Dubai 7s 2019 - Men

December 07 2019


Harry Jones at Vancouver 7s 2019
© pjCARR

Canada Finish in 10th Place in First Tournament of 2019-2020 Series: FULL MATCH VIDEO



Canada went 1-3 at the tournament and the high differential in the win over Wales earned them a 10th place finish, better than their result last year and ahead of their 11th place overall last season. The positives were some nicely worked team tries and seeing some of the youngsters performing well when they got game time, Cooper Coats, David Richard and Theo Sauder. The biggest area for improvement is defence, Canada give up too many easy tries, they need to be able to apply more pressure and have a higher work rate on tracking back and cross cover. Kickoffs are another area needing improvement. Overall it seems a continuation from last season's form and we'll see how they do next week in Cape Town.

Fiji 40 - Canada 17

Canada got an early break in the game when Fiji were given a yellow in the first minute. Canada were able to capitalize with Harry Jones scoring out wide. Fiji got one back when they returned to full strength but then picked up another yellow. This time Fiji scored with 6 players for a 12-5 halftime score. Fiji get one right from the kickoff as Canada support players are caught staring at the ball, nice to see David Richard giving chase in defence though. Canada respond with a nice team try and Theo Sauder was integral to that showing some confidence in open field running and quick hands in passing - Nathan Hirayama closed the deal, 19-10. Canada get one off the kickoff with superb work by Jake Thiel who offloads to Harry Jones, now 19-17. It's all Fiji from here however as they add 3 tries. The first one again off the kickoff and Canada really needs to work on their kickoff defence, the positioning and reaction time of the support players is critical. The other two tries nicely worked by Fiji, if they have time and space they can work wonders with the ball and Canada don't apply much pressure on defence.

Full match video on CBC



Canada 1-1 on Day 2 and Qualify for 9th/10th Final Against Fiji: FULL MATCH VIDEO



NZ 31 - Canada 7

Not much to say about the match, it was 5 tries to 1 for NZ and Canada on current form weren't expected to be competitive in the match. All 12 players got into the match, Cooper Coats started ahead of Pat Kay was the only change in the starting 7. A lot of disappointing tackling by Canada in the match, NZ were up 19-0 at the half. NZ got a yellow card to start the second half and Canada capitalized with Hirayama scoring the try. The next NZ try really highlights Canada's defensive problems, inside the NZ 22 the NZ player is one on one against Isaac Kaay 15 metres from the sideline, he just pins his ears back goes around Kaay and runs 80 metres untouched. NZ were still down a man. NZ score one more for a 31-7 final.

Match video on CBC

Canada 31 - Wales 14

It was nice to see Canada win one match this tournament and due to some changes in the World Rugby series playoff structure, Canada finds itself right into the 9th place final (aka Bowl Final) against Fiji. Fiji will likely be very upset not making the Cup round which could make for a long match for Canada but Canada ensured a 10th place finish which is better than their series standing last year and better than their Dubai finish last year. It appears World Rugby has eliminated, at least for this tournament, the Plate playoff for 5th place and slotted teams directly from pool play into 9th/10th, 11th/12th, 13th/14th, 15th/16th matches. The top two teams from each pool went into the Cup round, the best 3rd place team (Fiji) and 2nd best 3rd place team (Canada) go into the 9th/10th match. Canada were tied with 5 points with Ireland (-27 PD) and Spain (-56 PD) so the +17 win in this match gave them a final point differential of -14 and a guaranteed 10th place finish. World Rugby haven't put out a lot of information about this format whether it's just at tournaments co-hosted with the women or for all tournaments. It worked out for Canada at least.

The only change in the normal starting 7 was Berna in for Fuailefau. Berna gets the first turnover for Canada on a successful jackal, Braid gets Canada's first knock on. Wales score first as Harry Jones is put on his backside with a fend as he tries a tackle standing upright. Canada come back with a well worked team try with Isaac Kaay receiving the last pass. Mullins scores a try at the whistle showing some pace on the outside and beating the sweeper, bonus for Canada is Wales picks up a yellow card during the tackle attempt. Hirayama is overheard giving some sage advice in the half time huddle, "let's not give up a bullshit penalty at the breakdown when were up a man". Isaac Kaay gets his second of the match on a solo try when he dumbfounds the defence with a hint of a pass and then steps through the gap. Canada now up 19-7 with Wales still down to 6. Berna scores next with a strong fend on the defender, teams are even strength now, 24-7. Wales get one back with some clever footwork beating Morra on defence and Cooper Coats not quite able to stop him tracking back on defence, good effort though by Coats and if it was matched by another player they would have stopped the try. Cooper Coats shows some extra effort on attack and scores a nice solo try to finish the match and give Canada the differential needed to make the 9th/10th final.

