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Maguire super at sevens

St. Albert speedster isn't slowing down after stint with Canada at IRB Sevens World Series

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 21, 2014 06:00 am

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Duncan Maguire is switching gears from Canadian sevens rugby to the first 15 at the St. Albert Rugby Football Club without easing off the gas pedal.

After adding to his national team cap collection at last month’s IRB Sevens World Series stops in Glasgow, Scotland and London, England the ultra-quick winger will show off his flashy dance moves with the ball today against the Calgary Canucks in the Alberta Cup fixtures. Kickoff is 4 p.m. at Ellerslie Rugby Park.

“I’m going to keep working towards the next tour when the national team starts back up in November but now it’s time to focus on the 15s here in St. Albert,” Maguire said of the 5-0 premier men’s squad.

The high school rugby product of the St Albert Skyhawks still plans on playing in sevens’ tournaments with select sides in Kelowna and Limerick, Ireland, plus attend national sevens’ tryouts for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland, in addition to commitments with the Calgary-based Prairie Wolfpack in the Canadian Rugby Championship league (his six tries in five matches at wing led all CRC scorers last year) and the fantastic firsts.

“Things are looking good,” said Maguire, a national 15 selection for the Americas Rugby Championship last October at Langford, B.C. who was among Canada’s top domestic-based players and overseas professionals to dress for the Canada Selects versus BC Invitational match last month in Vancouver.

The straw that stirs the drink for the traveling Lionhearts Sevens also played internationally for Canada on the Sevens World Series circuit in South Africa and Las Vegas before his selection to the national team’s last two legs in Scotland and England.

“It’s an honour every time you get selected obviously but just to be asked for those two tournaments was especially special,” Maguire said. “The fact that the team did really well in Scotland and just being a part of that was a huge honour. It’s something that I can say I’ve done.”

Canada, ranked a record-best sixth in the Sevens World Series standings after finishing 12th last season, was the runner-up in Scotland at 4-1-1 and the bowl winners in England at 4-1-1 as well after going 1-1-1 on the opening day.

“Scotland was the best Canada has ever done at sevens. We came second there and lost to New Zealand in the final (54-7). It was a real good experience to be a part of it all,” said Maguire, one of 12 players on Canada’s roster in Scotland and England. “London the following weekend was another great experience. Playing in Twickenham was pretty nuts in front of a sold-out crowd.

“All in all it was a good experience. I’ll take it as it comes. We’ll just see how it goes from now on.”

When opportunity knocked Maguire answered the door for Canada.

“I’m new to the team so whenever I got some playing time I tried to take advantage of that,” Maguire said of his role with the national sevens. “I just wanted to be a good teammate and do what I can whenever I get on.”

Maguire, 24, is the flyer, or finisher, as an outside threat in sevens.

“Everyone has got their little own X factor I guess. Mine is I’m blessed with a little bit of pace. It’s one of those things on the wing in being able to catch and run and do the basics,” said fleet-footed five-foot-11 and 190-pound runner. “One thing they’re always looking for is stick to your own strengths so whenever I do get the opportunity to be playing I have to try and show that and so far I’ve been lucky to do that.”

Back with the firsts Maguire shone in the second half of the memorable 24-23 thriller against the Calgary Hornets to stop a winless stretch of eight matches against the perennial Labatt’s Cup provincial champions and in the team’s last match scored two tries in the 57-5 spanking of the Calgary Irish.

This year’s edition of the firsts is shaping up to be the greatest ever assembled at SARFC since the 2010 Labatt’s Cup champions and is on par with the 2009 team that was undefeated before losing the provincial final to the Hornets.

“So far so good but there are some challenges coming up with the Druids (two matches) and the Clan (last tilt before the north playoffs). Those are some good rivalries so I’m sure those will be some good games to be at,” said Maguire, who cut his teeth with the firsts at fullback and showed remarkable guile in a cameo appearance at outside-centre for last year’s provincial finalists.

“Every game we’ve tried to progress and there is always something to work on. The good thing about Jo (Hull, the head coach) is that she is always keeping us in check.”

SCRUM BALLS: SARFC is one of nine clubs throughout Canada recognized by the Bridge the Gap Youth Rugby Grant program administered by the Canadian Rugby Foundation.

The Nor’Westers and Red Deer Titans also made the final cut for grants as high as $6,000. The size of the SARFC grant was not available at press time.

The Bridge the Gap initiative is designed for clubs that implement local or regional projects and/or events that diminish barriers and make rugby more accessible to youths.

SARFC alumnus and Team Canada prop Andy Tiedemann of the Castaway Wanderers and flanker Kyle Gilmour of the firsts will wrap up their national 15 stint in the June international series today against the USA Eagles in Sacramento, Calif. It’s also part of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup in which Canada lost its opening match to Japan 34-25 June 7 in Burnaby.

Canada also lined up against Scotland in last week’s test match and lost 19-17 in Toronto.


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