January 20, 2014, LANGFORD, BC (ISN) – Maple Leafs head coach Morgan Williams has urged his young team to show senior potential when they run out for Las Vegas Sevens action next Thursday.
Canada are scheduled to face Belgium, Cayman Islands and a club team in their group, with Williams admitting the anticipation is growing in the squad.
Former international Williams, who won 56 caps for Canada during his playing career and splits coaching duties with Shane Thompson, was speaking ahead of his squad’s three-day tournament in Nevada.
“It’s always exciting before an event,” Williams said regarding the mood. “We have a young group of guys, some who have been with the programme and some who haven’t, but once we get together as a group the excitement levels will start to rise.”
Williams and Canada Sevens boss Geraint John named a squad that includes Maple Leafs veterans Adam Zaruba, Jorden Sandover-Best, Nathan Yanigiya, Jack Smith, Pat Kay, Clayton Meeres and Jake Webster. Youngsters Andrew Coe, Byron Boville, Dan Mathie and Kane Wyatt are set to make their Maple Leafs debut in Las Vegas.
Captaining the side will be Kay, who has experience on the HSBC Sevens World Series after making his debut on the Gold Coast earlier this season.
Final preparations ahead of next week will see The Maple Leafs iron out their home-field training on Friday and Sunday – with a session alongside Geraint John’s senior team also scheduled for Saturday – before Williams’ side depart on Monday. Mixing with Canada’s senior team will, according to Williams, continue to be imperative as the stepping stones of progress are firmly put into place.
“The goal of this tournament is to get guys into this sort of testing atmosphere so they’re not overwhelmed if they get called up to the senior team,” he added. “It is this type of avenue that will boost a player to national competition, so for a lot of the younger guys we want them to understand ‘this is what we want’.
“We are modeling The Maple Leafs on the national team on and off the field so that once they make that jump it is not a huge eye opener for the player.”
He added: “It’s a mixed competition (in Las Vegas) but I still feel the standards are going to be high. We are going there with the intention of blooding our players and getting them familiar with what an international competition is like.”
“Ultimately of course we are looking to win but that is not the be all and end all for this event as it is about launching our guys to the next level.”
Canada’s Men’s Maple Leafs Sevens games will not be streamed live; however, regular updates will be provided at www.rugbycanada.ca and make sure to follow Rugby Canada on Social Media for up-to-the-minute information.
Men’s Maple Leafs Roster for Las Vegas – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
- Byron Boville – (Guelph University) Barrie, ON
- Andrew Coe – (Markham Irish) Markham, ON
- Pat Kay – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
- Dan Mathie – (Oakville Crusaders) Oakville, ON
- Clayton Meeres – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Chilliwack, BC
- Jordan Sandover-Best – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
- Jack Smith – (James Bay AA/Peterborough RFC) Peterborough, ON
- Nathan Yanagiya – (UVIC Vikes/Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
- Jake Webster – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
- Kane Wyatt – (UVIC Vikes) Victoria, BC
- Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Men’s Maple Leafs Team Staff:
- Morgan Williams – Head Coach
- Jessica Smith – Athletic Therapist
- Abby Golenzoski – Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Todd Silverthorn – Team Manager