LANGFORD, BC – Canada's Men's Sevens head coach Geraint John has made three changes to his squad that will compete in the upcoming Tokyo leg of the IRB World Series.
Returning to the side following almost a year out is former regular Chauncey O'Toole while Jake Webster and Sean White are the other tweaks to the 12 that performed strongly in progressing to the Cup stages in Las Vegas and Wellington.
The trio come in for Connor Braid, Phil Mack and Justin Douglas, with all three players unavailable for the Tokyo spectacle. Mack will however, return in time for the Hong Kong leg on March 28 when he should have shrugged off an injury.
"Chauncey's last tournament was in London in May 2013 before he took a sabbatical in order to gain qualifications in preparation for life after rugby which is something we support," said head coach John from their Langford training base.
"He contacted us in December, came back and has been training every single day. His figures have shown that he is now back to where he was in 2011 in terms of condition so that is really pleasing. He adds that X-factor to our forwards."
One new face to the circuit will be the aforementioned Webster, who coach John revealed has deserved his place following a long road back from injury.
"Jake broke his ankle last September after beginning centralization," he explained. "He is a real character and if you ask the squad who their favourite player is they would probably say Jake. He gives 100 percent on the field and in the gym and we are pleased he is joining us, but obviously disappointed for Phil (Mack), who pulled out."
Canada return to action after over a month's break in the Series but do so on the back of two impressive performances that saw them pick up 29 points. Despite those showings in the USA and New Zealand, coach John knows more is needed and is understandably delighted with the signs being shown in training.
"The key thing we have concentrated on has been conditioning, which has seen positives as we've had new records broken not only in the gym but also in our running," he explained before revealing they would mostly be preparing on home soil instead of travelling to Tokyo to acclimatize for action.
"We decided to stay in Canada and train on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday before departing on Monday to arrive Tuesday. On Wednesday we will have a relaxed run out when we'll go through our skills. Then on Thursday we are having a game against Japan before the light team run on the Friday. We're also doing a few adjustments from here in terms of training and sleeping times."
The wheels are clearly in motion then as Canada hopes to book Cup qualification for a third straight tournament on the IRB World Sevens Series, with New Zealand, Wales and Portugal standing in their path in the group stages when they run out at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on March 22.
All games from the Men's HSBC Sevens World Series are streamed LIVE at www.irbsevens.com!
Canada's Men's Tokyo Sevens
Canada v Portugal at 11:50 local time (10:50pm ET/07:50pm PT)
Canada v Wales at 15:08 local time (02:08am ET/11:08pm PT)
Canada v New Zealand at 19:20 local time (06:20am ET/03:20am PT)
Canada’s Roster for Wellington - (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
Nanyak Dala - (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Sean Duke – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Lucas Hammond - (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn - (Castaway Wanderers RFC/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama, Captain - (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones - (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
John Moonlight - (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Chauncey O’Toole – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Belleisle, NB
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Jake Webster – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Players Unavailable for Selection:
Connor Braid - (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Justin Douglas - (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Pat Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Geraint John – Head Coach
Morgan Williams – Assistant Coach
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager