Paris Review: Canada Lose to Argentina on Day 2 in Trophy Semi-Final - Drop to 8th in Standings
by BCRN 7s correspondent
posted May 14 2017
After such a sensational result in Singapore last month there was always going to be heightened expectation and anticipation as the Paris Sevens approached – and indeed that was the case as our Canada Team left for France last week amidst a flurry of press and interviews prior to departure.
Paris also had some special memories for our coach as well since he won the event the previous year with Manu Samoa.
Regardless – the pool assignment showed some encouragement and the only damper of the preparation week in Paris was that Lucas Hammond was left off the final line-up sheet after a serious head clash during training.
Certainly this has to been seen as a setback for Canada as it changes the complexion of the line-up significantly – since the University of Victoria player has been in sensational form since January when he rejoined the squad.
Hammond follows a distinguished line of half-backs who have represented Canada going back to 2001 when Morgan Williams (16 Caps), Ed Fairhust (9 Caps) and Marco Di Girolamo (36 Caps) wore the jersey.
They were followed by Jesse Frender (32 Caps) who eventually relinquished the sweater to the mighty Phil Mack (61 Caps) who ‘ruled’ until 2016 at the Olympic Qualifier in Monaco.
Lucas Hammond now has 37 Caps going back to his debut at Dubai in 2011 – impressive indeed and he looks certain to leave his mark on this present squad.
The Paris challenge began with a game against the busy Japanese side which struggled in Singapore (except against France) and have just not found a formula that suits their diverse style yet.
They lack speed and while their passing skills are solid it was clear that penetrating Canada’s defense was going to be a problem.
It took some time for both sides to clear off the rust off and find some error free phases but Canada accomplished this first as Hirayama and Jones settled things down.
Jones scored twice and Hirayama converted twice before half-time and Mike Fuailefau opened Japan up in the second period and once again Nate Hirayama converted.
The coach emptied up the bench as the second half progressed and everyone got some much needed field time.
Canada 21 v Japan 7
By the second game for Canada the stadium had started to fill up nicely and there was plenty of Canadian support in the crowd.
Scotland had beaten South Africa earlier in the day and the warning signs should have alerted Canada to the potential danger that Scotland posed.
Zaruba got Canada on the board first with a try near the corner after a patient build-up and several phases but Scotland came back at us immediately and we fell asleep out wide on defense and Horne touched the ball down on his foot after crossing the goal-line and then scampered across the in-goal to touchdown under the posts as we stood by and watched!
Nevertheless – Canada got the ball moving nicely after the restart and Douglas scored a great try out wide after beating several defenders – better still Hirayama slotted a massive conversion from out wide to give us a 12 – 7 lead at half-time.
The second half was all about possession and while Douglas scored his second try and Hirayama converted - Canada were not stiff enough when Scotland had the ball and tackles were missed by the usual suspects.
We stood off the tackles too much and Scotland took full advantage with the ball on attack with Horne once again turning up everywhere in annoying fashion.
At 19 all Canada was struggling on defense and committed too many defenders on one side of the pitch - and as the ball came to the near side of the field we left Kaay alone with no sweeper behind him – the chip over his head was always going to be a mismatch and Scotland scored to seal the victory and a trip to the quarter-finals on Day 2.
This result could well determine our aspirations for the Cup round on Day 2.
Canada 19 v Scotland 26
South Africa proved to be in no mood to head to the ‘dark side’ of the competition on Day 2 and Canada was a victim of turnovers and a lack of consistent possession.
Kay was stripped of the ball first and South Africa counter-attacked with speed and finality as they crossed our line in short order.
The giveaways continued at the tackle as there was no one in sight to support Hirayama and once again the ‘Bok scored on a counter-attack.
It got worse for Canada as we were penalized and Kok rolled over Douglas and scored as half-time arrived.
A penalty against us in the second half was beautifully disguised by South Africa as we chased the ball carrier from the tap and a huge gap opened up inside the South African player and he off-loaded a nice reverse pass – this game was sealed up by South Africa at this point as tempers flared on the far touchline resulting in some pushing and shoving.
Justin Douglas did score another really nice try and showed he is indeed a force and finisher but it was too late and the clock closed off a disappointing day in Paris as Canada heads to the Bowl side of the draw on Day 2.
Canada 7 v South Africa 31
Russia did not have a terrible Day 1 in Paris by any means - however after a disappointing first day Canada seemed determined to get Day 2 off to a good start – and they did!
Canada ran in 5 tries – Nathan Hirayama scored a pair; Justin Douglas got the first one; Mike Fuailefau notched one next: and Harry Jones completed the misery for Russia who had no answers to the onslaught.
