Canada's sevens rugby team going to the Gudalajara Pan American Games was announced on Tuesday - and it includes eight members of the recent Rugby World Cup squad just back from New Zealand.
The team, which will participate in the Games October 29th and 30th take on Argentina, Chile and Brazil in its pool and is heavy on experience with all the players featuring previous International Rugby Board experience. The other four teams in Pool B are the United States, Guyana, the hosts Mexico and Uruguay.
Conor Trainor, a University of Western Ontario student - will have a short turnaround before departing for Mexico on October 21st. The young speedster set a Canadian record by scoring two tries against the number one ranked New Zealand All Blacks in Canada's final pool match at the Rugby World Cup.
Joining him will be the popular flanker Adam Kleeberger - who drew enormous attention both for his play and his enormous beard during the four matches of the tournament. Other World Cup members that made the squad include Nanyak Dala, Nathan Hirayama, Ciaran Hearn, Taylor Paris, Matt Evans and Mike Scholz. The side will be anchored by Canada's current top scoring sevens player on the IRB circuit - Phil Mack.
Also in the side is the speedy Sean Duke - who has featured heavily in Canada's successful Bowl titles in 2011. Pickering, Ontario's John Moonlight will provide size and quickness as a forward - and brings several seasons of IRB experience to the table. Also into the team is St. Albert's Kyle Gilmour, who took part in four IRB events in 2011, playing at the Wellington, Las Vegas, London and Edinburgh Sevens.
Geraint John - just returned from the seven week World Cup campaign as the backs coach - says because the final selections for Guadalajara were due on October 3rd - the two sevens camps held in his absence were vital to planning not only the Pan American games but also the upcoming Dubai and Port Elizabeth Sevens events taking place in December. Canada will be participating in these IRB events - in favour of the usual spring inclusion of the London and Edinburgh tournaments.
A pre Pan Am training camp will take place in Victoria on October 18th - with the team departing for the Mexican city on October 21st.
Also considered for inclusion but unavailable due to club commitments were Glasgow Warriors wing DTH van der Merwe, Esher wing Phil Mackenzie, Ospreys flanker Chauncey O'Toole and London Irish back row Jebb Sinclair.
The Pan American games, which features international teams from all around the Americas zone - is an integral to the development of Sevens as the sport prepares to join the Olympics at the Rio de Janiero Games in 2016.
Held every four years since their inception in 1951, the Pan Am Games feature athletes from North, Central and South America. This year's event is expected to draw some 6,000 athletes from 42 countries to compete in 39 sports, and is part of the qualifying process for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Canada is sending a team of 493 athletes to Guadalajara, with representatvies from each of the 10 provinces and the Northwest Territories. The complete roster was released during Tuesday's media conference in Toronto.
At the 2007 Games in Rio, Canada finished third in the overall medal count with 138, including 39 gold. The United States led the way with 237 medals, followed by host Brazil (157), Canada and Cuba (135).
Toronto will host the next Pan Am Games, in 2015.
Canada vs Chile
Canada vs Brazil
Canada vs Argentina
Canadian Sevens Team
Nanyak Dala (Saskatoon, SK) (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Sean Duke (Vancouver, BC) (British Columbia)
Matt Evans (Duncan, BC) (Unattached)
Kyle Gilmour (St. Albert, AB) (Prairie Wolf Pack)
Ciaran Hearn (Conception Bay, NFLD) (The Rock)
Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, BC) (British Columbia)
Adam Kleeberger (White Rock, 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)
Coach: Geraint John
Manager: Brian Hunter
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