The Men’s Sevens teams open up their campaign at the USA Sevens in Las Vegas today with a match against the hosts.
Geraint John’s men, who reached the cup quarter-finals at the Wellington Sevens last week, take on the USA in Sam Boyd Stadium at 4.22pm (Pacific Time).
Their second match in Pool B, against a dangerous Argentina side, takes place at 7.18pm. The final match-up, on Saturday, will pit them against Fiji with the knockout stages being held primarily on Sunday.
Canada has mixed intense preparation and video analysis sessions with some valuable interaction and outreach with the local community.
The squad visited Lee Antonello Elementary School, in North Las Vegas, on Wednesday and were welcomed by a host of enthusiastic students who presented them with drawings and paintings in return for some rugby lessons and skill demonstrations.
The team listened with great interest to student Jose Mauricio Vasquez, who won the essay contest and was given the opportunity to read it aloud to the entire assembly. The charming essay was about the difference between Canada and US.
Conor Trainor and Nathan Hirayama took time out to pop along to the Matt King Comedy Magic Show in Las Vegas and take part in magic tricks on stage (see video link below).
Trainor was particularly flummoxed after a sleight-of-hand card trick from their host. “I still don’t understand how he did it,” he remarked, “It is going to haunt my nights for a while but maybe I’ll learn it some day.”
With Phil Mack currently out injured, the leading, active point-scorer for Canada is Sean Duke with 217 points. He is closely followed by Nathan Hirayama (193) and Ciaran Hearn (144).
The USA Sevens will be the 10th Sevens event for Conor Trainor, who already has 12 international tries to his name in the format. Harry Jones, back with the squad after a Sevens stint at Sunnybank in Australia, has six tries in five previous event appearances.
Fiji – the Wellington Sevens runners-up – can call on the vastly experienced Emosi Vucago for their Pool B encounters this weekend. He has amassed 743 points in just 36 Sevens appearances.
Argentina’s leading scorer present in Las Vegas is Francisco Merello, with 237 points and 47 tries in 32 events, while the USA have a tie – Matt Hawkins and Zach Test both lie on 215 career points.
Geraint John commented, “The second game of the tournament is Canada against USA, and we also have Argentina, so it's like being back at the Pan American Games, with a battle of the Americas.”
“It will be difficult though,” he added. “The USA are on home soil, they have a strong squad and have done well previously here so it will be a tough game to start.”
The four teams from Pool B all attended the Parade of Nations in downtown Las Vegas on Thursday as part of a series of events promoting the USA Sevens.
It was all smiles and waves between the pool rivals as they were cheered on by thousands of fans but the serious business of qualification for the knock-out stages begins today.
The National Men's 7s team is proudly sponsored by Macquarie Financial in association with Trafigura Ltd.
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