Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team roster has been named by Head Coach Henry Paul for the first stop of the 2023 HSBC World Rugby Seven Series in Hong Kong.
Taking place from November 4-6, the Hong Kong event is one of the most iconic events for rugby sevens and returns to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series calendar after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament will welcome the best 16 men’s sevens teams in the world playing in front of more than 34,000 local fans.
Canada’s roster includes the Olympian pairing of Jake Thiel and captain Phil Berna. Between the two, Thiel and Berna have a amount of experience playing on the international sevens stage and will be a vital part of Paul’s roster for the series in 2022-23. The rest of Canada’s roster is rounded out by returning players from the 2021 and 2022 sevens program who completed their first full season on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series last year. Returnees include their top three try scorers from 2022 Alex Russell, Josiah Morra and Brock Webster.
“The team and I are very excited to begin competing again and it’s fantastic that the 2022-2023 World Series kicks off in Hong Kong” said Paul, a winner with England as a player in Hong Kong on three occasions. “Last season, as a group we felt that we weren’t as sharp in our game management around the opportunities we created, it’s definitely an area we’re looking to improve upon. There is plenty of growth and development still to come within our squad which only formed in the last year and a half after the Tokyo Olympics. Our squad have been diligent in their preparation in one of the shortest off-seasons we’ve experienced. We know how tough our oppositions will be in pool play and we respect them immensely. We can’t wait to get out on the pitch and play our hearts out for Canada.”
Kal Sager, the only new player on the roster for Hong Kong, joins the squad from Rugby Canada’s Pacific Pride program and competed with the BC Men’s 7s team at the Rugby Town 7s competition in Denver last August. Sager, from Peterborough, Ontario, spent time playing with his home club the Peterborough Pagans before moving on to play at Trent University. Canada is
scheduled to face Argentina, Ireland and Kenya during pool play which begins Friday November 4 at 12:40 a.m. PT / 3:40 a.m. ET. Canada’s first game against Argentina will kick off at 1:04 a.m. PT / 4:04 a.m. ET.
CANADA’S MEN’S SEVENS RUGBY WORLD CUP SEVENS ROSTER
1. Anton Ngongo (Victoria, BC) – Castaway Wanderers
2. Jake Thiel (Victoria, BC) – James Bay AA
3. D’Shawn Bowen (Toronto, ON) – Pacific Pride
4. Phil Berna (Vancouver, BC) – Vancouver Rowing Club
5. Alex Russell (Chichester, ENG) – McGill University
6. Josiah Morra (Toronto, ON) – Castaway Wanderers / Toronto Saracens
7. Brock Webster (Uxbridge, ON) – Oshawa Vikings RFC
8. Elias Ergas (Vancouver, BC) – University of British Columbia
9. David Richard (Milton, ON) – Mississauga Blues RFC
10. Matthew Oworu (Calgary, AB) – Pacific Pride
11. Thomas Isherwood (Okotoks, AB) – Foothills Lions RFC
12. Kal Sager (Peterborough, ON) – Peterborough Pagans / Trent University
13. Lachlan Kratz (Victoria, BC) – Castaway Wanderers / NOLA Gold