Canada head coach Geraint John has announced his 12-man roster for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Japan on March 22-24 and March 30-31.
Canada is coming off two successful campaigns in Wellington, New Zealand and Las Vegas, USA where they won the Bowl and Plate Championships respectively. Throughout those two tournaments Canada made a statement to the rugby world that they can compete against and beat the top nations in the world including Fiji, South Africa, Scotland and Kenya.
Canada currently sits in 10th position after the first five events in the Gold Coast, Dubai, Port Elizabeth, Wellington and Las Vegas. The top 12 teams at the end of the circuit in London will automatically qualify for next year. The next four events are crucial for Canada as only 11 points separate Wales (44) in eighth position and Scotland in 12th (33) with Canada in between with 39 points.
The roster shows two changes from the 12 that did so well in Las Vegas with Justin Douglas and Chauncey O’Toole both returning to the squad. O’Toole returns having been unavailable for the last 2 legs and replaces Thyssen de Goede while Douglas replaces Lucas Hammond.
John said: “This was a very difficult decision as both players had performed well in Wellington and Vegas.
“In terms of selection we have been fortunate that we have a settled squad which have done well all season. With nearly everyone available for selection we looked at all aspects before finalizing the 12 – fitness, unit plays (line outs, scrum and restarts), contact element plus defensive and attacking capabilities and also speed,” said John from Langford.
Team skipper, Nanyak Dala, will join stalwarts John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron, Harry Jones for both legs of the tour. Taylor Paris has been graciously released by the Glasgow Warriors and will slide into the scrumhalf position, as Phil Mack is unavailable due to injury.
“Mack suffered a double fracture of the ribs in Wellington and is still unable to do contact until the week of the Hong Kong tournament and we feel that it’s too risky to take him for these 2 tournaments,” said John.
“Ciaran Hearn, Jeff Hassler and Sean Duke are all OK with regards to their muscular injuries. Nate (Hirayama) is going to be seen on Friday because of his fractured thumb, but we’re hearing that his cast will come off on Friday and he will be 100% for us,” said John.
“Again selection was difficult with many players putting their names forward especially after the weekend at the University Sevens. This shows that we have depth and also a bright future. However it was felt that the players who have played so far and brought success this series deserve to be re selected”.
Each year Hong Kong Stadium steadily fills its 40,000-seat capacity, proving to be the biggest event and one of the most popular on the nine-event circuit. Sevens fans will remember the success Canada’s men have seen in recent years in Hong Kong; in 2012 Canada officially qualified for core status for this year after winning the qualifier tournament 22-5 over Spain and in 2011 and 2010 we won the Bowl Championship with 33-12 and 35-19 victories over Japan and Wales respectively.
Canada will travel to Hong Kong on March 14 and will spend the following week preparing for the three-day event, which kicks off on Friday March 22nd. After Hong Kong Canada will fly on March 25th to Tokyo Japan.
Following the HSBC Sevens World Series is the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow, Russia June 28-30 and is competed for on a four-year cycle. The official World Cup Pool Allocation Draw took place last week and placed Canada in Pool D with New Zealand, USA and Georgia.
Hong Kong Sevens
March 22 - March 24, 2013
Canada vs. Spain – 8:10pm local time
Canada vs. Hong Kong – 12:40pm local time
Canada vs. Fiji – 6:54pm local time
March 30 - March 31, 2013
Canada’s Roster for Hong Kong and Japan - (Club, CRC Team) Hometown
Tyler Ardron - (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Lakefield, ON
Nanyak Dala - (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK (captain)
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, 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
John Moonlight - (James Bay Athletic Association/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Chauncey O’Toole – (Brigend Ravens/Atlantic Rock) Belleisle, NB
Taylor Paris - (Glasgow Warriors/Ontario Blues) Barrie, ON
Conor Trainor – Hong Kong Only (Western University/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Added for Tokyo / Japan:
Thyssen de Goede – Japan Only (James Bay Athletic Association/BC Bears) Courtenay, BC
Head Coach: Geraint John
Assistant Coach: Kieran Crowley
Manager: Brian Hunter
Therapist: Isabel Grondin