Canada Finish 11th at Dubai: USA 2nd in Olympic Qualifying Year
Canada finished 11th in Dubai and picked up 5 series points, that's exactly where they were last year after Dubai so you could argue after round 1, the strike had little impact on results. Canada eventually finished 9th in the series in 2018 after 10 rounds so check back in June to see if there's any variation this year.
Ironically the exciting news for Canada is that USA finished 2nd. If USA finish top 4 in the series then Canada's entry into the 2020 Olympics is almost assured as they'll win the North American qualifier, minus USA, with ease. The Americans on current form looking reasonable bets to meet that goal.
Last year the next stop, South Africa, was one of the best for Canada where they made the Cup round and claimed 15 points. We'll see how this year rolls.
The last match for Canada was their loss to France in the Challenge semi-finals. The full match is included below. They basically were out of the game 4 minutes in after France went up 21-0. The restarts, the defensive intensity, tackling - it's difficult to know where to start in terms of getting the team in playing form to compete in the Cup round. They looked OK with ball in hand when they could dictate the tempo but struggled in imposing themselves on defence. The contact area is a concern, even Zimbabwe who lost heavily to Canada, were able to turn the ball over at the breakdown a couple of times. There's several areas to improve for the next tournament.
Full Match Video vs France from Rugby Canada
Canada vs Zimbabwe, Challenge Trophy QF
Canada won their second match of the tournament against Zimbabwe, defeating them 38-5.
Justin Douglas scored first for Canada, putting him only two tries away from Sean Duke’s all-time try record. Matt Mullins had back to back tries to bring Canada up 17-0 at the half.
Adam Zaruba found Connor Braid for the try before scoring one of his own. Zaruba continued his supporting effort with a give and go to Pat Kay who touched down for Canada’s final try of the match. Three conversions by Nathan Hirayama and a score by Zimbabwe brought the final score to 38-5 for Canada.
Canada vs France, Challenge Trophy Semi Finals
Canada fall to France 28-12 in the Challenge Trophy Semi Finals.
France went up 21-0 on Canada quickly in the first half. Patrick Kay managed to get Canada on the board just before the break, receiving the offload from Isaac Kaay for the try. France were up 21-5 at the half.
With more offensive pressure from France, Adam Zaruba hustled back to make the try-saving tackle but received two minutes in the sin bin for not releasing. France utilized the man advantage to score their last try of the match. Before time was out, Connor Braid notched one more for Canada.
Canada’s Dubai Series ended with the 28-12 loss to France and an 11th place finish for the team. A hard-fought series Braid and Kay had strong performances, scoring 4 and 3 tries respectively.
The men will look to improve their finish in Cape Town for the second stop of the HSBC World Rugby Series, December 8-9th.
Matches will be streamed LIVE on cbcsports.ca.
Canada 1-2 in Pool Play - Drop to Challenge Round
There was a lot of speculation as to how Canada would come into the series after the labour dispute that saw the men's 7s team take work action that included walking away from the training pitch.
After watching Canada's first match of the series the answer seems to be, out of sync in terms of reaction time and physicality. The reaction time of the players was noticeably slower especially in their first match vs England. They were slow to react on defence and slow to react in support. Their physicality at the breakdown was below series standards. The result was that England pilfered ball many times at the breakdown when the support was slow to arrive and then ineffective in clearing out the jackler.
It was also interesting to note the interpretation at the breakdown varies significantly at this 7s tournament compared to the November Tests in XVs. In 7s there seems to be less onus on supporting your body weight and the time to effect the clearout is greatly reduced. The result is that the jackler can rest their torso on the tackled player, stretch their arms out and get the call almost immediately. The support player's reaction time is much more critical, something that was obviously lacking for Canada in its opening match. The Canada v England full match video is below.
Canada did get past Japan which was the good news and face Zimbabwe in the QF of the Challenge round.
Canada v England Full Match Video from Rugby Canada
Canada vs. England:
Canada start off the Dubai Sevens Series with a loss to England 26-12.