After such a win there had to be some optimism within the squad going into the next game with the difficult and tenacious Argentina Team.
Canada 33 v Russia 0
Argentina had plenty to go for in this game as they were just a mere four points behind Canada in the standings – and unfortunately for Canada the Argentines got the result they desperately wanted as they squeaked out a victory by a single point when Barros Sosa scored at the final horn.
Canada made a great start to this game with a wonderful try by Douglas to finish off a well worked possession – Hirayama converting.
We were well on our way to a second try after some great defensive pressure when Harry Jones gathered a loose ball off the ground and set off for the goal-line – he was barely six meters from the Argentina try-line when he threw an errant pass over his shoulder to keep the ball in play.
The ball escaped John Moonlight and Mike Fuailefau who were in close support and a pair of Argentines set off for Canada’s goal-line in short order.
Justin Douglas came some distance from the other side of the field to run the ball carrier down as the ball was passed but Kay had neglected his man and the interchange of passing allowed Argentina to score a goal-line to goal-line try – certainly deflating.
After the restart and an Argentina penalty Canada worked their way down the touch-line as Mike Fuailefau rambled through several blue and white defenders towards the try line.
There was a quick loss of possession after an errant kick but Jones stole a vital ball off the ground at the ruck and some quick passing sent Douglas off the try-line for his second score.
Hirayama converts and it’s 14 – 5 at the half.
The second half had barely started when the Pumas worked a very tidy back play after a scrum and scored out wide while we watched it all develop and gave them too much space.
As the half progressed Canada was working down the field only to be guilty of a forward pass out wide after playing all the rugby – but the Pumas never stop coming at you especially if you allow them some space – and we did - with some mediocre tackling attempts in mid-field and the result was an opportunistic try when we pinched to cover up the poor tackling.
Game, set and match!
Certainly not the result required as we will be overtaken in the standings after such a great performance in Singapore.
Canada 14 v Argentina 15
London is a week away and the season finale.
Canada Sevens Team – Paris
Luke Bradley University of Victoria Port Alberni, BC
Jared Douglas Abbotsford RFC Abbotsford, BC
Justin Douglas Abbotsford RFC Abbotsford, BC
Mike Fuailefau Castaway-Wanderers Victoria, BC
(Lucas Hammond University of Victoria Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama University of Victoria Richmond, BC
Pat Kay Castaway-Wanders RFC Duncan, BC
Isaac Kaay University of Victoria Kamloops, BC
John Moonlight James Bay AA Pickering, ON
Luke McCloskey Castaway-Wanders RFC Victoria, BC
Matt Mullins Queens University Belleville, ON
Adam Zaruba Capilano RFC Vancouver, BC
Canada Lose to South Africa 31-7: Fall to Second Tier Trophy Competition
posted May 13 2017
[ed. comments below]
This is what Canada looks like without Lucas Hammond, the depth of the men's national program is fragile and losing someone of Hammond's ability immediately plummeted them from Singapore winners to second tier in Paris.
In the game against South Africa they made five errors in the first 90 seconds and were out-muscled in the contact area. Put those two factors in the prediction machine and the outcome was already decided. It was difficult to watch. It was 17-0 at the half and Canada didn't even look like they were in the game.
In terms of player management, the missing Hammond was an important factor, and we'll try to get details on that. There were one or two players who were operating well below their best form and looked a little bit in a haze out there. It was surprising Jared Douglas wasn't used more or McCloskey as they had a lot to offer in previous tournaments.
The sevens program has had some bad news lately and sometimes these things can have an adverse affect. A number of the fringe carded players have been cut and sent home with news that the number of carding positions may be reduced next year. There were 22 last year, the number 16 is circulating early this year as a base number. If it's true it will be catastrophic for the 7s program as they used 19 players on the circuit last season. Sometimes it seems one step forward and two steps back for the men's national teams.
Canada will play Russia in the second tier Trophy quarter-final.
CANADA 7-31 SOUTH AFRICA (from Rugby Canada)
Canada were swept aside by the series leaders in their final pool game in Paris.
South Africa raced out to a commanding 17-0 lead at half time thanks to two tries from Werner Kok after Chris Dry had opened the scoring.
Dry and Kok would each grab a try each in the second half to push the lead to 31-0 before Justin Douglas scored a late try for the Canadians as they dropped into the Challenge Trophy.
Canada Lose to Scotland: Winner of South Africa vs Canada Advances to Cup Round
from Rugby Canada
posted May 13 2017
Canada, the defending Singapore Sevens cup champions, fell to 1-1 in the pool stages of the Paris Sevens.
