January 11, 2014 (ISN) – After a welcome period of recovery and recuperation, Canada’s Men’s squad are back in camp ahead of the Las Vegas Sevens tournament on January 24-26.
The new year sees the continuation of the 2013/14 HSBC IRB World Sevens Series, with the fourth leg of the season being the closest to home for the group after their end-of-year travels to the Gold Coast, Dubai and most recently Port Elizabeth.
It promises to be a captivating five months until the Twickenham finale, one Canada will want to attain solid points in following a much-needed festive break. Currently the squad occupies thirteenth position, sitting above the USA, Spain and Russia.
“I think the players that went away during November and December (with both the Fifteens and Sevens squads) needed this recent break away from the coaching staff and from being in a supervised training environment,” revealed head coach Geraint John from the team’s pre-tournament training camp at the Fortius Centre, Burnaby.
“They certainly look refreshed and I must admit having a large group around the players helps. There is a sense of excitement, which has been pleasing to see.”
John explained that there are over 30 players at training – that includes both fit and injured players – which will be beneficial as Canada will boast two competing teams in Las Vegas, with The Maple Leafs also playing in a separate invitational event.
That togetherness is something John is keen to maximize and he said that while hard work and fitness tests have been addressed, they’ve also had some fun.
“Tonight (Monday evening) we played basketball which was very competitive!” he emphasized. “We also went through our culture – what we are about, what we need to do and how do we get there – which was led by sport psychologist, Bruce Pinel.”
Such off-field work will hopefully benefit the team’s showing at a tournament where Canada enjoyed success at last term, finishing up as Plate winners after beating the hosts in the semis before ousting Scotland in the final. And with the added support of local followers being at the venue, John is hopeful that will give his men a lift.
“We will see if it helps,” he said. “It is good to know that we are not travelling far and that there will be many friends, family and Canadian supporters at the event. This gives the players an extra edge and we want the fans to be vocal in support.”
Due to a handful of injuries, Canada will not announce its squad for the Las Vegas tournament until next week so the seven-day camp remains an excellent platform for many of the younger players to impress John and also The Maple Leaf’s head coach, Morgan Williams, as the Senior Men’s squad looks to start 2014 in style.
Fixtures for Las Vegas Sevens – January 24-26
Canada vs Kenya at 16:22 local time
Canada vs South Africa at 18:56 local time
Canada vs Wales at 12:00 local time