Matt Mullins was first to score for Canada but England’s Dan Norton quickly answered with a try, his 300th point, to put England in the lead. England added on one more before Justin Douglas broke through the line to score for Canada, going into the break at 14-12. Both Douglas and Nathan Hirayama are on pace to break Sean Duke’s all-time try scoring record for Canada.
A series of penalties from Canada gave England the advantage and they capitalized on it, scoring two more tries to give them the win, 26-12.
Canada vs. Australia:
Canada lose their second match of the day, falling to Australia 31-19.
Australia’s Lachie Anderson opened up the scoring with Canada’s Connor Braid following shortly after. After Australia scored two more tries, it was Braid who closed out the first half with his second try of the game. Nathan Hirayama added on two conversions, bringing it to 17-14 at the break.
In the second, Australia scored two tries in a row to widen their lead. In the final minute of play Luke McCloskey added on one more for Canada, getting the offload just before the try line and dotting it down. Australia finished 31-19 over Canada.
Canada vs. Japan
Canada closed out day one with an impressive 27-7 victory over Japan. Nathan Hirayama scored the opening points of the game, however Japan would respond through M. Kondo to level the score at 7-7 leading into the break.
The second half, however, belonged to Canada as they ran in four tries through Pat Kay, Justin Douglas and two from Andrew Coe to seal their first win of the day.
Canada will open day three of Dubai Sevens against Zimbabwe at 1:14am ET/10:14pm PT in the Challenge Trophy QF.
Watch all of the action LIVE on cbcsports.ca.
Damian McGrath Names Squad for Dubai: Adam Zaruba Back
Canada finished off last season's world series on a positive note, finishing 4th in Paris and 9th overall. The team starting this year is similar, Harry Jones is out recovering from shoulder surgery and likely won't be back until the new year. Mike Fuailefau is not on the list, not sure if that's an injury as well or a selection choice. Replacing them are Adam Zaruba, back in the 7s fold after a brief NFL career, and Jake Thiel.
Canada will face a stiff challenge first up with England, Australia and Japan. As usual in the 7s series a team will have to win 2 of the 3 pool matches to advance to the cup round. from Rugby Canada
LANGFORD, BC (November 22, 2018) – Head Coach Damian McGrath has named his 13-player roster that will travel to Dubai and Cape Town for the opening legs of the 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Seven’s Series.
Captaining the squad will be Nathan Hirayama, who led all points scorers in 2017-18 with 334 throughout the 10 stop series. Justin Douglas, who last season won the DHL Performance Tracker with 386 points and finished tied for 6th in most tries scored with 35, is also set to return to McGrath’s lineup to start the season. Vancouver’s Adam Zaruba returns from a two-year NFL contract with the Philadelphia Eagles to bolster Canada’s lineup.
Canada finished last season in an impressive 9th place and, with all eyes on qualifying for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, will look to continue their exciting form leading into a crucially important year. Stopping first in Dubai, they will face England, Australia, and Japan to open the season in pool D.
A competitive pool for Canada, England is coming off of a 2nd place finish in the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens and Australia finished last year 4th in the world.
Canada will then head to Cape Town, South Africa for the second stop of the series, December 8-9th to close out 2018.
Fans in Canada can watch every minute of the world series live on www.cbcsports.ca!
Canada Roster for Dubai and Cape Town:
1. Connor Braid – James Bay AA (Victoria, BC)
2. Admir Cejvanovic – Burnaby Lake RFC (Burnaby, BC)
3. Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
4. Justin Douglas – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
5. Lucas Hammond– Toronto Nomads (Toronto, ON)
6. Nathan Hirayama “C” – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
7. Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
8. Patrick Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
9. Luke McCloskey – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
10. Josiah Morra – Toronto Saracens (Toronto, ON)
11. Matt Mullins – Queen’s University (Belleville, ON)
12. Jake Thiel – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
13. Adam Zaruba – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Dubai schedule day one:
England vs Canada
11:14am local time (2:14am ET November 30/11:14pm PT November 29)
Australia vs Canada
3:20pm local time (6:20am ET/ 3:20am PT November 30)
Canada vs Japan
8:15pm local time (11:37am ET/ 8:37am PT November 30)