Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2019

July 07 2019


Canada Qualify for 2020 Olympics at RAN 7s
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Canada Qualify for 2020 Olympics with 40-5 Win Over Jamaica: MATCH VIDEOS



The script went according to plan with Canada having a relatively easy tournament with the absence of their one main competition, USA, who had qualified through a top 4 finish in the World Rugby 7s Series. Following on from a +151 Day 1 differential they defeated Guyana 47-5 in the QF, Bermuda 55-0 in the semis and Jamaica 40-5 in the final.

The pressure of the final match showed early on in Canada's style of play as they weren't risking spinning it wide, they were going direct route, secure the ruck and keeping it simple. Who did interim coach Henry Paul trust to start in this final: Hirayama, Jones, Kay, Kaay, Fuailefau, Mullins, Coe.

Pat Kay scored first but then Mullins threw a wild pass and Hirayama lost one against the head on his put in to the scrum and a little twinge of nervousness rippled through the Canadian rugby community glued to their computer screens. A penalty against Canada and now Jamaica had their first chance of attack, how would they do? Not much it would seem as they were more nervous than Canada and managed just one pass before they dropped the ball. It was still a little tentative on the field at 5-0 and over 5 minutes gone before Canada added another by Coe and Hirayama converted for a 12-0 lead. Canada effectively sealed the deal by half time with one more converted try but again Canada went the difficult route, Fuailefau threw a messy pass to the support runner, Isaac Kaay, who showed a bit of brilliance by tapping the ankle level pass with his foot, up to his hand and romped in. That seemed to settle the team down and sent them to half time ahead by 19-0.

Jamaica scored first in the second half to make it interesting at 19-5 but then it was all Canada with Coe and Kaay teaming up to make it 26-5 and then the subs came on to finish out the match. Isaac Kaay and Andrew Coe played some of their best rugby in the final match, hopefully a sign of increasing confidence for next season. The PanAm games are in 3 weeks, Canada haven't announced their team, whether they'll send their full squad or a development squad remains to be seen. The competition will be a higher grade with Argentina, USA, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil some of the teams involved.

Congratulations to the team, and a mention to former coach Damian McGrath who brought them to this point.

Canada v Guyana


Canada v Bermuda


Canada v Jamaica



Canada Cruise Through Day 1 with 3-0 Record and +151 Differential: Start Quarter-Finals Tomorrow



As expected Canada cruised through Day 1 with a +151 differential knocking off Barbados 47-0 and then Mexico 49-5 before dominating Bermuda 55-0.

The only other country putting up similar numbers is Jamaica, downing Cayman Island 47-0 and Trinidad & Tobago 22-5. It looks certain Canada and Jamaica will meet in the final for a winner take all match.

Coach Henry Paul is giving everyone game time and the starting roster for Game 1 was Hirayama, Jones, Coe, Zaruba, Coats, Kaay, Berna with a full line change in the second half with Thiel, Mullins, Fuailefau, Kay, Morra coming on. Canada haven't really been tested yet, the only hiccup was a try on the outside from Mexico when the defender was caught napping.

There are a couple of Canadian refs in the tournament Julianne Zussman on the women's side and Dale Hall on the men's side.

Day 1 was streamed on YouTube, the CBC version of the matches (available in Canada) are below.

Canada v Barbados


Canada v Mexico


Canada v Bermuda


Canada Roster:

Phil Berna – UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
Cooper Coats -- Halifax Tars (Halifax, NS)
Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Nathan Hirayama – Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Cowichan RFC (Duncan, BC)
Josiah Morra -- Toronto Saracens (Toronto, ON)
Matt Mullins – James Bay AA (Belleville, ON)
Jake Thiel – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Adam Zaruba – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)



Canada Name Team for Olympic Qualifier: Braid and Davis Still Out



The Canadian men's team seem almost certain to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Rugby 7s after missing the 2016 Olympics. The women's team have already qualified. The most significant event on that pathway was the USA top 4 finish in the World Series which took them out of the North American regional qualifying picture. Now Canada have only to contend with teams unranked in the Rugby 7s world. World Rugby keeps a top 20 ranking in 7s based on teams invited into the World Series tournaments, Canada is the only country on that list at this qualifying tournament. Jamaica will go into the tournament ranked 2nd and will be in Pool B with Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Cayman Islands. Canada shares Pool A with Bermuda, Mexico and Barbados.

Two top players will miss the tournament due to injury, Cole Davis and Connor Braid are both out with injuries picked up during the season. They will be looking towards the 2019-2020 series to continue their 7s journey now. There's more than enough depth on the team however to handle a regional qualifying tournament minus world #2 ranked USA. The tournament starts July 6th and will be streamed on the Rugby Americas North YouTube and Facebook pages.

Canada Roster:

Phil Berna – UBC Thunderbirds (Vancouver, BC)
Cooper Coats -- Halifax Tars (Halifax, NS)
Andrew Coe – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Mike Fuailefau – Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
Nathan Hirayama –Unattached (Richmond, BC)
Harry Jones – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
Isaac Kaay – UVIC Vikes (Kamloops, BC)
Pat Kay – Castaway Wanderers (Duncan, BC)
Josiah Morra -- Toronto Saracens (Toronto, ON)
Matt Mullins – James Bay AA (Belleville, ON)
Jake Thiel – Abbotsford RFC (Abbotsford, BC)
Adam Zaruba – Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)

Canada’s Schedule (July 6, 2019):

Canada vs Barbados- 12:06pm ET/ 9:06am PT
Canada vs Mexico- 2:40pm ET/ 11:40am PT
Canada vs. Bermuda- 5:36pm ET/ 2:36pm PT

from Rugby Canada

LANGFORD, BC (June 25, 2019) – Canada’s Men’s Sevens team has been named for the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Olympic qualifier in the Cayman Islands on July 6-7th, 2019.

Canada finished their 2018-19 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on an uptick, cracking the top eight in London before finishing it off with a Challenge Trophy win in Paris. Having finished ranked 11th they will now go on to fight for Olympic qualification at the RAN Sevens.

Bringing energy and pace to spare—Andrew Coe, Cooper Coats, and Josiah Morra join the lineup after all three had impressive showings at the last two stops on the series.

"We're all really focused heading into this tournament. There's a lot of good energy in the squad right now but we know we have a job to do," said interim head coach Henry Paul.

“We have seen some exciting attacking rugby from this group, but I think there is more that we are capable of producing. There's a lot of experience, talent, and drive here with a couple younger guys that are an exciting addition. We've been working hard these past couple of weeks to get ourselves ready on every level and I think it'll show in our performance."

The likes of veterans Harry Jones, Nate Hirayama, and Adam Zaruba bring their experience to the roster and an added hunger for qualification, having just missed out back in 2016.

“Obviously 2016 didn’t go the way we wanted it to,” said Harry Jones. “We’re doing everything we can to not only qualify for Tokyo 2020, but to prepare ourselves to medal at the Olympics.”

Canada will face off against Bermuda, Mexico, and Barbados on day one of competition (July 6) with playoffs and finals rounds on day two (July 7). Fans can watch the tournament LIVE on Rugby Americas North YouTube and Facebook channels. Stay tuned to Rugby Canada's channels for any updates.

Pemberton Holmes
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