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Canada names Sevens squad for Dubai

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irbsevens.com and James Mortimer     18 Nov 2013     Getty Images

Kleeberger, whose towering back row displays and prodigious facial hair made him one of the most recognisable stars at the World Cup in New Zealand, is now set to return to the Sevens fold for the Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens on 29-30 November and the Cell C Nelson Mandela Bay SA Sevens in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on 7-8 December.

At round one in Australia, Canada won two of their three pool games and were unlucky to miss out on qualification for the Cup competition, eventually losing to France in the final of the Bowl. They currently lie in 10th place in the standings and include four players in this squad who did not compete on the Gold Coast.

Conor Trainor, Phil Mack and Mike Scholz join Kleeberger, replacing Mike Fuailefau, Sean Ferguson, Pat Kay and captain Nathan Hirayama, who hopes to return from his leg injury in late January.

The remaining eight involved are John Moonlight, Nanyak Dala, Harry Jones, Ciaran Hearn, Lucas Hammond, Justin Douglas, Pat Parfrey and Connor Braid.

The squad is to be based in Lisbon this week, where the national 15-a-side team faces a test match against Portugal - a match which up to 10 of the Sevens squad could be involved in.

"A lot of preparation will be done off the field in Dubai as many players will arrive from a hard four weeks of rugby," said coach, Geraint John.

"Physically I'm happy with where the players are at and I feel they are rugby ready. Obviously I would've liked to have done more Sevens specific work with them but we're confident that after working closely with the 15-a-side team the players are all happy.

"A lot of Monday and Tuesday (in Dubai) will be a recap to get the players in the Sevens mode and try to freshen them up and recovered and ready to play.

"The midweek training games (against New Zealand and Scotland) will be key to that process as it will give us a welcome click back into Sevens mode."

In Dubai Canada face pool matches against staunch rivals USA, Fiji and top seeds in the pool, England.

"England and Fiji have both got new coaches and played well at the Gold Coast so those games will be hard but I think they know we'll be tough as well," John added. "Then we play our rivals the USA who we had success against at the Sevens World Cup, but those games are never easy so we're in a tough pool."

Canada Sevens: Connor Braid - (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC, Nanyak Dala - (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK, Justin Douglas - (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC, Lucas Hammond - (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON, Ciaran Hearn - (Castaway Wanderers RFC/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL, Harry Jones - (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC, Adam Kleeberger – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/BC Bears) White Rock, BC, Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC, John Moonlight - (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON, Pat Parfrey - (Swilers RFC/The Rock) St. Johns, NL, Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON, Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC