Canada set for RWC Sevens qualifier at home

(IRB.COM) Thursday 23 August 2012  
 
 Canada set for RWC Sevens qualifier at home
Jeffrey Hassler was part of the Canada squad that qualified as a core team on the World Series in Hong Kong

Canada and USA will be favourites to secure the two qualification spots at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 up for grabs at the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens in Ottawa this weekend.

The two finalists at Twin Elm Rugby Park will qualify for RWC Sevens 2013 in the Russian capital Moscow on 28-30 June, swelling the number of teams confirmed to 18 with the Oceania qualifier also taking place this weekend in Sydney.

Canada will be hungry for success in the first international Sevens tournament held in the country, not only with RWC Sevens qualification in mind but also their preparations for the HSBC Sevens World Series after achieving core status for 2012/13.

They have named a squad packed with World Series experience with John Moonlight and Phil Mack returning to international rugby after long rehabilitations from serious injuries, and a new captain in Nanyak Dala.

USA, another core team on the World Series, have also named a strong team for the NACRA Sevens, but they will certainly not be underestimating the challenge of the Caribbean teams this weekend, particularly Guyana who have won the tournament for the last six years.

“The squad has trained well this week," said USA coach Alex Magleby. “We have a few new faces in Carlin Isles and Jack Halalilo and two other players are joining us from the Eagles Fifteens’ squad (Taylor Mokate and Luke Hume), plus some of our more established stars from the HSBC Sevens circuit.

“Now that Sevens is an Olympic sport, teams will have prepared well, and every game will be tough. We are looking forward to the competition. It will be another tough test for the team.”

Caribbean pride

USA will face Jamaica and St Vincent & The Grenadines in Pool A, while Canada tackle Mexico, Bermuda and Bahamas in Pool B and Guyana meet Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados in Pool C.

Even if Canada and USA are favourites to book their passage to Moscow, the battle to be top dog in the Caribbean is target many have set themselves, including Bahamas team manager Elystan Miles.

“It’s a tough draw in group B but this is a very talented team and we expect a lot from them. Most people look toward a Canada-USA final, but for us if we were able to come out on top among the Caribbean teams it would be a huge achievement for us,” said Miles.

Richard 'Grizz' Adams, director of rugby for the Cayman Islands, is confident the team can improve on their final appearance in 2011 having spent three weeks in camp and also seven months training at the Maples National Sevens Academy.

“In 2011, for the first time, we beat teams like Jamaica, Bermuda and Trinidad & Tobago and USA South and finished second in the region, losing the final to Guyana," explained Adams. 

“It was an unprecedented achievement for a Union that had never finished higher than seventh in the tournament. We were a little overwhelmed with our success last year in making the final and did not play well against Guyana.

“This year, every game we have played in Canada would compare to playing Guyana and many would be a at higher level, so our confidence is good going into Ottawa. We know that all the teams will have worked really  hard as this is a Rugby World Cup year."

Canada squad: Nanyak Dala, Sean White, Chauncey O'Toole, Conor Trainor, John Moonlight, Tyler Ardron, Jeff Hassler, Phil Mack, Ciaran Hearn, Harry Jones, Sean Duke, Connor Braid

USA squad: Colin Hawley, Zach Test, Mike Palefau, Shalom Suniula, Tai Enosa, Luke Hume, Make Unufe, Jack Halalilo, Taylor Mokate, Pete Tiberio, Rocco Mauer, Carlin Isles

NACRA MEN'S SEVENS

Day one - Saturday 25 August

09:00 - Canada v Bermuda
09:20 - Mexico v Bahamas
09:40 - Guyana v Trinidad & Tobago
11:20 - USA v Jamaica
11:50 - Canada v Bahamas
12:10 - Mexico v Bermuda
12:30 - Guyana v Barbados
12:50 - Cayman Islands v Trinidad & Tobago
14:10 - USA v St Vincent & The Grenadines
14:40 - Canada v Mexico
15:00 - Bermuda v Bahamas
15:20 - Guyana v Cayman Islands
15:40 - Trinidad & Tobago v Barbados
16:40 - Jamaica v St Vincent & The Grenadines

Day two - Sunday 26 August

10:00 - 3rd Pool A v 4th Pool B
10:20 - QF1 - 1st Pool A v 3rd Pool B
10:40 - QF2 - 2nd Pool B v 2nd Pool C
11:00 - QF3 - 1st Pool B v 3rd Pool C
11:20 - QF4 - 1st Pool C v 2nd Pool A
12:50 - Plate SF - Loser QF1 v Loser QF2
13:10 - 3rd Pool A v 4th Pool C
13:30 - Cup SF - Winner QF1 v Winner QF2
13:50 - Plate SF - Loser QF3 v Loser QF4
14:10 - Cup SF - Winner QF3 v Winner QF4
15:20 - 4th Pool B v 4th Pool C
15:40 - Bowl Final
16:00 - Plate Final
16:40 - Third place play-off
17:00 - Cup Final

The NACRA Sevens will also see five women's teams vying for a spot at the second Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens. Canada, as winners of the first IRB Women's Sevens Challenge Cup, will be favourites to secure that with the USA having qualified automatically as semi finalists from Dubai 2009.

CLICK HERE FOR PREVIEW OF WOMEN'S EVENT >>

Rugby Canada in partnership with Rogers TV Ottawa will be offering a local television broadcast – airing at 15:00 and 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday on local Rogers TV stations – as well as streaming all of the NACRA Sevens matches live on www.livestream.com/nacrarugby. (Matches will be geo-blocked in the Ontario region until the conclusion of the day two television broadcast).