LANGFORD, B.C. â€” Harry Jones and Nathan Hirayama will take turns serving as captain when Canada travels to New Zealand and Australia for stops on the World Rugby Sevens Series.
Head coach Damian McGrath announced his 13-man roster Tuesday for the third and fourth legs in the series. Jones will captain the squad at the third stop Jan. 28-29 in Wellington and Hirayama will lead the Canadians Feb. 4-5 in Sydney.
Regular team captain John Moonlight will be available for both legs, but has been unable to train with the team due to other commitments.
“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,” McGrath said in a release.
Isaac Kaay will make is senior debut, while Lucas Hammond also returns to the fold.
“Lucas has proven himself on the series before and he’s a great boost to the squad,” McGrath said. “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. It’s disappointing to lose Liam and Phil but we haven’t loss anything with these additions.”
In Wellington, Canada has been drawn into Pool D with Wales, Scotland and Russia. Canada is 1-0 against Russia this season while they lost their lone game against Wales. Canada has yet to play Scotland. Canada is 11-16 all-time against Scotland, while they are 13-30-1 against Wales. Canada has won 16 of their 24 meetings with Russia.
“I have a sneaky feeling we could beat either Wales or Scotland and grab a quarter-final place and I think our performances not just this year, but the past 12 months, that’s something we deserve,” McGrath said.
Canada is coming off of a 13th place finish in Cape Town and currently sit 13th in the 2016-17 season standings.
Canada: Justin Douglas, Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears, Abbotsford, B.C.; Mike Fuailefau, Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears, Victoria; Lucas Hammond, UVIC Vikes, Toronto; Nathan Hirayama, UVic Vikes/BC Bears, Richmond, B.C.; Harry Jones, Capilano RFC, Vancouver; Caleb Jordan, Montreal Wanderers, Montreal; Isaac Kaay, UVic Vikes, Kamloops, B.C.; Pat Kay, Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears, Duncan, B.C.; Karsten Leitner – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver; Luke McCloskey, Castaway Wanderers, Victoria; John Moonlight, James Bay AA/Ontario Blues, Pickering, Ont.; Matt Mullins, Queen’s University/Ontario Blues, Belleville, Ont.; Adam Zaruba, Capilano RFC/BC Bears, Vancouver.
The Canadian Press