As an aside it's interesting to note that the Germany Development team with former Canada coach Damian McGrath at the helm will compete in the 9th/10th match tomorrow in the associated Invitational tournament.

Match video on CBC


Canada Lose to Samoa in Game One - Face NZ & Wales on Day 2: FULL MATCH VIDEO



Canada started out well against Samoa, Hirayama missed the kickoff but the ball bounced beyond the 10 metres and it was game on. Samoa made the first error, a knock on, Canada capitalized and put it through several phases to score with a walk over try by Hirayama under the posts. They looked very smooth in the opening two minutes.

A couple of minutes later Samoa opened the Canadian defence like a can of sardines. Pat Kay looked like he over-committed on the chase leaving a large gap for a cut back pass, Morra couldn't quite complete the tackle on the cross cover and Samoa scampered in with only Jones and Hirayama giving chase. It brought up shades of recent years where the Canada defence was paper thin, once the line was breached it more often than not resulted in a try for the opposition. There just isn't the speed and numbers tracking back to create an effective scramble defence. Canada had to work multiple phases patiently for their try, Samoa just needed one line break to put their try on the board.

Canada again take the lead, very patient with ball in hand, not making handling errors, securing the breakdown, multiple phases and Josiah Morra finishing it off on the outside. On attack Canada are looking good with the starting seven. It's 12-7 with two minutes left in the half.

Samoa get one right back, Canada haven't been precise on their kickoffs, they've lost all 3 so far. Again it's defensive speed undoing Canada, another long distance try with little cross cover defence. It's 12-12 at the half.

Samoa get a yellow card in the first minute and it's Canada's chance to take control of the match. Canada get turned over on their first attack as Isaac Kaay gets called for holding on with Pat Kay just a tad too slow getting to the breakdown. Canada pick up 4 penalties in a row, they're too eager to turn the ball over and their jackaling form is poor, one penalty to Josiah Morra for not rolling away. Braid finally seems to get one right but the ref pings him on that one as well. The ref calls Samoa on the next breakdown for playing the ball on the ground. The referee is all over the place on his interpretation of the breakdown, one of the frustrating parts of 7s rugby. Canada now have possession with a man advantage but a Morra pass gets tipped ahead by Samoa and the teams are back at even strength with Canada's put in to the scrum.

Phil Berna comes on for Isaac Kaay who has looked a little tentative in his first match of the series. Canada are moving the ball down the field, looking one pass away from scoring but Hirayama drops a ball that hits him in the hands, that's a bit of a groaner and Hirayama looks upset with himself. Fuailefau comes off next with Mullins coming on. Fuailefau started like a house on fire in the first couple of minutes but has gone quiet in the rest of the match.

Samoa score to go ahead with 2 minutes left, it's another long range try from 50 metres out, beat one defender and you're in against Canada. Zero cross cover from the other side of the field, no one with the speed and inclination to run down a breakaway runner.

Canada do have a chance to tie, a penalty 10 metres out with 4 seconds left. Cooper Coats is on now and he's looked sharp bringing some energy to the attack, unfortunately he and Berna get their signals mixed up, he pops it up from a tackle to Berna with the line beckoning, Berna has his head down to secure the ruck, it falcons off Berna's head and the whistle blows.

It's the first look at the team in a series tournament this season, there's not much change from their form last year where they finished in 11th place. Their defense is paper thin, there's not much robustness and cross cover and tracking back are rarely seen. Not sure if that's because players are conserving energy or it's just not rewarded in player selection. Canada ran up a large penalty count at the breakdown, players need to improve on technique and decision making on when to try the jackal and when to move on. Also several penalties for players getting caught on the wrong side at the ruck, this is somewhat due to their passive tackling technique and often losing the contact battle instead of driving the ball carrier backwards. Their attack is methodical and relies on multiple phases and winning the ruck. They don't have the speed to score long range tries, especially with Justin Douglas out. The loss of Adam Zaruba was a blow as he looked sharp in the preseason tournament. They play NZ next, a long shot of a win, then finish off against Wales.

