LANGFORD, BC – Canada Men’s Sevens Team’s head coach Liam Middletown has selected his squad for this weekend’s crucial NACRA Sevens Olympic qualifying tournament.
Middletown has named a 14-man squad for the tournament, where the winners will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. After training with the squad over the course of the last week, Ospreys duo Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron are selected, as is Agen winger Taylor Paris.
There is also a return to the squad for Phil Mack after a long injury layoff.
“Tyler, Jeff and Taylor join us from the club season in Europe, all of them have played sevens for Canada previously and they bring different elements to our game,” Middleton said. “We also see the return of Phil who adds a lot of playmaking ability to our side.”
The team is captained by John Moonlight, while Connor Braid, Mike Fuailefau, Adam Zaruba, Harry Jones, Nathan Hirayama, Conor Trainor and Sean Duke all keep their places after appearing in the London Sevens, the final event of the 2014-15 HSBC Men’s Sevens Series.
Justin Douglas is recalled to the line-up, as is Ciaran Hearn, both of whom had missed recent tournaments due to injury. However, there is no place for Pat Kay, Sean White, Admir Cejvanovic or Matt Evans, who all appeared in London.
Canada was drawn into Pool B where they will face Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
“There is a positive and confident vibe in the group, competition for places has been intense and everyone is focused on getting the right result,” Middleton said. “There is no change in our preparation.
“We are as detailed and meticulous as we would be for a World Series event, however there is an added level of determination and focus to achieve this big result.”
Canada are coming off of a ninth place finish in the 2014-15 HSBC Men’s Sevens Series, however, the team reached the cup quarter-finals in four of the last five events, including a semi-final appearance at the Tokyo Sevens after Canada knocked off New Zealand in the quarters.
“We will focus on doing what we are good at and what we have done well in games so far this year,” Middleton said. “We know what we need to do to win and it’s about executing that.”
The entire tournament will be streamed at www.usarugby.org!
Canada’s Roster for NACRA Sevens – (Club), Hometown, Province
Tyler Ardron – (Ospreys) Lakefield, ON
Connor Braid – (London Scottish/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Duke – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Jeff Hassler – (Ospreys) Calgary, AB
Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Taylor Paris – (Agen) Barrie, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Liam Middleton – Head Coach
Kieran Crowley – Assistant Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Gareth Lynch – Strength and Conditioning Coach
NACRA Sevens Schedule:
Saturday, June 13
Canada vs. Bahamas – 1:44 pm ET / 10:44 am PT
Canada vs. Trinidad and Tobago – 4:06 pm ET / 1:06 pm PT
Canada vs. Guyana – 6:28 pm ET / 3:28pm PT
Sunday, June 14
Canada vs. Cayman Islands – 9:22am ET / 6:22am PT