Canadian Rugby star Phil Mack looking to cap off fantastic year in Port Elizabeth on HSBC World Sevens Series

December 5, 2013 9:17 AM

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Canadian Rugby star Phil Mack looking to cap off fantastic year in Port Elizabeth on HSBC World Sevens Series

Canada scrum-half Phil Mack is determined to follow up his IRB Dream Team selection with a strong team performance at this weekend's Port Elizabeth Sevens.

The 28-year-old James Bay man was one of the stand-out performers in Dubai over last weekend and ultimately found himself rewarded when picked with the tournament's elite, alongside the likes of New Zealand's Bryce Heem and South Africa's Branco du Preez.

His inclusion was testament to the doggedness he showed at 7he Sevens as he made an immediate impact when coming off the bench in the opening games, which led - after Lucas Hammond suffered a hamstring injury - to starts in Canada's three remaining matches.

"The Dream Team nomination was an honour to receive and I shall always be proud of it," revealed Mack. "Lucas has been playing some really good rugby and earned himself a starting spot after his performance in the Gold Coast. For me I just wanted to do what I could and make the most of my time when I got it."

The highlight of Mack's individual weekend for the watching public is likely to be a soccer-like try that saw him control the ball with one foot then hack it on before diving on the ball over the try-line, which was one of seven Canadian tries against USA.

"That was definitely a try I'll remember for a while," he smiled. "I would say that it was a reaction play. It was a unique way to score and I'm just happy it panned out. If it hadn't I would probably be explaining why I didn't dive on it like I should have."

Taking such risks and reaping the rewards that come with it is something Mack isn't a stranger to, as a brief stint at Welsh region the Ospreys has proved. Joining fellow Canadian stars Jeff Hassler and Tyler Ardron at the PRO12 side in a loan move, Mack enjoyed one month there that he believes helped his game.

"Yes, the last few months have certainly been busy. All the time away from home was a bit tough, but I have tons of support from my girlfriend and family, and they helped me through it for sure," he explained from South Africa ahead of the year-ending tournament. "I think my time at the Ospreys helped develop my game and allowed me to take a few more steps forward. It was good to be able to train and prepare with some of the best players in the world day in and day out."

"I feel more confident in my skills and comfortable with my decision making. That has always been a part of my game needing development. I'm on the right path."

Blending those improved attributes for the benefit of the squad was certainly evident in Dubai and will hopefully continue this weekend at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, where Canada are drawn against the host nation, a well-supported Kenya and Spain. And Mack, as expected, is eager to finish the year strongly.

"As a team we wanted better results in Dubai," he added. "Luckily we have this weekend to right some wrongs and go into the Christmas break on a positive note."


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