Full match video on CBC



Canadian Men's Team Announced for Dubai 7s - Dec 5-7



The first tournament for the men in the 2019-2020 series and it will be interesting to see how they perform under the new coach.

Looking at the 2018 team that went to Dubai there are a few changes, missing are Admir Cejvanovic, Andrew Coe, Justin Douglas, Lucas Hammond, Luke McCloskey. Taking their place are Cooper Coats, Phil Berna, Mike Fuailefau, Harry Jones, David Richard. Some of the changes are due to injury, both then and now, and some may be due to selection. Cole Davis another player missing due to long term injury who is being carefully managed.

These were last year's results for comparison purposes.

Day 1 Results
England 26 v Canada 12
Australia 31 v Canada 19
Canada 27 v Japan 7
Day 2 Results
Canada 38 v Zimbabwe 5
Canada 12 v France 28

Canada this year face Samoa, NZ and Wales. A 2 for 3 result and a Cup placement would definitely be an improvement. A 1 for 3 result would be the same as last year although Japan are a step down from any of this year's Day 1 opponents. Looking forward to see how they do and good luck to the team.

from Rugby Canada

LANGFORD, BC (November 26, 2019) – Head coach Henry Paul has named his squad that will travel to Dubai and Cape Town for the first two stops of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, December 5-7th and December 13-15th, 2019.

Dubai marks the first tournament of the season for the team. Canada had a busy off season, securing Olympic qualification at the Rugby America’s North 7s tournament in the Cayman Islands before taking home silver at the Pan-American games in Peru. Canada comes into the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series ranked 11th.

“We’re coming in off the back-end of a 12-week pre-season and the guys are looking fit,” said head coach Henry Paul. “We had a trial match as part of our pre-season prep and had a chance to take a look at our systems. It’s step one in what’s going to be a tough year for selections. We’ve got guys who are really raring to go and ready to put their hand up for spots.”

Veterans Nathan Hirayama and Harry Jones will co-captain the squad with Connor Braid returning from an injury that kept him out of the Olympic qualifier. Youngsters Cooper Coats and Josiah Morra find themselves in the line-up after putting on impressive performances at the Paris Sevens and Pan-Am games.

Coming in as the 13th man is David Richards, a member of the Pacific Pride Performance Academy. Richards played in his first international senior national tournament at the Hong Kong 7s last year and helped lead Canada’s Under-20 team through the World Rugby Junior Trophy Qualifiers last June.

Canada will compete in pool C against Samoa, New Zealand, and Wales.

“It’s tough opposition," added Paul. "You know, nothing tougher than Samoa, New Zealand, and Wales. So we couldn’t have asked for a better draw to really test ourselves against the best,” added Paul. “We’re on a good pathway now but it needs to be tested in that game environment so we can keep building, keep looking for ways to grow through this season.”

Fans can watch the Dubai and Cape Town 7s LIVE on CBC Sports and the CBC Gem App with updates available on World Rugby 7s channels.

Canada's Roster:

1. Phil Berna (Vancouver, B.C.) – UBC Thunderbirds
2. Connor Braid (Victoria, BC) – James Bay AA
3. Cooper Coats (Halifax, N.S.) – Halifax Tars
4. Mike Fuailefau (Victoria, BC) – Castaway Wanderers
5. Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, B.C.) – Unattached – Co-Captain
6. Harry Jones (West Vancouver, B.C.) – Capilano RFC – Co-Captain
7. Isaac Kaay (Kamloops, BC) – UVIC Vikes
8. Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.) – Castaway Wanderers
9. Josiah Morra (Toronto, Ont.) – Toronto Saracens
10. Matt Mullins (Belleville, ON)– James Bay AA
11. Jake Thiel (Abbotsford, BC) – Abbotsford RFC
12. Adam Zaruba (North Vancouver, B.C.) – Capilano RFC
13. David Richard (Milton, ON) – Mississauga Blues

Canada’s Dubai Schedule:

Day 1- Dec 5

Canada vs Samoa- 8:06am ET/ 5:06am PT

Day 2- Dec 6

Canada vs New Zealand- 2:36am ET / 11:36pm PT (Dec 5)

Canada vs. Wales- 8:06am ET / 5:06am PT

Broadcast: cbc.ca/sports & the CBC Gem App

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