Pool D: Canada retain core group for Oceania legs
Canada coach Damian McGrath announces 13-player roster for third and fourth rounds of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in New Zealand and Australia.
Canada coach Damian McGrath has retained 11 of the squad that finished 13th at both the Dubai and Cape Town Sevens as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series heads to Oceania.
Lucas Hammond returns to the fold and there is a first senior call-up for Isaac Kay in the absence of Phil Berna and Liam Underwood, otherwise Canada are unchanged from the opening two tournaments of the series for the next two rounds, in Wellington (28-29 January) and Sydney (4-5 February).
John Moonlight has, however, relinquished the captain’s armband, with Harry Jones taking on the role for the next tournament in Wellington, while Nathan Hirayama has the responsibility in Sydney.
“As John has been unable to train with the team due to course commitments, the team will be captained in New Zealand by Harry Jones and in Australia by Nate Hirayama,” McGrath explained. “Moonlight will join up with the squad in Wellington and be available for both legs.
“It’s important to have your leaders around in practice as well as games so it’s great having Nate and Harry to lead the team and they’re just sharing the load so John doesn’t have to worry and he can focus on just playing.”
Referring to the two squad changes, McGrath said: “Lucas has proven himself on the series before and he’s a great boost to the squad.
“Isaac has impressed me in training, he’s a big physical unit and he will bring that hard edge to some of our forward play.”
In Wellington, Canada have been drawn into Pool D with Wales, Scotland and Russia.
“I have a sneaky feeling we could beat either Wales or Scotland and grab a quarter-final place and I think based on our performances not just this year, but the past 12 months, that’s something we deserve,” McGrath said.
Canada squad:Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Caleb Jordan, Isaac Kaay, Pat Kay, Karsten Leitner, Luke McCloskey, John Moonlight, Matt Mullins, Adam Zaruba.
Photo: Ian Muir