Vina del Mar 2018

January 14 2018

Jake Thiel - Maple Leaf 7s at Dubai Invitational 2017

Canada Finish 11th in Repeat of Last Weekend: Defeat Paraguay in 11th/12th Match

Canada finished the tournament strong with a 43-5 win over Paraguay for their only win of the weekend and a repeat of the Punta del Este last weekend. Scoring for Canada were Morra (2), Nieuwesteeg, Hammond, Vertkas, Colbourne and Thiel. The lopsided win at the end doesn't hide the fact that the men's Maple Leaf 7s program is in disarray. It's been that way for many years.

Unlike the women's Maple Leaf 7s program who are almost always competitive in the tournaments they enter, the men's program are almost always near the bottom in the international tournaments they enter. Funding is part of the issue, but even before the men's program lost its OTP funding last year it was under achieving.

World Series teams like France, South Africa, Argentina and USA who entered development teams in South America did better. The good news is USA who Canada have to beat to get to the Olympics only did marginally better but Argentina showed marked improvement between the first and second tournament. The players on the development team are supposed to be able to support the Series team when injuries hit but currently the gap is too wide in Canada.

In defence of the 7s program the XVs program is making inroads into their talent pool with the World Cup qualifier. The fact that Braid and Cejvanovic were called up had a trickle effect as Luke McCloskey and Jared Douglas were taken out of the Maple Leaf pool as cover.

Currently selection to the team is hit and miss, cross over athletes are trialed to see if anyone stands out, U18 players are thrown in the deep end to see if they can handle the pressure, it's used more to identify extraordinary talent, not to develop players.

This would be my plan, first change the name of the program, get rid of Maple Leafs and introduce Canada Academy. If you look at the two teams in the final today it's South Africa Academy vs France Academy. Academy denotes a development focus which is what is needed. Next I would put out Request for Proposals to the private sector, find out who wants to run the program, how much they will charge, what deliverables they offer, what metrics will be used to measure success, reporting structure, schedule, etc. There are already potential players in the market like Upright Rugby in Ontario, MacDowell Rugby in Saskatchewan, North Star Rugby in BC, Celtic Barbarians in Alberta (and others). With any luck the submitted proposals and budgets would allow a Canada West Academy and Canada East Academy to be selected. This information could also be presented to OTP to show there is a plan in place to improve the academy structure and get funding reinstated. It would also encourage private investment in the companies that were selected to run the programs. The Academy programs would also reach out to local tournament organizers to facilitate a full and coordinated domestic schedule to test the Academy players and allow other players to compete for Academy positions. It's a rough idea but built around letting private enterprise get more involved in implementing the program and Rugby Canada focused on managing the process.

Seven Vina Day 2 Results

9th place semis

USA 36 - Paraguay 10
Colombia 19 - Canada 5

Cup QF

Ireland 7 - Argentina 5
South Africa 26 - Germany 12
France 14 - Chile 7
Uruguay 14 - Brazil 7

Plate semis

Germany 12 - Brazil 5
Argentina 14 - Chile 7

Cup Semis

South Africa 26 - Uruguay 7
France 15 - Ireland 12


Canada 43 - Paraguay 5


USA 14 - Colombia 12


Chile 26 - Brazil 12


Argentina 33 - Germany 14


Ireland 12 - Uruguay 5

Cup Final

South Africa 34 - France 7

Canada 0-3 on Day 1 After Losses to Chile, Germany, Argentina

Not a good start for Canada as they go 0-3 at the SevenVina tournament in Chile.

David Richard, the young U18 player, continues to impress as he scored both tries for Canada in their loss to Argentina.

Canada face Colombia and USA play Paraguay in the semis for 9th place.

Chile 38 - Canada 0
Germany 17 - Canada 12
Argentina 31 - Canada 12

VIDEO (includes Canada v Argentina)



Canada in Pool with Argentina, Germany and Chile at SevenVina Tournament

[ed. last year's results and report are here.]

Chile – Canada’s Men’s Maple Leafs development team has arrived in Viña Del Mar, Chile for the Sevenviña Tournament and are looking forward to the second leg of their South American tour.

The Tournament will be streamed LIVE on FACEBOOK

Coach Lee Douglas:

“We didn’t quite get the results we wanted last week but lost two games on the final play of the match with Argentina and USA so we know we can be competitive but just need to improve in few areas and these may turn into wins for us. The other positives were that we got game time for some of our younger players and David Richard in particular was excellent and is an exciting prospect for the future.”

“We’ve done a lot of reviewing this week and worked on the areas which we were disappointed with in Punta. We feel that this extra week of being together, gaining more clarity of our roles and confidence in each other we will improve our team performances and play some good rugby and be very competitive in each game.”

“We have a lot of individual talent and the challenge has been trying to play together as a team with extremely limited preparation, and i think we have made big strides in accomplishing that. To think we had three players from CFL of which for two of them was their first ever games of Rugby, they have integrated extremely well and we’ve been really impressed on how quickly they have picked the basics of the game up. It was great seeing Ryan scoring two tries on his first ever 7’s tournament.”

Canada’s Maple Leafs Roster:

Josiah Morra
Kevin Vertkas
Mitchell Baines
Ryan Nieuwesteeg
Tevaughn Campbell
Ethan Hager
Luke Bradley
David Richard
Jake Thiel
Marcello Wainwright
James Hammond
Alex Colbourne
Elias Hancock

Maple Leafs’ Staff:

Lee Douglas – Head Coach
Andrew Hall – Assistant Coach
Jason White – Athletic Therapist

Canada Maple Leafs Team day one schedule:

Canada vs Chile 1:00pm local time (11:00am ET/ 8:00am PT)
Canada vs Germany 4:00pm local time (2:00pm ET/ 11:00am PT)
Canada vs Argentina 7:40pm local time (5:40pm ET/ 2:40pm PT)

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