Eight Toronto Rugby branch clubs are represented on the Elite Reds’ men’s and women’s sevens teams bound for Florida.

(TORONTO, ON) – The Toronto Elite Reds Academy is pleased to unveil its 2018 kit ahead of the program’s upcoming tour to the Tropical Sevens youth tournament in Orlando, FL.

“The Toronto Elite Reds program is very excited to partner with Osprey Sports,” said John Pryce, Toronto Rugby Director of High Performance. “We’re looking forward to showcasing the sleek kit at the upcoming Tropical Sevens and 2018 Ontario Summer Games tournaments.”
The 27 athletes named to Toronto Elite Reds’ Tropical Sevens tournament squads represent eight Toronto Rugby clubs. As the Elite Reds teams vie for tournament titles in Orlando over Easter weekend, the level of play will be top-tier, with the travelling Toronto-based sides set to face elite division competition from teams hailing from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Alberta. From a regional standpoint, the tournament could also end up seeing a handful of all-Ontario fixtures, as the Elite Reds will be joined at the competition by teams from the Ontario Blues provincial program.

“Our athletes have been working incredibly hard in training as we prepare for the Tropical Sevens,” added Pryce. “This tournament, complete with some stiff competition from across North America and beyond, represents a fantastic opportunity to prepare for the Ontario Summer Games this August. We’re building towards the Games as we reinforce our desire to be a chief supplier of up-and-coming talent to Rugby Canada’s national sevens program.”

Ahead of the Tropical Sevens tournament, Toronto Elite Reds bolstered its coaching ranks by appointing two-time Women’s Rugby World Cup veteran and 2015 CIS Player of the Year Cindy Nelles to its staff.

“Cindy joined our staff in early March to work with our women’s team, and the early results have already been outstanding,” said Pryce. “Cindy leads by example, and is an excellent role model for our athletes both on and off the pitch. Her track record speaks for itself, and she’s a big asset for the growth of our program.”

Nelles has joined second-year coach Dallas Price, who also serves as the program’s strength and conditioning specialist, in fully preparing the Elite Reds women’s team for the upcoming competition, while the men’s side is under the tutelage of coach Nico Pienaar.

“Toronto Rugby is proud of the work that the Elite Reds Academy athletes and staff have put in so far, and we’re giving them full support ahead of their busy 2018 schedule,” said Mark Walsh, Toronto Rugby President. “This is a great high performance atmosphere for these young athletes, and we’re proud that eight of our clubs are represented across the two sides playing in Orlando later this month.”

As the two teams ready themselves physically for the upcoming competition, the Elite Reds training regimen has also included strong elements of mental preparation. Canadian women’s rugby trailblazer Dr. Natascha Wesch has led the academy’s sports psychology and mental health training.

“With the help of Dr. Wesch, we’re creating a comfortable environment for our athletes, where they learn ways to manage competitive stress, improve confidence, and hone in on their concentration in an encouraging space,” said Pryce. “Stress management is an example of the mental side of the game that coaches seldom talk about compared to other areas of the game, yet it’s been something we’ve always seemed to just expect young athletes to know. Mental skills, just like physical skills, require correct guidance and training.”

Toronto Elite Reds’ men’s and women’s teams will kick off their Tropical Sevens campaigns on Mar. 30, 2018. Match schedules will be released by tournament officials in the coming days.

For more information surrounding the Tropical Sevens tournament, please visit

Toronto Elite Reds – Tropical Sevens Tournament Squads

Under-18 Women
Carlene Close (Oshawa Vikings)
Beth Cudmore (Barrie)
Brooklynn Feasby (Oshawa Vikings)
Kennedy Feasby (Oshawa Vikings)
Claire File (Oakville Crusaders)
Nicole Gamm (Toronto Nomads)
Olivia Hooper (Barrie)
Kiera Kubek (Oshawa Vikings)
Mikaela Kyte (Barrie)
Lauren Larkan (Oshawa Vikings)
Joleen Mason (Belleville Bulldogs)
Kaya Peros (Oakville Crusaders)
Emma Woods (Oshawa Vikings)

Non-Travelling Reserves
Payton Erwin (Barrie)
Kiersten Westwood (Belleville Bulldogs)

Cindy Nelles, John Pryce

Under-18 Men
Colin Bryan (Toronto Saracens)
Dylan Di Girolamo (Aurora Barbarians)
Kobe Faust (Oshawa Vikings)
Cole Ferraro (Oshawa Vikings)
Nicholas Harrington (Oakville Crusaders)
Campbell Hunter (Toronto Saracens)
Ryan Jones (Oshawa Vikings)
Alex Kropman (Ajax Wanderers)
James Neale (Toronto Saracens)
Callum O’Neil (Belleville Bulldogs)
Armand Pienaar (Oshawa Vikings)
Liam Skelly (Barrie)
Aidan Ste. Marie (Oshawa Vikings)
Liam Ste. Marie (Oshawa Vikings)

Nico Pienaar

About the Toronto Elite Reds Academy:

The Toronto Elite Reds Academy offers a Toronto-based high-performance program aimed at elite rugby sevens skill development, which includes thorough training sessions aligned with Rugby Canada’s key themes and core skills, personalized strength and conditioning and sport psychology programs, and input from guest national team coaches.

For more information, visit


For more information, please contact:

John Pryce
Director of High Performance
Toronto Elite Reds Academy

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