Cover photo: Mike Fualiefau (Credit: Ian Muir)
Head rugby sevens coach Liam Middleton has chosen his 12 men, a mix of multi-sport games veterans, to defend Pan Am gold.
Captain John Moonlight plus Sean Duke, Nathan Hirayama, Conor Trainor, and Sean White are five players who won in 2011, and will play in the 2015 squad. All five but Sean White, in addition to announced players Justin Douglas, Mike Fualiefau, and Harry Jones make a total of seven players who were at Olympic qualifier NACRA Sevens, a regional tournament. Canada fell short to the United States in the final, and while Pan Ams are not an Olympic qualifier, the team has one more shot next year. Eight players have 2014 Commonwealth Games experience where they finished ninth.
“We can’t wait to build off our success from the 2011 Pan Am Games as we defend our gold medal on home soil. Being able to play in a tournament like this on Canadian soil is a once in a lifetime opportunity and we can’t wait to hit the field” – John Moonlight, captain
Here’s the full list:
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Pan Ams are somewhat of a redemption opportunity for the Canadian men. In addition to coming up short at NACRA Sevens, some of the group was ninth after an up and down Sevens World Series season, a drop from 2013-14’s best-ever finish (6th).
The second-ever men’s Pan Am rugby sevens runs July 11-12, and features eight teams at Exhibition Stadium.