Fresh from victory in Sydney last month, Canada come to the HSBC USA Sevens as a marked team and have named a well-seasoned squad of 12 that will be looking for back-to-back victories in Las Vegas.
A total of 131 series tournaments between them puts Canada second only to Australia in terms of experience, a factor that should stand them in good stead when the chips are down at the Sam Boyd Stadium.
Captain Ghislaine Landry is understandably confident ahead of kick-off on Friday morning but not entirely comfortable with the favourites tag.
The 28-year-old Toronto Scottish player said: “I don’t know if we are favourites or not. There was a lot that we did well in Sydney but there were also things that we are trying to improve so we won’t be resting on our laurels. We know that there are some great teams here this week and we’ll have to be at our best.
“I think we’ve a good mix of young blood and some older heads in the squad right now. We know that when the newer players get their chance they will be really good for us – there’s a lot of exciting new talent coming through. But there’ll be times when we have to draw on our experience too.”
Heading Pool A, Canada will face France and Russia along with Argentina, who qualified by virtue of being runners-up at the Sudamérica Sevens in Córdoba, and will be expected to come out of the initial stage on top.
Landry said “We’ve played against France and Russia quite a lot over the past few years so they are teams we know well. We know the patterns they play and what their strengths are. They are top teams so we’ll be taking those games very seriously.
“We haven’t seen much of Argentina. There isn’t a lot of video of them and we don’t play them very often so for that game I think we’ll just want to go out there with our own game plan, try to stick to that and see what they throw at us.”
Elsewhere, a titanic struggle is set for Pool C as Australia, New Zealand, England and Brazil battle it out. Coming off the back of failing to make the cup quarter-finals in Sydney, England are seeking redemption and know they have something to prove in Las Vegas.
Pool B is another interesting one with home side USA facing Spain, the ever-improving Fijians and a resurgent Ireland side that made it to the last eight in Sydney for the very first time.
Kick-off on Friday will take place at 08:17 (local time).