VICTORIA - Canadian head coach Geraint John has announced his roster for the first two sevens tournaments of 2013 in Wellington, New Zealand and Las Vegas, USA. Canada’s Senior Men’s Sevens Team currently holds the 11th position out of 18 nations in the HSBC Sevens World Series Standings after the Gold Coast, Dubai and Port Elizabeth legs to finish off 2012.
Three familiar faces highlight the changes to the squad for Wellington and Las Vegas as Tyler Ardron, Taylor Paris and Conor Trainor are set to make their series debut for Canada.
Ardron was a key member of Canada’s Team who finished a perfect 6-0 to win last summer’s NACRA event in Ottawa and officially qualify for the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow in June.
Paris currently plays for the Glasgow Warriors in the RaboDirect Pro 12 in the UK and has been graciously made available for Canada by the Warriors. Despite being only 20-years-old, Paris has been a member of Canada’s Sevens squad since 2010 and helped Canada achieve core status by winning the qualifier event in Hong Kong in March 2012.
Trainor was unavailable for the first three legs of the 2012-2013 series due to school commitments at Western University. The 23-year-old from Vancouver, BC has excelled for Canada at both 7s and 15s and helped Canada win gold at the Pan-American Games in Guadelejara, Mexico in 2011.
Saskatchewan’s Nanyak Dala will once again act as Canada’s captain. Nathan Hirayama and Sean Duke from the University of Victoria will both provide leadership in the upcoming legs and have been successful so far on the series.
Hirayama missed the Gold Coast event due to injuries, but returned in spectacular form to lead his side in defeating France and USA and drawing with Australia to sit atop Pool D after Day One. Although Canada narrowly lost to Wales in the Plate Final in Dubai, Hirayama led the tournament with 51 points in six games.
Duke’s speed and scoring ability has been a highlight in all three events thus far this season and he is currently tied for second in tries scored with 15 through three events. The dynamic duo of Duke and Hirayama notably sit in fifth and six positions in the season player point’s race with 75 and 74 points respectively.
Joining Duke and Hirayama will be Canadian stalwarts Harry Jones, Ciaran Hearn, Thyssen de Goede, John Moonlight, Phil Mack, and Jeff Hassler who each represented Canada in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
Hassler received a heel bone injury in South Africa and will be seeing an orthopedic specialist this week to confirm he is ready to compete. Canadian forward Chauncey O’Toole will not compete for Canada in the next two legs, as he is unavailable.
After last weekend’s training camp at Shawnigan Lake and the Centre of Excellence, head coach John, along with Kieran Crowley, had difficult decisions to make due to the depth of his athletes.
“All of our guys have worked hard at each of the events on the series and last weekend was a very physical training camp for our players,” said John at the Centre of Excellence in Langford. “This selection was the most difficult decision Kieran (Crowley) and I have ever had to make.”
“We have a great deal of depth in our roster and guys like Lucas Hammond and Justin Douglas who played incredibly well for us this season were unlucky to not be selected.”
Canada’s roster of players, including Taylor Paris and Conor Trainor who are flying into Victoria shortly, will train at the Centre of Excellence until the team departs for Wellington on January 24th.
After arriving in New Zealand on Saturday the 26th, Canada will train in Wellington until competing the following weekend on the 1st and 2nd of February.
Day One of the Wellington Sevens tournament will see Canada face Wales, South Africa and Samoa.
Canada’s Roster for Wellington and Las Vegas –(Club, CRC Team) Hometown
Tyler Ardron- (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
Nanyak Dala- (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK (captain)
Thyssen de Goede- (James Bay Athletic Association/BC Bears) Courtenay, BC
Sean Duke- (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Jeff Hassler- (James Bay Athletic Association/Prairie Wolf Pack) Okotoks, AB
Ciaran Hearn- (Castaway Wanders RFC/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay, NL
Nathan Hirayama- (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones- (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack- (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight- (James Bay Atheltic Association/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Taylor Paris- (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Barrie, ON
Conor Trainor- (Western University/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Head Coach: Geraint John
Assistant Coach: Kieran Crowley
Manager: Brian Hunter
Therapist: Isabel Grondin
February 1 - February 2, 2013
Canada v Wales 2:06pm local
Canada v South Africa 4:40pm local
Canada v Samoa 7:14pm local
Day 2: TBD
Las Vegas 7s
February 9 - February 10, 2013
Day 1: TBD
Day 2: TBD