LANGFORD — Canada’s men’s sevens head coach Damian McGrath has named a 13-man squad for the next two stops of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Wellington and Sydney and three Vikes are in the mix.
Former Vike Nathan Hirayama joins Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Harry Jones, Caleb Jordan, Pat Kay, Karsten Leitner, John Moonlight, Luke McCloskey, Matt Mullins and Adam Zaruba as returnees.
“It’s huge to go to those two tournaments – two really great sold out tournaments,” said Vikes head coach Doug Tate. “I think [Isaac] has the capabilities to play at that level, he just has to play within his ability level. He’s worked really hard on and off the field and he’s actually quite a versatile player. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts to playing at that speed and level.”
In Wellington, Canada has been drawn into Pool D with Wales, Scotland and Russia. Canada is 1-0 against Russia this season while they lost their lone game against Wales. Canada has yet to play Scotland. Canada is 11-16 all-time against Scotland, while they are 13-30-1 against Wales. Canada has won 16 of their 24 meetings with Russia.
Canada is coming off of a 13th place finish in Cape Town and currently sit 13th in the 2016-17 season standings.
Through two events, Pat Kay leads Canada in scoring with 52 points while Justin Douglas has a team high seven tries. Hirayama has the opportunity to become just the second player to record 900 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series points for Canada as he currently sits on 895. Harry Jones is five points away from becoming the fifth Canadian to score 500 points.
“He’ll get there,” said Tate of Hirayama chasing 900 points. “He’s a very, very skilled player and he’s always been skilled since high school. He’s played a long time and that’s a great accomplishment for him. He’s such a great passer of the ball and makes things happen, people just have to play off his skill with the ball.”
Due to the time difference, the tournament runs January 27-28 in Canada and can be seen LIVE at www.worldrugby.org
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Squad for Wellington and Sydney (Name, club, hometown – Vikes bolded):
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (UVIC Vikes) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – captain, Sydney (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – Captain, Wellington (Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
Caleb Jordan – (Montreal Wanderers) Montreal, QC
Isaac Kaay – (UVic Vikes) Kamloops, BC
Pat Kay – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
Karsten Leitner – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Luke McCloskey – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Matt Mullins – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Belleville, ON
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable for Selection:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Head Coach – Damian McGrath
Assistant Coach – Lee Douglas
Physiotherapist – Danielle Mah
Analyst – Calum Ramsay
Manager – Brian Hunter
Canada’s Wellington Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada vs. Scotland — 5:23pm ET/2:23pm PT
Canada vs. Wales — 8:24pm ET/5:24pm PT
Canada vs. Russia — 12am ET/9pm PT