CFL defensive back Tevaughn Campbell will wear a Canadian jersey this weekend in Uruguay, and this time he’s bringing along a couple friends. The Maple Leafs development side will feature three Canadian football converts. Joining Campbell in the side is Toronto Argonauts draft pick Ryan Nieuwesteeg and former Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Mitchell Baines. None of the trio have any notable rugby experience prior to joining the sevens program.
Niewesteeg, 24, was a standout receiver and kick returner for the Guelph Gryphons before being drafted by the Argos in 2016. He counts OUA 1st team All-Star and 2nd team All-Canadian honors on his resume. At just 1.72m (5’8″) and 78kg (170lbs) the Niagara Falls native is small for both sports but has impressive balance and acceleration.
The 25-year-old Baines, from Ottawa, played three games for the Tigers-Cats in the 2017 CFL season after being signed from the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Standing 1.88m (6’2″) and weighing 98kg (215lbs) he has the physique to cover a number of positions and his aerial skills should prove very useful at restarts. Baines played five seasons for the Ottawa Gee-Gees, and was also an OUA 1st team All-Star and 2nd team All-Canadian.
Josiah Morra and Luke Bradley add senior HSBC Sevens Series experience and there are two members of the Ontario Blues side in Alex Colborne and Marcello Wainwright. Canada u20 standout Jake Thiel is selected, and James Hammond is among the backs, his brother Lucas a veteran of several HSBC circuits with Canada’s senior team.
Canada will play against Colombia, Ireland, and Argentina on Day One at Punta del Este. It’s the first of two legs on the Sudamérica Sevens series, the second coming next weekend at Viña del Mar on the Pacific coast of Chile.
CANADA MAPLE LEAFS 7s
Mitchell Baines (unattached), Luke Bradley (Port Alberni / UVic Vikes), Tevaughn Campbell (unattached), Alex Colborne (Toronto Scottish), Ethan Hager (UVic Vikes), James Hammond (Toronto Nomads), Elias Hancock (Bytown Blues), Josiah Morra (Toronto Saracens), Ryan Nieuwesteeg (unattached), David Richard (Mississauga Blues), Jake Thiel (Abbotsford), Kevin Vertkas (Toronto Nomads / UVic Vikes), Marcello Wainwright (Toronto Saracens)
Head Coach – Lee Douglas
Assistant Coach – Andrew Hall
Athletic Therapist – Jason White