Canada Finish 4th in Paris - 9th in 2017-18 Series: Tournament Review
by BCRN 7s Correspondent
Canada left London’s Heathrow earlier in the week for Charles de Gaulle Airport in the French capital. The short hop across the channel took less time than the endless waiting in Heathrow’s departure lounge, loading the Boeing, and the queue on the runway waiting for take-off clearance at one of the world’s busiest airports!
Nevertheless the jet lag will not be a factor – just the tedious airport waiting!
The pool assignment for Paris is encouraging:
Pool B: Canada, South Africa, Russia and Scotland
Having Scotland in our pool should be seen as beneficial since we need to take care of them in pool play and put them in our rear view mirror – they are snipping at our heels in the Standings and a victory over them (and Russia) would well keep them with no possibility of catching us at the tournament’s conclusion.
As it turned out Canada was in no mood to have anyone overtake them in the Series Standings and set off with a five try performance against the Russian team. Tries were scattered amongst the team – Hirayama, Jones, Douglas, Cejvanovic and Fuailefau all touched down for Canada as we routed and overwhelmed the Russians. Nathan Hirayama converted four of the five tries. Great start to the Paris tournament!
Canada 33 v Russia 7
Canada really got their game going against Scotland in this critical game – the determination and commitment was obvious and the result will have pleased the coach to no end. It was 12-7 at the half but it seemed Canada was on the verge of opening things up and that proved to be the case when the second frame got under way. We off-loaded with directness and the ball just kept going to hand as Justin Douglas finished movements off with three tries - one in the first half and another two in the second half. Once again Hirayama converted three tries and scored one himself. The win confirmed a spot in the Quarter Finals for Canada and also ensured the critical points required that will keep Scotland behind them in the final Series Standings.
Canada 26 v Scotland 14
South Africa was in no mood to relinquish their chance at winning the series in this game. After a subpar outing against Scotland the Africans pressured Canada right from the start with some tenacious tackling and immense pressure at the ball which Canada had a good amount of in the first half. Despite our possession the ball was turned over and South Africa immediately switched into their wide game and exposed Canada on the outside after the ball lay sitting at the back of the ruck. A yellow card to the hard working Braid with 1:32 on the clock seemed a bit harsh but regardless it didn’t help matters. A lineout play by South Africa was perfectly executed and it was 14-0 at half-time. The first half had too many turnovers by Canada at critical times and in the second half the Africans opened their game up when they had the ball and went the length of the field again for two more tries. It was hard to take after sustained periods of possession by the Canadian men who just couldn’t shake the excellent tacking by South Africa – it was the difference in the game – tackling and pressure and a final score saw South Africa go through with Canada to the Quarter-finals.
Canada 0 v South Africa 28
Cup Quarter-final - Ireland had a mixed first day in Paris with a close win over Spain, a draw against Wales and a solid victory against Australia giving them a berth in a very erratic cluster of results in Pool C. Regardless they are a team with skill and some speed and need to be feared. That said Canada started Day 2 on the front foot and were not in the mood to let Ireland take away the momentum they had established on Day 1 in Paris. Ireland got a try and that was their lot as Canada refused to buckle and allow them into the game. Nathan Hirayama, Pat Kay and Harry Jones scored tries for Canada and Hirayama slotted two conversions – it was a perfect start to the second day as Canada moved to the Cup Semi-finals!
Canada 19 v Ireland 5
Cup Semi-final - Nathan Hirayama continued his scoring spree on the second day against England with another try and a conversion – Pat Kay scored as well but it was all Canada could muster against an England team which turned their chances into tries. Norton scored almost immediately before Hirayama answered minutes later and it was 7-7 – game on! There were two more tries before the half as Pat Kay answered for Canada and it was 14-12 at the break. Hague scored his second try after the break as the game still hung in the balance but England sensed they needed more in order to secure a berth in the final and a converted try sealed Canada’s fate in this very competitive game. Canada plays for Bronze against New Zealand and some valuable series points.
