Harry Jones scores a try during Canada’s 26-19 victory over the U.S., to help the team capture its first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup Championship in Singapore earlier this year. (Martin Seras Lima photo)

Canada men’s sevens team eye a top eight finish

Captain Harry Jones hopes to inspire rugby youth

The Canadian men’s sevens squad is hoping to better their placing from the last Rugby World Cup in 2013.

Canada finished ninth, even though they had a record of 5-1 at the Cup, but because of the format were not in the top bracket, and were unable to compete for a medal.

Head coach Damian McGrath said the expectations for his team are high, but thinks a top eight finish would be an accomplishment considering the size of the team and injuries.

“I think we need to just have some calm amongst the euphoria going to the Cup,” he said. “Like any team and any competitive nature, we’re going [there] to win, but we’re also being realistic about our ambitions.”

Since the last Cup, McGrath said the game has gotten faster, there are more specialist players and the athletes are bigger and stronger, so Canada will need consistent play to hang with the bigger teams. He said the “true Canadian grit” of his team shouldn’t be overlooked and if they play to their strengths they can make a run at it.

“It’s a chance to pit yourself against the best of the 23 teams in the world in an iconic venue,” McGrath said.

Harry Jones, Canada men’s sevens captain, was part of the team at the last Cup, and he’s ready to head to San Francisco and get to work, in what will be their 54th week of their season.

Jones said they have many experienced players on the team headed to the Cup, as they did in 2013.

“Damo’s almost been able to pick from a full healthy squad, barring a few guys, with a few setbacks,” he said. “Being able to bring almost a full strength squad is absolutely massive because then you’re not riding the same seven or eight guys the entire time.”

With everyone at full strength, Jones said getting everyone touches and sticking to a simple game plan will help them against their first pre-round of 16 game against Papua New Guinea. Jones feels McGrath has put each player in the right spot for individual and team success.

This Cup Canada also has a different strategy, playing a tighter game to expose the gaps and spin it wide, rather than the wide-wide game they used to play.

Jones himself has around 20 family members coming to watch him play. He enjoys seeing the Canadian flags in the crowd, but it also makes him think about kids watching back home and what it means to compete on the world stage.

“To watch a Canadian team compete at the top level and say ‘At some point in my life, I might be able to do that if I continue playing rugby,’ I think that’s a really cool thing,” he said.

“They might not have had that in the past, because the platform wasn’t quite there years back, but now the platform’s set for younger kids.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

lindsey.horsting@goldstream

gazette.com

Just Posted

Langford considers regulating sale of spray paint following string of vandalism

Regulations could involve restricting sale to minors, locking up spray paint

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

$11 million overdraw for McKenzie Interchange construction

The project has been delayed multiple times and is now estimating a budget of $96 million

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Ginger Goodwin’s Cumberland cemetery grave desecrated

Just days before the Miners Memorial weekend, Ginger Goodwin’s grave has been… Continue reading

Most Read