Canada Defeat Wales - Lose to Argentina in Challenge Trophy Semis and Tournament Done
It's an improvement over Sydney - 5 series points instead of 3, the key was defeating Wales in the Challenge Trophy quarter-final 19-14. Justin Douglas scored twice and Nathan Hirayama once for the win. Kaay, Campbell and Thiel all got on in the second half.
Canada lost to Argentina 14-12, both Tevaughn Campbell and Luke Bradley got the start in this match as Harry Jones was injured from the previous match and Canada played with 4 subs, one more than their opponents Argentina as the injuries pile up for all teams. Bradley scored his second try of the tournament and Jared Douglas added a late one to make the game close.
There's 25 days for bodies to heal before the Vegas and Vancouver legs in March.
It was Tevaughn Campbell's first start in the Argentina match and it was apparent the amount of work that will need to go in to make him a rugby player. He has tremendous speed but doesn't seem inclined to use it on defence, something we've seen Baker and Isles have to learn and now excel at with the USA, tracking back to run down line breaks from behind. He's not a big, physical player so will have to learn how to manage contact while carrying the ball, the fend hasn't even been introduced yet. He was held up once and trundled into touch a couple of times. Then there's footwork, evasive running, getting in position on attack (behind the ball carrier), lots to work on in the following weeks and months. It will take a while and in the meantime he'll likely be an effective impact sub until his rugby education is complete, or at least more advanced.
Canada 0-3 on Day 1 - Face Wales on Day 2 in Challenge QF: Tevaughn Campbell Scores 1st Try - Video
It didn't go well for Canada on Day 1 in Hamilton with losses to USA, Kenya and Samoa, all games felt like they were winnable matches but the lack of depth on the bench was telling. Canada are missing several starters in Braid, Mullins, Hammond, and Fuailefau.
One bit of good news is that Tevaughn Campbell got his first try after just a couple of touches of the ball and a few minutes on the pitch as a sub. He looks like he'll be good once he gets a feel for the game and grows in confidence.
Luke Bradley scored his first try as well.
Canada 0-2 Losses to Kenya and USA: Next Up Samoa
Isaac Kaay scored two tries at 7' and 10' to keep Canada in the match. He reached his limit however as he waved furiously to the sideline to take him off after his last try. It's unfortunate as the bench isn't strong and McGrath was forced to make one sub in the game, the new sub ended up dropping a pass that ended the match when Canada were pressing for the go ahead score at the whistle. It ended 19-14 for Kenya.
It shows how much the team miss Braid, Fuailefau, Berna, Hammond - they're stretched very thin right now. McGrath looked ready to play his starting seven in the crucial Kenya match without subs, knowing this was a must win. Now that the team seem destined for the bottom 8 it may relax the sub rotation a bit and allow players to get more experience.
Samoa defeated USA so it is still possible that if Canada defeat Samoa and Kenya defeat USA there would be a three way tie for 2nd between Canada, Samoa, USA in which case point differential would come into play.
The Canada v Samoa match is at 9pm PT.
Canada Lose to USA 28-14 at Hamilton 7s - Next Up Kenya: Video Highlights
It looked promising with Canada going ahead 14-0 with tries by Hirayama and Moonlight. It was the genius of Hirayama to start the scoring with a chip ahead he collected and scored a great solo effort. Next was the power of Moonlight, thinking quickly, he tapped a penalty and surged through the USA defence.
Unfortunately outside of Hirayama and Moonlight the supporting cast didn't perform well.
USA scored the remaining 28 points including all the second half scoring. Jake Thiel will likely remember the time Danny Barrett ran over him and learn from the incident to come back stronger. Canada's tackling, similar to the XVs team, is not aggressive tackling but containment tackling, sometimes it works but sometimes aggressive runners will power through. In the case of Perry Baker he danced around Justin Douglas when Douglas had two shots at him. Douglas decided to ease up on the pursuit and return to the line where Baker beat him again, Hirayama was there to assist but Baker eluded him as well. Frustrating after all the good work done in the first half.
Tevaughn Campbell got his first senior cap when he came on for the last minute of the match, he got the ball, looked a little awed and passed it on. He was a defensive player in the CFL, there's still no evidence he'll take to the offensive part of the game and show the same zeal that Baker and Isles do for running the ball. It's still early and his confidence needs to grow a lot, he's still very much a rookie. Hopefully he'll get a chance to stretch his legs in later matches.
The team regroup for Kenya at 5:26pm PT live streamed on CBC Sports.
Canada at Hamilton 7s Update: 3 Sent Home, 3 Reinforcements, 3 Awaiting Recovery: Tevaughn Campbell on Main Stage for First Time
Lots happening with our men's 7s team in the antipodean 7s tournaments. Last weekend a rash of injuries hit and the team were down to 8 for the final match in Sydney. Commentators were generous with the witty comments about the lone sub having no one to chat with - at least there was no competition for being next to sub on. It wasn't so mirthful for the team or head coach Damian McGrath but it has to be taken in stride and managed as injuries are a part of life in rugby. It was exceedingly bad fortune to lose 6 players at the same time Braid and CJ were being appropriated by the XVs program.
So current head count is Berna, Hammond and Fuailifau heading home; Morra, Bradley and Tevaughn Campbell being flown in; Mullins, Kay and McCloskey there but tentative day to day. Mullins has a back strain, Kay a knee injury and McCloskey had a concussion assessment. McCloskey looks like he'll be good to go by tournament time but Kay and Mullins are still tentative. Canada may start the Hamilton, NZ tournament with less than 12 in the lineup. Coach McGrath has now used every player who is part of the carded program.
The starting roster would likely look like Moonlight, Hirayama, Jones, Thiel, Douglas, Douglas, Kaay, the healthy bodies with hopes McCloskey, Kay and Mullins are good to go by Saturday.
This could be Tevaughn Campbell's first time on the big stage, that's exciting news, a chance for him to show his world class speed. He's green in rugby terms so this is like getting thrown into the deep end but there were few options so we'll see what he brings if he makes the match day 12.
The team were heroic on the final day, down to 8 and 7 when Harry Jones left in the final match vs Scotland. If they can continue with that self-belief and mental toughness that got them through the last part of Sydney, they may do OK. Best of luck to the team, we'll be watching and cheering them on.
Canada kickoff against USA at 14:22, then Kenya at 17:26, finishing up with Samoa at 21:00. Those time are local PT on Friday, the tournament is Saturday and Sunday in NZ.