Canada 12 v England 26
Bronze Medal Game – Despite the final score for the Bronze Medal Canada played well particularly in the first half and it was 10-5 at the half. But the New Zealand team applied continuous pressure into the second half and the things that went wrong for Canada we paid for in tries. Two penalties called against us left two players on the ground each time and the Blacks set off down the field before we could regroup. Hirayama was caught out wide and after he pushed the ball through behind the All Blacks the bounce escaped him by the thinnest of margins – the counter attack resulted in a New Zealand try and we couldn’t get a break anywhere despite the incredible effort of our team. Overall – a sound effort and a good tournament for Canada but going forward to the RWC in July it seems clear that our restarts in particular need to improve before then as the quality of the kicks-off by Hirayama does not reflect the outcomes we are getting presently and too many possessions which we so desperately need are going astray. Regardless – we end up 9th in the Series Standings and several players really improved over the course of the season. Well done Canada!
Canada 5 v New Zealand 38
Canada Sevens Team – Paris
Luke Bradley Port Alberni Black Sheep (Port Alberni, BC)
Connor Braid James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Andrew Coe Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Admir Cejvanovic Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
Justin Douglas Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Mike Fuailefau Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Lucas Hammond Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama Captain – Vikes Alumni (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay University of Victoria (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Luke McCloskey Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Matt Mullins Queen’s University (Belleville, ON)
Canada Make Cup Round: Face Ireland in Day 2 Quarter-Final
As expected Canada had to win two Day 1 matches against Russia and Scotland to advance to the Cup round. Also as expected they lost to South Africa. The only twist was South Africa lost to Scotland so had to defeat Canada to advance.
Canada will face the surprising Irish team who made the Cup round for the second time in a row despite not qualifying for core status. The Day 1 results mean Canada finish in 9th place in the series regardless of what happens on Day 2. from Rugby Canada
Day 1 (Saturday, June 9):
Canada 33-7 Russia:
Canada's Men's Sevens Team got off too a great start in Paris, producing one of their best performances of the season in an emphatic win over Russia. Canada looked to give the ball some air in this encounter and tactic paid off for Damian McGrath and his side, as they ran in five tries to one. The highlight being Canada's offload game, which lead to a couple of beautiful tries.
Mike Fuailefau reached a significant milestone, scoring his 50th try to bring up the half-century on the World Series. Nate Hirayama bagged 13 points, after an impressive kicking performance to take him back to the top of the 'Most Points Scored' standings.
Full-time: Canada 33-7 Russia
Tries - Hirayama, Jones, Douglas, Fuailefau, Cejvanovic
Conversions - Hirayama (4)
Canada 26-14 Scotland
Canada produced a second impressive performance, as they outplayed a strong Scottish outfit. Scotland were first to put points on the board but Canada hit back almost immediately, as Justin Douglas crossed for his first try of the game. It turned out to be the Justin Douglas show in Paris, the flying winger scoring another two to complete his hat-trick.
Nate Hirayama once again added a try and a few conversions to give Canada a convincing win over the Scots.
Full-time: Canada 26-14 Scotland
Tries - Douglas (3), Hirayama
Conversions - Hirayama (3)
Canada 0-28 South Africa:
South Africa were too good for Canada on the day, as the 'Blitzboks' ran in four tries to secure top spot in pool B. Tries from Ryan Oosthuizen and former World Player of the Year, Werner Kok gave South Africa a 14-point victory at the break.
Dewald Human and Seabelo Senatla added tries in the second-half to extend South Africa's lead. With time finished on the clock, Canada kicked the ball out to settle for second place in pool B and a spot in the cup quarterfinals.
Full-time: Canada 0-28 South Africa
Day 2 (Sunday, June 9):
Canada vs. Ireland at 4:35am ET/1:35am PT.
Follow the action LIVE on http://www.cbc.ca/sports.
Luke Bradley – Port Alberni Black Sheep (Port Alberni, BC)
Connor Braid – James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Admir Cejvanovic – Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
Justin Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Lucas Hammond – Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
Nathan Hirayama, Captain – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Luke McCloskey – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Josiah Morra - Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Canada vs. Ireland at 4:35am ET/1:35am PT.