Canada reveal hand for GC Sevens
Canada head coach Geraint John has revealed his 12-man squad to take part in the first round of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
The Gold Coast Sevens - Fever Pitch, the first of nine rounds on the Series, marks an historic occasion for the Canucks as their first tournament as a core team.
Along with Portugal and Spain, Canada join last year's 12 core teams to take the number up to 15, having qualified at the 2012 Hong Kong Sevens.
Selection for John was tough, however, with Kieran Crowley present at the recent training camp to look ahead to the upcoming Americas Rugby Championship.
Eighteen-year-old Justin Douglas makes his first senior squad appearance, fellow teenager Lucas Hammond, who featured last season at the Dubai, South Africa and Wellington Sevens, is back and there is also a return from injury for the experienced Thyssen de Goede.
Mike Fuailefau has been rewarded for his good form during the recent IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy, and Sean Duke, Phil Mack, Chauncey O'Toole, Harry Jones, John Moonlight, Ciaran Hearn, Jeff Hassler and Nanyak Dala, who will captain Canada, complete the squad.
"There were many other players who performed well at both camps which made selection difficult," revealed John.
Competing against world's best
"We have a busy schedule this October and November with not only Sevens competitions taking place but also the Americas Rugby Championship and then November Tests against Samoa, Russia and NZ Maori. Therefore myself and Kieran Crowley have worked together very closely in terms of selection."
Canada have been drawn in the same pool as defending Series champions New Zealand, 2008/09 Series champions South Africa and local rivals USA but enter on the back of a triumphant NACRA final win over the USA which also saw them qualify for next year's Rugby World Cup Sevens.
"Yes, we will face the number one side in the world and also South Africa, who have both won many competitions and are excellently coached," added John.
"However this is what everyone works hard for - to play against the best teams in the world and it's why we enter these competitions.
"USA are also a very difficult team with great athletes under the guidance of their new coach Alex Magleby. There's no easy games in the Series.
"This is the start of everyone's goal to get to Rio and we are no different to any other team. We want to get there and have to make sure we are prepared. Having three guys under the age of 20 in our squad shows also what we are doing - we need to keep developing these excellent young players we have in this country."
Canada Sevens squad: Mike Fuailefau, Thyssen de Goede, Nanyak Dala, John Moonlight, Justin Douglas, Sean Duke, Phil Mack, Jeff Hassler, Harry Jones, Ciaran Hearn, Lucas Hammond, Chauncey O’Toole