Canada 7s coach Geraint John has selected 15 players to compete in either one or both of the International Rugby Board Sevens tournaments in February.
12 players have been chosen by John and his coaching staff to prepare for, and travel to, New Zealand for the Wellington Sevens on February 3-4.
Lucas Hammond, Jeff Hassler and Clayton Meeres are the fresh faces in an already youthful squad heading to Wellington. 18-year-old Hammond featured in previous tournaments in Dubai and South Africa, while Meeres and Hassler are eagerly anticipating their first international forays.
John said, “Lucas remains for the Wellington leg after impressing both me and (senior national coach) Kieran Crowley in Dubai and South Africa. Two new players to the IRB series are Jeff and Clayton, who were part of the U20 squad last year and played well.”
Key players such as Sean Duke, Nathan Hirayama, John Moonlight, Ciaran Hearn, Sean White and Nanyak Dala will take the lengthy journey to the Southern Hemisphere and will also feature at the Las Vegas Sevens the following week.
Tyler Ardron, Taylor Paris and Conor Trainor, who represented Canada in the gold-medal run at the Pan American Games in November, return for the two-event swing.
John added, “With the second leg being in Vegas it allows me to see more players which again helps in the preparation for Hong Kong. It allows more players to put their names forward, which will give me a headache when it comes to selection for Hong Kong - a pleasant headache as we are increasing the player pool.”
Sean Ferguson comes back after his injury - he played in London and Edinburgh last season and will join the squad in Vegas, along with Conor Braid and Harry Jones.
Jones has been down in Australia and playing at Sunnybank (club side of Wallabies international Digby Ioane) and has only just arrived back in Canada. He featured in the South Africa Sevens in December when he came in as an injury replacement.
The first training session for the core group of players is taking place in Langford, Victoria, on January 18 and five further sessions will be held before departure for New Zealand on January 27.
The National Men's 7s team is proudly sponsored by Macquarie Financial in association with Trafigura Ltd.
Canadian squad for Wellington, Las Vegas:
Geraint John - Head coach
Kieran Crowley - Assistant coach
Brian Hunter - Manager
Isabel Grondin - Therapist
Players unavailable - Phil Mack (injured), Thyssen de Geode (injured), Mike Scholtz (injured), Lukas Balkovec (injured), Chauncey O’Toole (pro commitment), DTH van der Merwe (pro commitment), Adam Kleeberger (pro commitment), Phil Mackenzie (pro commitment) and Matt Evans (pro commitment).