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Canadian men look for consistency on rugby sevens circuit

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The Canadian Press
10/10/2013 12:55:42 PM
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After posting some impressive results last season on the rugby sevens circuit, Canada looks to add consistency to its arsenal in 2013-14.

The Canadian men open the new season on Saturday at the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia, the first of nine stops on the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Canada finished 12th overall in 2012-13, securing its status as one of the competition's core teams.

Highlights included Dubai (sixth), the U.S. (fifth) and Hong Kong (sixth). But there were poor showings in Japan and South Africa where Canada ended up in Shield play, the bottom consolation rung.

"If we want to be regarded as a top team and try and break into that top-10 barrier, which I think we're very capable of, we just need to be a little bit more consistent," head coach Geraint John said Thursday. "That will be our goal this year.

"When we play well, we are one of the most difficult sides to beat and we perform very well . . . We need to get that consistency are each tournament. That will make us not just a good team but a very good team," he added.

Canada opens Saturday against powerful Fiji before playing Wales and Portugal to determine whom it plays Sunday. They'll be hoping for a respite from heat that hit 36 degrees earlier in the week.

The Canadians enter the season with a 244-314-6 career record in World Series play

John has had to rejig his roster somewhat.

Tyler Ardron, Jeff Hassler and Phil Mack are playing for the Ospreys in Wales while Taylor Paris is with Agen in France.

Sean Duke and Jake Webster have injury issues while Chauncey O'Toole and Thyssen de Goode have personal commitments.

But it is a sign of the depth of the program that only two players -- Pat Parfrey and Pat Kay -- are newcomers to the circuit.

Canadian captain Nathan Hirayama finished third last season in scoring with 241 points, behind Fiji's Joji Baleviani Raqamate (247) and England's Dan Norton (264).

Also returning from last year's team are Nanyak Dala, John Moonlight, Ciaran Hearn, Lucas Hammond, Justin Douglas, Harry Jones and Mike Fuailefau.

Connor Braid, who saw time in England with Doncaster last season, and Sean Ferguson, on the sevens team in 2011-12, are also on the roster.

Canada starts the season with a big ask, given its 2-33 career record against Fiji.

Fiji, defending champions in Australia, finished third overall on the circuit last season. But Canada can point to a 28-19 win over Fiji in the Bowl final in New Zealand in February.

The Canadians are 7-20 against Wales and 12-8 against Portugal.

As is their tradition, the Canadians played tourist Thursday to see some of the local sights. Their destination was an animal sanctuary to see some koala bears.

Canada's men's rugby sevens (Photo: Rugby Canada)

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(Photo: Rugby Canada)
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IRB World Rankings

The rankings remain unchanged at the top as Canada holds firm at 15th.
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