September 24, 2013, Langford, BC (ISN) – Canada’s Men’s Sevens head coach Geraint John has announced his 12-man roster for the first leg of the 2013-2014 IRB Sevens World Series in Australia on October 12-13.
The announcement comes ahead of an incredibly busy schedule for Canada’s Men’s Program, with games in the IRB Americas Rugby Championship, Gold Coast Sevens, New Zealand Maori Blacks Game, November Tests against Georgia, Romania and Portugal and Rounds Two and Three of the Sevens World Series in Dubai and South Africa scheduled for the next two months.
Captaining the side will be Nathan Hirayama, who finished third in last season’s points scoring race with 241 points behind only Fiji’s Joji Baleviani Raqamate (247) and England’s Dan Norton (264) despite missing the first event due to surgery. Hirayama captained Canada during the Rugby World Cup Sevens this June, leading the side to a Plate Championship.
Returning to the roster will be last season’s stalwarts, Nanyak Dala, John Moonlight, Hirayama, Ciaran Hearn, Lucas Hammond, Justin Douglas, Harry Jones and Mike Fuailefau, who returned to competitive rugby this past weekend with a Canadian Rugby Championship win over the Wolf Pack.
For Hammond, Douglas and Fuailefau, it will be just their second season on the circuit. Both Douglas and Hammond played well in the World Games, Victoria Sevens and the Junior World Rugby Trophy.
Returning to Canada Sevens duty will be Connor Braid, who spent the first half of last season with the Doncaster Knights in England, and Sean Ferguson, who appeared for Canada in 2011-2012. Ferguson played well in CRC competition, which is a key part of the selection criteria, scoring three tries this past weekend in Edmonton.
While the core of announced players have significant experience within the side, there are a total of 11 players currently unavailable for national team contention at the moment for a variety of reasons.
The trio of Tyler Ardron, Jeff Hassler and Phil Mack (temporarily) are suiting up for the Ospreys in Wales, and therefore unavailable for National Team duties. Taylor Paris is also plying his trade with Agen in France this season.
Veteran players Chauncey O’Toole and Thyssen de Goode are unavailable due to personal commitments.
Speedster Sean Duke – who finished third in last season’s try-scoring race with 35 tallies – recently underwent shoulder surgery, while up-and-coming winger Jake Webster is also sidelined due to a leg injury.
Conor Trainor, Mike Scholz and Adam Kleeberger have all previously competed for Canada on the World Series, but have not been selected due to various injuries.
“Conor, Mike and Adam are all recovering from knocks and we feel they’re not quite game-ready,” said John. “However, we’re hoping they will be available to return for the Americas Rugby Championship at some point in October.”
“Having a large number of players unavailable for selection allows for a deeper roster and more opportunities for our younger players,” said John.
“It also allows us an opportunity to create more depth in the case of injuries and gives the coaching staff some freedom in fielding the best possible squad while ensuring no one is over worked beyond their limits.”
Making their first appearances on the World Series Circuit will be Pat Parfrey and Pat Kay, who grew up on opposite sides of the country in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Duncan, British Columbia respectively.
“Pat (Kay) had a great tournament at the Junior World Rugby Trophy as captain of the U20 side, and also played well in the Victoria Sevens, World Games and University Sevens, where he won Man of the Tournament,” said John from the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence in Langford.
“Pat Parfrey is relatively new to the game of Rugby Sevens, but competed well in this summer’s Pacific Nations Cup, Victoria Sevens and with The Rock of the Canadian Rugby Championship.”
Canada will depart for the Gold Coast of Australia on October 4th and will face Fiji, Wales and Portugal in Pool C on Day One.
Canada’s Roster for Gold Coast Sevens – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Ferguson – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama, Captain – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Pat Kay – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/The Rock) St. Johns, NL
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Geraint John – Head Coach
Isabel Grondin – Therapist
Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager