Phil Mack will make history at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas.
The Victoria, BC, native will become just the 29th player to record 50 HSBC Sevens Series appearances, and the first in Canadian history, when he steps on the field next Friday.
“Phil is synonymous with the Canada sevens team both through the number of tournaments he has played in and also through the quality of his performances over the years,” Head Coach Liam Middleton said. “A genuine world class sevens player, he has contributed enormously to the team over a long period of time. It’s a significant and well deserved milestone for him.”
Mack made his sevens series debut in Hong Kong more than a decade ago in 2005. The 30-year-old has also registered 956 career points and is looking to become just the 13th player in series history to score more than 1,000 points.
In addition to Mack, Admir Cejvanovic, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Pat Kay, John Moonlight, Sean White and Adam Zaruba keep their spots from the Sydney Sevens.
Sean Duke has recovered from injury to be selected for Las Vegas as have Conor Trainor and Justin Douglas.
“Sean was a top performer for us Dubai and South Africa and it’s good to have him back in our squad,” Middleton said. “Conor and Justin bring good pace to our team and they are looking forward to contributing to the teams success in the next few weeks.”
Canada rolls into Las Vegas after a season best performance in Australia where they claimed the Bowl title after wins over Wales, Scotland and Samoa. Canada is currently 12th in the season standings. Hirayama was pivotal in Canada’s success in Sydney as the Richmond, BC, native led the tournament in points (55) and tries (7). Hirayama is second in points scored this season with 145.
Canada has been drawn into Pool D in Las Vegas where they will face hosts USA as well as South Africa and Wales. Canada has yet to face the USA or South Africa this season. Canada is 20-16 against their rivals south of the border and is 5-32 against South Africa. Canada has faced Wales twice this season, going 1-1, and are 13-23-1 all-time.
“Every pool draw throws up three hard matches where you have to be at your very best to get a good result and that will be no different in Las Vegas,” Middleton said. “We haven’t played South Africa or USA in this World Series so we are looking forward to matching up with them. We’ve have played Wales twice and both have been hard fought matches so our expectation will be the same in Vegas.”
The Las Vegas Sevens will be proceeded by in the inaugural Canada Sevens at BC Place on March 12-13. With a sell out recently announced, more than 28,000 fans are expected to cheer on Canada, and other nations, over the two-day tournament. For more information on the Canada Sevens, please click here.
The Las Vegas Sevens, which is a three-day tournament from March 4-6, can be seen LIVE in its entirety at www.worldrugby.org.
Canada’s Roster for the Las Vegas Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Duke – (Unattached) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Pat Kay – (Unattached) Duncan, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable due to injury:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Liam Middleton – Head Coach
Lee Douglas – Assistant Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Canada’s Las Vegas Day 1 Schedule:
Canada vs. South Africa — 7:35pm ET/4:35pm PT
Canada vs. USA — 10:36pm ET/7:36pm PT
Canada’s Las Vegas Day 2 Schedule:
Canada vs. Wales — 5:08pm ET/2:08pm PT
About Rugby Canada
Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the eight Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven Women’s Rugby World Cups. As a regular on the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game.
To support the growth of rugby at the grass-roots level and to ensure there are elite programs for prospering young rugby players to become involved with, Rugby Canada has put an emphasis on developing its junior programs. Our goal is to develop and train competitive teams for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland and 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.