Canada Close Out Tournament with Loss to Ireland 19-12: Finish 10th in 12 Team Tournament
A second loss to Ireland in two days saw the Canada side finish 10th in the 12 team tournament ahead of China and Tonga. China defeated Tonga 34-10 to finish 11th.
The top four teams in the tournament were Australia, England, USA and Chile. The Chilean team are an amateur team so Canada can't make the excuse that all the top countries are full time professional. The USA 7s are in a similar position to Canada with a group of centralized athletes but with a wider population base they're depth is better. Australia and USA advanced into the Cup final of the tournament to be played at 7:04 pm.
For Canada a chance for coach Damian McGrath to evaluate the players 6 through 17 on the depth chart. Five starters were left home but 7 players from this tournament will make the 12 going to Dubai and compete in the World Rugby series this year. In that context it's not a great start for the program but it's too early to predict how the series will go for Canada this year. They did win the Singapore tournament last year and it's a long season with plenty of time to improve and get things right.
The lack of speed on Canada was one noticeable area in comparing teams at the tournament, without Justin Douglas there weren't a lot of breakaway tries and defences were able to catch Canada from behind when they did make a break. There often were more opposition defenders than support players for Canada in those situations. Canada have a lot of big players but they need to leverage that better on both sides of the ball. More counter rucking to create some turnovers, more drawing in defenders to stop the big bodies, more offloads to faster players running attacking lines. The Canada defence wasn't up to standard as well with players dropping off cross cover support at critical times.
The team has 3 weeks of home training before heading off to Dubai so plenty of time to fine tune things. Coach Damian McGrath now has a realistic evaluation of where players 6 to 17 are in their progress for the upcoming season.
The Canada vs Ireland match is at 22:38 below.
Canada Run Up Score on Tonga, Face Ireland in Bowl Final
Canada ran up the score on a winless Tonga side 41-0. The starting roster of Kay, Underwood, Bradley, Cejvanovic, Berna, Morra, Douglas looked good against a weak Tongan side. The test will be in the second match vs Ireland, a team who dropped Canada to the Bowl round by defeating them in pool play. Ireland walked past China 38-5.
John Moonlight is being rested after landing on his shoulder yesterday. Liam Underwood may become the understudy of Nate Hirayama as play maker, although Pat Kay sometimes takes on that role as well. Jared Douglas improved his game from Day 1 showing some confidence in taking on the defence and breaking a few tackles.
The Canada v Tonga match is at 25:02 below.
Try by Jared Douglas vs Tonga
Canada Drop to Bowl Round After Loss to Samoa: Face Tonga in Bowl Semi
Canada started the tournament brightly defeating England but lost the next two to Ireland and Samoa to be relegated to the Bowl round. Teams making the Cup round include Chile, Japan, NZ, England, USA, Samoa, Australia, Fiji. Canada will play in the four team Bowl round with Ireland, Tonga and China.
Canada lost the Samoa match 17-12 and face Tonga in the Bowl semis at 11:22am. Tonga lost to Chile, USA and NZ. Chile has been the surprise team of the tournament so far.
For Canada a bit of disappointment, they're missing 5 starters, Nathan Hirayama, Mike Fuailefau, Lucas Hammond, Harry Jones and Justin Douglas but so are the other series teams who sent development sides. It's more a statement on Canada's depth right now which needs to improve. Two of the players in this tournament will be part of the starting seven in Dubai, likely Moonlight and one other. Then five others will be on the reserve bench. Liam Underwood, Pat Kay, Matt Mullins, John Moonlight were the best of the bunch in this tournament from this writer's perspective. Isaac Kaay seems to have bulked up a bit in the off season and perhaps lost a bit of speed. Phil Berna has potential but didn't really stand out. Admir Cejvanovic still looks a little out of sync after coming back to 7s. Luke McCloskey is busy on the field but his decision making sometimes lets him down. This tournament has shown that the players outside the starting 7 will have to up their game as the season progresses.
The video below shows the Saturday evening session, the Canada v Samoa match is at 1:11:57.
Canada Drop to 1-1 After 19-5 Loss to Ireland: Next Up Samoa at 7:16 pm
Canada dropped to 1-1 after losing to Ireland 19-5. That sets up an important match against Samoa at 7:16 pm. The top 8 teams in the 3 pool tournament go into the Cup round, that means the top 2 plus the top 2 best 3rd place teams.
The big story in the loss was the stone feet on defence of Canada's big men, both Matt Mullins and Isaac Kaay were left in the dust by a smaller Irish player on the outside. There may be dancing lessons for the big men until they learn to be lighter on their feet.
Matt Mullins had a fine break in the second half when Canada were up 5-0 with 6 minutes left in the game. It was a defining moment, there was one Canada player in support and four Irish players back in defence. Support was way too slow and the ball was turned over, it was all Ireland from there.
The Canada game is 1:11:15 into the video below which captures the afternoon session.
Canada Win First Match 19-10 Over England: FULL MATCH REPLAY
Canada won their first match 19-10 over England. They sit tied at the top of their pool with Samoa. They play Ireland next at 3:44 pm.
Australia, Japan and USA had big wins as well and Chile will be ecstatic that they defeated NZ 7-0.
The morning action is below, Canada's match vs England is at 46:37.
The live stream is on the USA 7s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/USASevens/
Silicon Valley 7s Starts Saturday: Canada in Pool with England, Samoa, Ireland
The Canada 7s team is in San Jose preparing for their first match vs England on Saturday at 11:44am. There's no word on whether a live stream is available, we'll post when we find out.
Canada sends down a fairly experienced squad with some young players like Jake Thiel, Luke Bradley and Josiah Morra getting a chance for more playing time. Admir Cejvanovic is playing his first 7s in almost 18 months, Berna, Kay, Underwood are returning from long term injuries. Players like Hirayama, Fuailefau, Hammond, Jones and Justin Douglas are being rested. Full Schedule
Saturday, November 4th
11:44 am PT Canada v England
03:44 pm PT Canada v Ireland
07:16 pm PT Canada v Samoa
Liam Underwood, Pat Kay, Phil Berna, Admir Cejvanovic, John Moonlight, Jake Thiel, Josiah Morra, Luke Bradley, Jared Douglas, Isaac Kaay, Matt Mullins, Luke McCloskey
Malon Al-Jiboori, Ben Pinkelman (C), Joe Schroeder, Matai Leuta, Ryan Matyas, Anthony Welmers, Folau Niua, Maka Unufe, Steve Tomasin, Chris Mattina, Kevon Williams, Martin Iosefo
Jasa Veremalua, Amenoni Nasilasila, Josua Kurinabuli, Eroni Vucago, Leo Naikasau, Nacanieli Batina, Alofosio Rauto, Manu Ratuniyarawa, Anare Tevita, Viliame Bolailai, Asesela Ratudamu, Netani Vakayalia