January 20, 2014, LANGFORD, BC (ISN) – Canada Sevens head coach Geraint John has announced his roster for next weekend’s USA Sevens Tournament at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Next weekend’s event in Sin City is commonly referred to as Canada’s “home event” as it’s the closest HSBC Sevens World Series stop to Canada and thousands of parents, friends and fans embark yearly on the tournament to cheer on Canada’s Men’s and Women’s sides.
Through the first three events of the season John’s side sits 13th in series points with 14 after narrowly missing the Gold Coast Cup Round due to points-for and points-against and failing to make the top-eight in Dubai and South Africa.
Canada Sevens stalwarts Nanyak Dala, Justin Douglas, Harry Jones, Phil Mack, Conor Trainor, John Moonlight will lead John’s team against three difficult opponents in Pool A in South Africa, Kenya and Wales. Sean Ferguson, Duncan Maguire, Connor Braid and Mike Scholz have made appearances this year for Canada and will return for next weekend’s fourth stop on the series.
Captaining the side in Las Vegas will be Pickering, Ontario’s Moonlight while Nathan Hirayama remains sidelined with injury.
Receiving his first cap for Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team on the HSBC Sevens World Series is Alliston, Ontario’s Jordan Wilson-Ross. Wilson-Ross is a member of the three-time defending Ontario Blues and featured on the Maple Leafs Development Team in 2013 during the World Games, NACRA and Victoria Sevens event. The announcement also lands on Wilson-Ross’ birthday.
Victoria’s Sean White, who has 24 appearances for Canada’s fifteen-a-side team, returns to the Sevens game for the first time since 2012. Like Wilson-Ross, White was a member of the Maple Leafs Team that won the Victoria International Sevens in 2013.
Despite a number of John’s players sidelined due to injuries – including prolific scorers Hirayama and Sean Duke – Canada’s coach is confident in his selection.
“We can’t hide the fact Duke and Hirayama were in the top three last year and Hearn has been renowned for his re-starts, but there’s circumstances that have happened and we have to move on as a team,” said John from the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence in Langford.
The silver-lining of an injury-stricken team is that it allows other players an opportunity to rise to the occasion.
“Yes we have a few injuries right now, but it creates an opportunity for the next group of players to gain experience on the circuit and we have a Maple Leafs Team also in Las Vegas, who are all young players looking to develop towards the national team,” added John.
“They have to show me and the other coaches that they can compete and can be regulars on the circuit.”
Canada has landed in Pool A against three difficult opponents in South Africa, Kenya and Wales, who hold the second, seventh and ninth positions in the circuit thus far. Along with being incredible skilled, Canada’s pool opponents also bring a level of physicality unmatched by most teams on the circuit.
“We know it’s going to be a physical challenge in Las Vegas because South Africa, Kenya and Wales are probably the three most physical teams on the circuit. I think the players that are in the team are physically strong,” said John.
“The key is for our players is to perform in Vegas like they have been in training and show what they’re capable of, especially those who haven’t had regular game time on the circuit.”
Canada will continue its training Saturday and Sunday at the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence in Langford with the Canada Maple Leafs Team before departing for Nevada on Sunday. The team will train on Tuesday and have a run out against Scotland on Wednesday before Friday’s opener against Kenya.
All games from the HSBC Sevens World Series stop in Las Vegas will be streamed LIVE at www.irbsevens.com. Make sure to follow Rugby Canada on Social Media for up-to-the-minute information.
Canada’s Men’s Las Vegas Sevens
- Canada vs. Kenya at 4:22pm local time (1:22pm ET/4:22 PT)
- Canada vs. South Africa 6:56 local time (3:56 ET/6:56 PT)
- Canada vs. Wales at 12:00pm local time (9:00am ET/12:00pm PT)
Canada’s Roster for Las Vegas – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
- Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
- Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
- Sean Ferguson – (UBC Thunderbird/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
- Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Duncan Maguire – (St. Albert Rugby Club/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
- John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
- Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
- Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Jordan Wilson-Ross – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Alliston, ON
Players Unavailable due to injury:
- Sean Duke – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
- Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
- Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
- Nathan Hirayama – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
- Adam Kleeberger – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/BC Bears) White Rock, BC
- Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/The Rock) St. Johns, NL
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
- Geraint John – Head Coach
- Kieran Crowley – Assistant Coach
- Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
- Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
- Brian Hunter – Manager