John names Canada squad for Hong Kong Sevens
Canada Sevens head coach Geraint John has announced his 12-man squad for the next two legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Hong Kong and Japan on March 22-24 and March 30-31 respectively.
John's side go into round six of the Series in 10th place following successful campaigns in Wellington and Las Vegas where they won the Bowl and Plate titles, beating the likes of Fiji, South Africa and Kenya.
The top 12 core sides at the end of the Glasgow Sevens will remain for the 2013/14 Series, while the three lowest ranked core sides will compete in a core-team qualification tournament in London with Hong Kong and the four qualifiers from the Hong Kong Sevens.
The Hong Kong Sevens brings back good memories for Canada who qualified as a core team at the 2012 tournament and also won the Bowl title in 2010, and have welcomed back Justin Douglas and Chauncey O'Toole to the squad.
“In terms of selection we have been fortunate that we have a settled squad which have done well all season," said John.
"With nearly everyone available for selection we looked at all aspects before finalising the 12. Fitness, unit plays (line outs, scrum and restarts), contact element plus defensive and attacking capabilities and also speed."
Nanyak Dala will captain the side, and is joined by John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron and Harry Jones for both legs of the tour. Taylor Paris has been graciously released by his club and will play scrumhalf in Phil Mack's absence through injury.
“Mack suffered a double fracture of the ribs in Wellington and is still unable to do contact until the week of the Hong Kong tournament and we feel that it’s too risky to take him for these two tournaments,” added John.
“Ciaran Hearn, Jeff Hassler and Sean Duke are all OK with regards to their muscular injuries. Nate (Hirayama) is going to be seen on Friday because of his fractured thumb, but we’re hearing that his cast will come off on Friday and he will be 100% for us."
Canada will travel to Hong Kong on 14 March and will spend the following week preparing for the three-day event, which takes place on 22-24 March before traveling to Japan.
Following the pool draw for the tournament, Canada face pool matches against Spain, hosts Hong Kong, and Gold Coast Sevens champions Fiji.
Series qualifying explained: Hong Kong & London
From the end of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series, promotion and relegation from core team status comes into effect, with a pre-qualifying competition in Hong Kong (round 6) and a final core team qualifier in London (round 9).
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens will feature 28 teams and two competitions: In the first, the 15 current core teams and the winner of the HSBC Asian Sevens Series, Hong Kong, will compete for the famous Hong Kong title and World Series points. In the second, 12 regional teams - two from each of the six IRB regions - will compete for four places at the core team qualifying final in London.
The Marriott London Sevens will feature 20 teams and two competitions: In the first, the top 12-ranked sides in the HSBC Sevens World Series after round 8, the Emirates Airline Glasgow Sevens, will compete for the London title and final World Series points. In the second, the 13th-, 14th- and 15th-ranked core teams after the Glasgow event will compete against the four qualifiers from Hong Kong and Asian champions Hong Kong for the three available core team places on the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.