Meet the Canadians: Team Canada seeking 7s upset at BC Place this weekend
Canada enters the weekend ranked 11th in the World Rugby 7s Series standings
Canada's men's rugby 7s team can count on both a home field and home province advantage when it takes to the pitch on Saturday when it looks to pull an upset in front of the BC Place fans led by a West Coast-dominated roster.
The Canadians enter the 4th edition of the Canada sevens tournament still looking to find their form this season, having finished 13th in last week's tournament in Las Vegas and in 11th place three other times this season.
This weekend, they've been drawn into a strong Pool B against Samoa, Fiji and Kenya.
"We're not that far away from a good result," said coach Damian McGrath, pointing out his side has missed out on the quarter finals by a single core three times this season.
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"[It's] very fine margins in rugby sevens."
While the hosts won't be favourites to advance as one of the pool's top two finishers, the Canadians are hoping their home field advantage could help them spring an upset or two and earn their first-ever quarter-finals appearance in Vancouver.
Here's who to watch for, and what you need to know about Team Canada.
The team's captain and star performer, Nathan Hirayama is also one of Canada's most accomplished players, having surpassed 1,600 career points, good for fourth all-time. The Richmond native was the top point scorer at last weekend's USA Sevens and is known for his field vision and passing.
"It's been a frustrating new year for us, but I think there's a lot of positives we can take from the last tournament," he said. "We were really, really close on a few things."
Braid is a physical powerhouse known for his on-field energy and speed. Braid had a strong tournament in Las Vegas last time out with 28 carries and 11 tackles and leads the team so far this season in tries scored with 14.
"We're feeling good. And, with the home support, I'm sure we'll be we ready to roll on Saturday."
The son of a Samoan international player, Fuailefau is now over 200 matches and 55 tries scored for Canada's international sevens team.
Bosnian-born, but Burnaby-raised, Cejvanovic began playing the sport after fleeing conflict in his home country. Now a mainstay of the sevens national team, he's also played for Canada's 15-a-side team.
Zaruba's one-handed catch-and-score play against Wales went viral in 2016. The North Vancouver native played in a pre-season game at tight end for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles in 2017 and joined the team's training camp again a year later before announcing a full-time return to sevens ahead of the start of this season.
ROSTER: <a href="https://twitter.com/mcgrath_damian?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mcgrath_damian</a> has selected his squad that will bring the HEAT🔥 at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HSBC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HSBC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadaSevens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadaSevens</a> this weekend! Watch it all LIVE on <a href="https://t.co/oFcjMRZsD1">https://t.co/oFcjMRZsD1</a> or catch 🇨🇦 vs. 🇼🇸 at 5pm ET/2pm PT and 🇨🇦 vs. 🇫🇯 at 5:30pm ET/ 2:30pm PT broadcast on <a href="https://twitter.com/cbcsports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cbcsports</a> 🏉🍁<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RugbyCA?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RugbyCA</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RC7s?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RC7s</a> <a href="https://t.co/MLdXUjpKTk">pic.twitter.com/MLdXUjpKTk</a>—@RugbyCanada
All games Saturday. Sunday schedule TBA. Watch all games live on CBCSports.ca.
- Canada vs. Samoa - 10:58 a.m. PT
- Canada vs. Fiji - 2:08 p.m. PT
- Canada vs. Kenya - 5:40 p.m. PT