This story was updated on September 16, 2015.
Harry Jones will remember this season for the rest of his life.
The rugby sevens player led Canada in world series scoring, missed an Olympic berth, and scored the game-winning try for Pan Am Games gold.
Now he’s in the United Kingdom, for his debut at the Rugby World Cup.
Canada’s TSN schedule for Rugby World Cup (full schedule):
Ireland vs. Canada – Saturday, Sept. 19 at 9 am ET on TSN1/3/4
Italy vs. Canada – Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9:15 am ET on TSN1/4
Canada vs. France – Thursday, Oct. 1 at 2:45 pm ET on TSN1/3/4
Canada vs. Romania – Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 11:30 am ET across TSN
“I was biting my fingernails a little bit during the selection process but I’m happy they gave me an opportunity to show what I can do,” said the 26-year-old this week because he played Olympic seven-a-side (sevens) rugby until the end of July. The Rugby World Cup is rugby union or fifteen-a-side (fifteens) and the more classic version of the game while sevens is growing.
Jones is one of 12 players named to Canada’s 31-man Rugby World Cup roster, with recent sevens experience. More specifically, the Vancouver native along with Ciaran Hearn, Nathan Hirayama, Phil Mack, John Moonlight (sevens captain), Conor Trainor, and Liam Underwood would be considered sevens mainstays making the transition.
“Fifteens and sevens although it’s rugby in general it’s two completely different sports,” said Jones. Sevens games are shorter and higher scoring while fifteens matches proceed more deliberately and last 80-minutes.
Jones and his sevens crew are coming off the high of winning Pan Am gold over Argentina, on a Jones’ try in the final seconds, ‘a cool moment’ for him. It was nice for the Canadian boys. They lost to the United States at the Olympic qualifying NACRA Sevens in June, on which Jones reflects, “In any sporting event for myself that’s probably hurt the most.” The team still has the last chance tournament next year.
So, Canada marches on to the Rugby World Cup with 18 first-timers and a handful like Jones who haven’t played fifteens all season. However, Jamie Cudmore will play his fourth Rugby World Cup and become only the fifth Canadian to do so. Aaron Carpenter and DTH Van Der Merwe will be playing in their third Rugby World Cup.
The team has tune-ups on English soil against Georgia (Sept. 2) and Fiji (Sept. 6) before commencing the big show against Ireland on September 19th in Cardiff, Wales. They play the remainder of their pool matches against Italy (Sept. 26), France (Oct. 1), and Romania (Oct. 6), all in different English cities. Canada is the 18th-ranked rugby nation in the world and the lowest-ranked in their pool.
Behind-the-scenes with Rugby Canada: