to represent the Howlers team once or many more times in the future!