Punta del Este 2018

January 07 2018

Josiah Morra - Maple Leaf 7s at Punta del Este 2018

Canada Finish 11th at Tournament After First Win 33-7 Over Paraguay

It went pretty well much as expected and the same as last year and the year before. There's no doubt some change is required in the Maple Leaf structure if the team is to succeed.

Canada started the day against USA and gave them a 26-0 lead going into the half, Canada did all the scoring in the second half to tie the game. It went into OT and USA won.

That put Canada into the 11th/12th place match and they won that in convincing style. There were changes made from the previous match with Campbell, Hammond, Bradley, Vertkas sitting the bench and Nieuwesteeg, Hager, Wainwright, Hancock getting the start. Canada scored 5 tries by Nieuwesteeg, Richard, Hancock, Thiel and Morra.

The player of the tournament for Canada was young David Richard, he's U18 eligible so will no doubt be a key part of Robin MacDowell's team at Vegas when they try to qualify for the Youth Olympics.

Canada go at it again next weekend in Chile at Vina del Mar.

Canada 0-3 at Punta del Este on Day 1 Face USA in Consolation Round on Day 2

There weren't many surprises for Canada on Day 1 as they went 0-3. The Round 3 match vs Argentina was winnable and Canada were ahead by 3, 22-19 as time expired but the defensive structure and commitment weren't there as Argentina scored the final try to win 26-22. Earlier Canada lost to Ireland who go into Day 2 ranked #1, 33-5 was the score.

David Richard the young player from Ontario looked good in the Argentina match scoring twice, Tevaughn Campbell also got a chance to stretch his legs and score a try.

Round 2
France 29-5 USA
Brazil 17-12 Uruguay
Ireland 33-5 Canada
Argentina 14-12 Columbia
Chile 21-12 Germany
South Africa 45-0 Paraguay


Consolation Bracket

9 Columbia v 12 Paraguay
10 Canada v 11 USA

Cup Round

1 Ireland v 8 Germany
4 South Africa v 5 Uruguay

2 Chile v 7 France
3 Brazil v 6 Argentina

ROUND 3 ACTION (Canada v Argentina game at end)

Canada Fall 26-12 to Colombia in First Match: Next Up Ireland

It was always going to be tough looking at the roster, add to that the disruption of lost luggage, and Canada will be hard pressed to get a win on Day 1. Colombia was their best shot and after Morra and Campbell teamed up to put Canada up 5-0 there was a glimmer of hope but Colombia answered back with 26 straight points. Ethan Hager scored one at the end.

In other action in Canada's pool C, Ireland surprised Argentina and went out to a 24-0 lead before easing into a 38-5 win. Early favourites in the tournament look to be Ireland and South Africa.

Grupo A | Chile 21-12 Alemania
Grupo A | Sudáfrica 45-0 Paraguay
Grupo C | Argentina 5-38 Irlanda
Grupo C | Colombia 26-12 Canadá
Grupo B | Brasil 20-26 Francia
Grupo B | Uruguay 22-12 USA

There was a choppy video feed on facebook (embedded below) that shows portions of the Canada match.

Canada’s Maple Leafs Roster:

1 Josiah Morra
2 Kevin Vertkas
3 Mitchell Baines
4 Ryan Nieuwesteeg
5 Tevaughn Campbell
6 Ethan Hager
7 Luke Bradley
8 David Richard
9 Jake Thiel
10 Marcello Wainwright
11 James Hammond
12 Alex Colbourne
13 Elias Hancock

Maple Leaf Team Selected for South American Tournaments: Punta del Este Schedule

The team representing Canada in the South American tournaments this month shows a mix of experience and youth. There are 5 core members returning from the Dubai team - Bradley, Morra, Thiel, Hammond and Campbell. Tevaughn Campbell is getting his second 7s tournament under his belt so is far from an experienced player, that leaves four core experienced players on the side. Noticeable omissions are Luke McCloskey and Jared Douglas, we're not sure if they've been bumped to the top team, are injured or just not selected. [ed. apparently McCloskey and Douglas are absent to provide cover for the senior 7s team who will be losing a couple of players to XVs for the Uruguay tests.]

Two of the players have Maple Leaf experience at the Langford 7s, Kevin Vertkas and Ethan Hager. Two players came from the CFL Combine, Ryan Nieuwesteeg and Mitchell Baines. Nieuwesteeg shows up on cfl.ca as from Guelph, 5'7" and 170 lbs wide receiver. Baines is also a wide receiver but 6'2" and 215 lbs, from Ottawa. We're not sure how much rugby experience they have.

Wainwright would have gone to the Dubai 7s but was injured. David Richard looks to be very young, 16 or 17 if he's the player from Mississauga Blues. Elias Hancock was playing U19 last year but caught the eye of coaching staff at the Dubai Invitational tournament, he's from the Bytown Blues.

Canada hasn't done well on the South American 7s tours, usually finishing near the bottom so there's not a high expectation put on this team. The South American teams play very physical and Canada usually gets beaten at the breakdown where they don't match the physicality. Canada are bringing some small players into the mix on this tour, it will be interesting to see how they fare. Canada can put 7 players on the field with previous Maple Leaf experience but one is just learning rugby although a phenomenal athlete.

From the outside it appears the coach is throwing some players into the deep end to see if they have what it takes to go further. It would be nice to be competitive in these tournaments and have more local tournaments to vet some of these players. Hopefully as 7s grows and the domestic infrastructure improves we'll be able to achieve that goal.

Canada's first tournament is Punta del Este in Uruguay. They are in a pool with Argentina, Colombia and Ireland. Argentina usually win the tournament or end up in the final. Fiji aren't there this year but South Africa are and those two teams would be favourites. Canada's best chance of a win on Day 1 will be Colombia, their first match. Ireland are difficult to handicap as it depends which players they select. Chile is one of the most improved teams and expect them to do well at the tournament, Germany surprised Canada at the Olympic Qualifiers in Monaco a couple of years ago, defeating our top team.

The South American teams ranking at the two tournaments will decide which two (beside Argentina) will go to the World Cup in San Francisco. Also they will go to Hong Kong to attempt qualification for the Sevens Series in 2019, plus get invited to Vegas and Vancouver. So lots on the line for the South American teams, early picks would be Chile and Brazil or Uruguay.

The top two teams from the three pools advance to the Cup competition plus the top two 3rd place teams.

Punta del Este January 6-7
Vina del Mar January 13-14

Pools Punta del Este


South Africa



Luke Bradley (Dubai)
Josiah Morra (Dubai)
Jake Thiel (Dubai)
Tevaughn Campbell (Dubai)
James Hammond (Dubai)
Kevin Vertkas (Langford 7s)
Ethan Hager (Langford 7s)
Mitchell Baines (CFL combine)
Ryan Nieuwesteeg (CFL combine)
Marcello Wainwright (injured for Dubai) (Toronto Saracens)
David Richard (Mississauga Blues)
Elias Hancock (Bytown Blues)

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