Geraint John announces Canadian roster for Dubai 7s
Published Friday, November 9, 2012
by Rugby Canada Communications

Canada head coach Geraint John has made a solitary change to his 7s squad ahead of their back-to-back IRB World Series legs in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.

Returning to the mix following shoulder surgery comes Nathan Hirayama, who takes the place of Mike Fuailefau, with the former player's experience a boost to the Canadian cause.

Hirayama has been recuperating from injury by training and playing with club side UVic Vikes and joins a squad high on confidence after their Gold Coast 7s showings. Canada's performance, particularly during Day 2 at the Australia event, would have been a massive fillip for Head Coach John as they dominated Portugal and pushed England all the way.

John said in the post-match at the Gold Coast that positives had to be taken into Dubai as Canada took on three out of the leading five teams in the IRB World Series, pushing New Zealand - who ultimately made the final - all the way and arguably deserving a victory over the English. He was also delighted with the defensive performance from his charges.

Many put in exceptional shifts and it is unsurprising that Ciaran Hearn, Sean Duke, Phil Mack, Chauncey O'Toole, John Moonlight, Harry Jones and Nanyak Dala remain in the group. Thyssen de Goode, Lucas Hammond and Jeff Hassler and youngster Justin Douglas are also retained as John attempts to juggle Canada's XV-a-side commitments with the Sevens.

"We have selected a similar group of core players to the squad we took to the Gold Coast, with the addition of Nathan Hirayama," said the head coach, who is still minus experienced internationals Conor Trainor and Adam Kleeberger due to respective injuries while Tyler Ardron is unavailable for the upcoming two tournaments because of important school exams.

"The addition of Nathan is a big boost for our team as he brings a lot of experience and leadership to the group."

The aforementioned balancing act with Kieran Crowley's outfit in the United Kingdom means that six of the squad - Dala, Hassler, Hearn, Jones, Moonlight and O'Toole - are currently with the National Senior Men‚s team ahead of their November tour fixtures, which begin against Samoa in Colwyn Bay on Friday. Canada's other six members will be departing for the UK on November 18 and have been in Victoria for training with the other carded athletes.

John and Dana Agar-Newman, a strength and conditioning coach who works out of the Canadian Sports Centre Pacific, will be overseeing those players remaining at home. However, once that sextet arrive in the UK, the group of 12 will train together between the NSMT matches to prepare for the fast-approaching Dubai and Nelson Mandela Bay competitions.

Like many IRB World Sevens Series events, the opportunity to enjoy run-throughs against tournament rivals will again be a feature and the Canadian 7s squad will this week test themselves against reigning IRB World Cup winners Wales as the two respective squads will link up for a day in preparation for Dubai, with coach John assessing what lies ahead.

"Dubai is going to be a challenge, but we feel our team is going into the tournament prepared," continued the head coach.

"Being able to link up with the six players who will be travelling in the UK with the National Senior Men‚s Team, and to train as a full squad for a week is a fantastic advantage. Adding to that the training opportunity with Wales and we are going to be able to hit the ground running once we get to the Dubai event."

Canada are drawn in the same Pool as France, Australia and the USA and will kick-off their campaign in the first fixture of Day 1 at the 50,000 seater venue.

Canada's Roster for Gold Coast 7s (club followed by hometown):
Nanyak Dala (Castaway Wanderers / Saskatoon Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK (captain)
Thyssen de Goode (James Bay Atheltic Association) Courtenay, BC
Justin Douglas (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Duke (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond (Toronto Nomads) Toronto, ON
Jeff Hassler (James Bay Atheltic Association) Okotoks, AB
Ciaran Hearn (Castaway Wanders RFC) Conception Bay, NL
Nathan Hirayama (UVic Vikes) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack (UVic Vikes) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight (James Bay Atheltic Association) Pickering, ON
Chauncey O‚Toole (Belle Isle RFC) (Belle Isle, NB)

Head Coach: Geraint John
Assistant Coach: Kieran Crowley
Manager: Brian Hunter
Therapist: Carla Barsh

Dubai 7s
November 30 - December 1, 2012
Day 1: Canada v France 9:06am local
Canada v Australia 1:14pm local
Canada v USA 4:38pm local

Day 2: TBD

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