Having claimed its first ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series cup title in Singapore last month, Canada enters as the defending champions for the first time.
Canada opened with a win over Japan but were beaten by Scotland. They'll face South Africa in their final pool game.
CANADA 21-7 JAPAN
A pair of Harry Jones tries helped guide Canada to an opening win in Paris.
After a sloppy start from both teams that saw multiple handling errors, Canada managed to strike first as Nathan Hirayama and Harry Jones once again connected on a grubber kick, a tactic that worked twice in Hong Kong last month.
Armed with a 7-0 lead, Canada grabbed a second try just before the break as Jones managed to stretch for the line for a 14-0 advantage.
Mike Fuailefau pushed the lead to 21-0 as he gathered in a John Moonlight pass who had a found a loose ball before Kameli Soejima prevented the shutout with a try right at the death.
CANADA 19-26 SCOTLAND
Canada fell to Scotland on a last minute try from James Fleming in their second pool game in Paris.
Adam Zaruba got Canada rolling to a 5-0 lead before George Horne's try gave Scotland a 7-5 advantage.
Justin Douglas grabbed his first try of the tournament to give Canada a 12-7 lead at half time but once again Horne would strike back for a 14-12 advantage.
Douglas' second try pushed Canada back ahead 19-14 but after Scott Riddell's try tied it at 19-19, Fleming's chip and chase saw a favourable bounce for the Scotsman who was able to dive on the loose ball ahead of Isaac Kaay to claim a 26-19 win.
Zaruba Returns for Paris 7s: Kickoff on Saturday at 2:50am PT vs Japan
from Rugby Canada
posted May 11 2017
Adam Zaruba returns to Damian McGrath’s side as Canada heads into the penultimate tournament of the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series season.
Zaruba replaces Josiah Morra in McGrath’s 13-man team as Canada returns to the field after their triumphant victory in Singapore last month.
“It’s always difficult to back up after success,” McGrath said. “I have been impressed with how it’s affected the squad in a positive way. There is much more belief and determination around. We are there to be shot at, by all the teams and it is making sure that we are not overly confident.
“We were delighted by our success but understand that we are fighting to establish ourselves as a top eight team on a regular basis before we can compete for the cup consistently. The pressure of being defending champions will only really hit when we arrive in Paris, as I’m sure we will have much more media focus upon us.”
Canada claimed its first ever cup title after a thrilling 26-19 win over the USA, ending a 140 tournament draught. In Singapore, Canada outscored their opponents 138-88.
Luke Bradley, Jared Douglas, Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Isaac Kaay, Pat Kay, Luke McCloskey, John Moonlight and Matt Mullins join Zaruba in Paris as Canada seeks its sixth cup quarterfinal appearance of the season. Hirayama will captain the side.
Canada has been drawn into Pool A where they will face South Africa, Scotland and Japan. Canada is 0-4 against South Africa this season but is 2-1 against Scotland. Canada lost its only match-up with Japan in Sydney.
“We have a tough pool again as there are no easy games on the World Series,” McGrath said. “Japan are fighting for their place and Scotland will be looking to get back the form that made them potential title challengers before Xmas. South Africa has been the stand out team even with key players missing through injury. We have had varying degrees of success against them without being able to sustain it through a full game. Our challenge is to match them in all areas of the game.”
Last year, McGrath won his first ever cup title as a head coach in Paris as he guided Samoa to a 29-26 win over Fiji.
With two more tries, Moonlight will become just the third Canadian to register 100 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series career tries. He is also poised to become just the sixth Canadian to score 500 series points. Fuailefau is 10 points from becoming the 16th Canadian to score 200 series points.
Canada is currently ranked seventh in the season standings with 76 points and are 22-21-2 this season.
The Paris Sevens takes places May 13-14 and can be seen LIVE on www.worldrugby.org
Canada’s Paris Sevens Team (Name, club, hometown):
Luke Bradley – (UVic Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep) Port Alberni, BC
Jared Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (UVIC Vikes) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
Isaac Kaay – (UVic Vikes) Kamloops, BC
Pat Kay – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
Luke McCloskey – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Matt Mullins – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Belleville, ON
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable for Selection:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Head Coach – Damian McGrath
Assistant Coach – Lee Douglas
Physiotherapist – Danielle Mah
Analyst – Calum Ramsay
Manager – Brian Hunter
Strength & Conditioning — Gareth Lynch
Canada’s Paris Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada vs. Japan — 5:50am ET/2:50am PT
Canada vs. Scotland — 9:16am ET/6:16am PT
Canada vs. South Africa — 12:42pm ET/9:42pm PT