Adam Zaruba returns to Damian McGrath’s side as Canada heads into the penultimate tournament of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season.
Zaruba replaces Josiah Morra in McGrath’s 13-man team as Canada returns to the field after their triumphant victory in Singapore last month.
“It’s always difficult to back up after success,” McGrath said. “I have been impressed with how it’s affected the squad in a positive way. There is much more belief and determination around. We are there to be shot at, by all the teams and it is making sure that we are not overly confident.
“We were delighted by our success but understand that we are fighting to establish ourselves as a top eight team on a regular basis before we can compete for the cup consistently. The pressure of being defending champions will only really hit when we arrive in Paris, as I’m sure we will have much more media focus upon us.”
Canada claimed its first ever cup title after a thrilling 26-19 win over the USA, ending a 140 tournament draught. In Singapore, Canada outscored their opponents 138-88.
Luke Bradley, Jared Douglas, Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Isaac Kaay, Pat Kay, Luke McCloskey, John Moonlight and Matt Mullins join Zaruba in Paris as Canada seeks its sixth cup quarterfinal appearance of the season. Hirayama will captain the side.
Canada has been drawn into Pool A where they will face South Africa, Scotland and Japan. Canada is 0-4 against South Africa this season but is 2-1 against Scotland. Canada lost its only match-up with Japan in Sydney.
“We have a tough pool again as there are no easy games on the World Series,” McGrath said. “Japan are fighting for their place and Scotland will be looking to get back the form that made them potential title challengers before Xmas. South Africa has been the stand out team even with key players missing through injury. We have had varying degrees of success against them without being able to sustain it through a full game. Our challenge is to match them in all areas of the game.”
Last year, McGrath won his first ever cup title as a head coach in Paris as he guided Samoa to a 29-26 win over Fiji.
With two more tries, Moonlight will become just the third Canadian to register 100 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series career tries. He is also poised to become just the sixth Canadian to score 500 series points. Fuailefau is 10 points from becoming the 16th Canadian to score 200 series points.
Canada is currently ranked seventh in the season standings with 76 points and are 22-21-2 this season.
The Paris Sevens takes places May 13-14 and can be seen LIVE on www.worldrugby.org
Canada’s Paris Sevens Team (Name, club, hometown):
Luke Bradley – (UVic Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep) Port Alberni, BC
Jared Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (UVIC Vikes) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
Isaac Kaay – (UVic Vikes) Kamloops, BC
Pat Kay – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
Luke McCloskey – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Matt Mullins – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Belleville, ON
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable for Selection:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Head Coach – Damian McGrath
Assistant Coach – Lee Douglas
Physiotherapist – Danielle Mah
Analyst – Calum Ramsay
Manager – Brian Hunter
Strength & Conditioning — Gareth Lynch
Canada’s Paris Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada vs. Japan — 5:50am ET/2:50am PT
Canada vs. Scotland — 9:16am ET/6:16am PT
Canada vs. South Africa — 12:42pm ET/9:42pm PT