Monday, October 24, 2011
Pan American Games Rugby Sevens - Preview Canada
The USA have come out talking loud as the official site of USA rugby http://www.usarugby.org/ has declared that the USA Eagles are targetting the Gold Medal at Guadalajara. It is ambitious but certainly not far-fetched but the favorites are Argentina who have dominated all forms of mens rugby in the Americas in recent history. The two countries are considered likely contenders for Gold and thus probable opponents in the final. Such suggestions are highly misleading however, as Canada have selected a very strong squad for the Pan American Games and look like being serious contenders for the Gold Medal. Canada are on the tough side of the draw as they are to go up against Brazil, Chile and the USA in pool play. In order to have a realistic change of winning Gold the Canada vs USA match is paramount as the runner-up is likely to face Argentina at the Semi Final stage with the winner likely to have an easier route with a probable match against Uruguay.
Canada´s involvement in the Pan American Games comes at a near perfect time as the Canada has only recentlty returned from Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand in which Canada impressed with a win vs Tonga and a draw vs Japan. A number of players who featured in Canada´s Rugby World Cup campaign have been included in the squad to play in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Twelve-man Canadian squad features seven players who competed at New Zealand 2011 but one has had to withdraw with Adam Kleeberger missing out. But another Canadian World Cup player who was not initially selected has earned a late call up with Sean White a late change to the squad. Conor Trainor who scored two tries vs the All Blacks in the New Zealand vs Canada Pool A match in Wellington is in the squad as is backrower Nanyak Dala, wingers Ciaran Hearn and Taylor Paris, flyhalf Nathan Hirayama, fullback Matt Evans and centre Mike Scholz. Other notable players in the Canadian squad are Sean Duke who was a surprize exclusion from Canada´s World Cup squad and Phil Mack who is the leading points scorer for Canada in IRB Rugby Sevens fixtures.
Canada´s impressive roster is more than capable of winning Gold and this certainly should be the teams objective. In four years time, the 2015 Pan American Games are to be hosted by Canada in the country´s largest city, Toronto. Canada therefore have extra motivation ahead of the event on home soil in four years time.
Tyler Ardron (Peterborough, ON) (Ontario Blues)
Nanyak Dala (Saskatoon, SK) (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Sean Duke (Vancouver, BC) (British Columbia)
Matt Evans (Duncan, BC) (Unattached)
Ciaran Hearn (Conception Bay, NFLD) (The Rock)
Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, BC) (British Columbia)
Phil Mack (Victoria, BC) (The Rock)
John Moonlight (Pickering, Ontario) (Ontario Blues)
Taylor Paris (Barrie, ON) (Ontario Blues)
Mike Scholz (Oakville, ON) (Ontario Blues)
Conor Trainor (Vancouver, BC) (British Columbia)
Sean White (Victoria, BC) (BC Bears)
Hong Kong Sevens 2010 - China vs Canada
Hong Kong Sevens 2011 - Canada vs Japan