Dubai 7s 2017 - Men

December 02 2017

Nathan Hirayama - Canada 7s 2016
© pjCARR

Canada Finish Tournament in 11th/12th Place After Loss to France

Canada's two wins in the tournament over USA and Uganda gained them 5 points and a tie with Argentina for 11th place. Below them are Wales, USA and Russia with the bottom team at the end of the series losing their spot for next season. USA are no doubt the shock of the tournament, after they lost Perry Baker to concussion they spiraled out of control. The national team coaches may want to collaborate on some preparatory North American tournaments next season to get them up to speed faster.

Canada fared a little better with the one win but were not able to get past France, losing 28-21. France went on to win the Bowl Final or as they call it now, the Challenge Trophy.

Mullins opened the scoring, France replied, Fuailefau put Canada ahead again put France tied it up at the half 14-14. Braid and Douglas subbed on and Moonlight put Canada back in the lead. However France finished with two late tries to win the match.

Canada Defeat USA 10-5 in Challenge Trophy Quarter-Final

It wasn't pretty, actually it was pretty ugly with the teams looking like two heavyweights standing toe to toe and slugging it out. There wasn't a lot of finesse or speed but a lot of smash ahead rugby. By the end both teams were so fatigued it looked like they had trouble moving their arms, let alone their feet. It did provide some entertainment however, it always does beating the Americans but it won't go down in the textbook as a chapter on how to play champagne rugby 7s.

USA scored first through Pinkleman at 6 minutes, Canada equalized through Berna at 11 minutes and then it was a stalemate. Hirayama kicked the ball out at full time as the team needed a rest. USA won the toss and elected to kick the ball off in extra time. Braid and Douglas were the overtime heroes, Braid making the break and Douglas finishing it off.

Neither Canada or USA have looked like they're in tournament form yet, fitness in the heat for both teams looked an issue. Good heart shown by the players in getting the win as it was obvious some of them were barely able to pass and run in extra time due to fatigue, Douglas being one player who looked fit even in extra time.

Canada face France in the Challenge Trophy semi-final.

Canada Out of Cup Round After 1-2 Day One: Meet USA in QF for Challenge Trophy

Canada lost to South Africa 28-0 in their final match of Day 1, coupled with the earlier loss to Kenya it relegates Canada to the bottom 8. They will face USA who also had a slow start to the season.

In the Cup round it will be South Africa v Samoa; Fiji v Scotland; NZ v Kenya; England v Australia.

Canada’s Dubai Schedule on Friday, December 1:

Canada 15 - 29 Kenya
Canada 22 - 17 Uganda
Canada 0 - 28 South Africa

Canada Squeeze Past Uganda 22-17 in Second Match After Losing to Kenya 29-15

After losing to Kenya, Canada narrowly escaped Uganda winning 4 tries to 3. Canada are not playing up to last year's standard so far in the tournament and have the daunting task of South Africa next. South Africa destroyed Kenya 48-5 in their matchup. Canada will have to defeat South Africa to advance to the Cup round or hope Uganda upset Kenya and rely on a three-way tie breaking scenario.

Starters in the match were:

3 Fuailefau
4 Moonlight
11 Jones (C)
8 Douglas
10 Kay
9 Hirayama
2 Braid

Mullins and Hammond lost their starting spots from last match to Braid and Kay. Both Kay and Braid played well, Kay scoring the first try and Braid setting up a try.

Canada Lose First Match at Dubai 29-15 to Kenya

The World Rugby announcer summed it up nicely, "You have to stand up physically first and foremost". Canada didn't, their effort bordered on embarrassing in terms of physicality and intensity. Before excuses about money for pre-season tournaments come out you have to ask what Kenya did for pre-season preparation because they came out prepared both physically and mentally. Some of the starting players for Canada look they had just wandered out from Club Med and found the intensity and physicality suprising. That's an issue for next year in terms of preparation, now the question remains, how long will it take for the team to get into tournament form?

Canada made the World Rugby highlight reel but in the wrong way, showing poor defence on a dummy. There isn't much competition for spots preseason so players aren't pushed at all before the first tournament and it showed in this match.

Starting roster for Canada was:

3 Fuailefau
11 Jones (C)
4 Moonlight
1 Mullins
9 Hirayama
8 Douglas
7 Hammond

Hirayama started Canada off well with a 5-0 lead then Canada gave up three straight tries for 19-5 deficit. Braid and Underwood came on in the second half, Braid looked like he wanted to play some rugby. Kenya scored one more, then Kay and Berna came on. Kenya scored another try, the one that made the highlight reel. Isaac Kaay subbed on. Patrick Kay scored two late tries to make the scoreline more respectable.

It will be interesting to see if the "starters" come out with any intensity in the next two matches, especially the next game against Uganda. If they don't it could get even more embarrassing.

Pemberton Holmes
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