Editorial – May 2024

What is Ailing the Men’s 7s Team and a Look at the Repechage Tournament

The Canadian men’s 7s team have lost 25 games in a row, they’ve finished last in all events except one. They’re entering the repechage tournament in Madrid in 19 days, it’s an 8 team tournament with the top 4 teams remaining in the series next season. We already know Canada are in a pool with USA and the remaining two teams in their pool will be chosen from the top four group of the Challenger series, currently Uruguay, Kenya, Chile and Germany. There’s one more Challenger tournament this coming weekend in Germany to decide the final Challenger rankings.

World Rugby ran a Singapore preview where they shared some interesting stats on each team, listed below is their analysis of Canada.

  • Canada have scored the least number of tries on the series
  • Canada have the least number of visits to the 22 compared to other teams in the series, however their completion rate once inside the 22 is high (92%) based on LA and Hong Kong stats.
  • They have the highest average for carries per game (25.1) but the 3rd lowest line breaks (1.9) so they have the worst ratio of line breaks per carry, 1 line break per 13.2 carries.
  • They have conceded the most tries on the series, and hold the record for most tries scored against a team in a tournament with 24 in Hong Kong.
  • They have the lowest tackle completion-rate of any team this season with 64%

The picture seems pretty clear.


NZ and Fiji have tackle completion rates of 85%, the top priority for Canada is improve defense and tackle completion percentage. The question then becomes why is Canada’s tackle completion rate so low? Is it a low work rate on cover defence, too many arm tackles, a passive defensive structure, the possible reasons are many. The technical analyst should have the answers and selectors need to choose players who are putting up good numbers on defence and showing a high work rate on defence.

Line breaks, why does Canada have the poorest ratio of line breaks to carries? Is there too much focus on side to side movement, is it confidence, are they coached to be cautious, are they not selecting the right players, does their strategy not identify gaps in defence?

Canada has a great completion percentage when they get inside the 22, what strategies can they implement to get more ball inside the opposition 22? Do Canada have a kicking strategy? Kicking in 7s is generally frowned upon but some teams like South Africa have been very effective in using the kick and chase. A strong defensive lineout could put pressure on ball inside the opponents 22. Canada have been caught trying to run the ball from inside their 5 metres, usually leading to disastrous results, indicating they haven’t put a lot of thought into the kicking aspect of 7s.

It seems simple when you say play better defence, work harder on defence, make your tackles, create more line breaks, play more of the game inside the opposition 22, score more tries – yet in practice it’s not so simple. There’s a team of ‘experts’ at Rugby Canada, from High Performance Director Stephen Aboud down to coach Sean White, along with the technical analysts and consultants they bring in, it’s their job to figure out how to get the job done.

Good luck, we’re expecting a top four finish in the repechage tournament.

from World Rugby Singapore Preview

Canada have finished 12th at five of the six events this season, and will compete in the relegation play-off in Madrid.

  • Their best result came in Cape Town, finishing seventh.
  • They will be looking to end a 20-game losing streak [now 25] dating back to their opening pool game in Perth. This is their longest losing run in SVNS history.
  • Their last victory came against France in the seventh-place play-off in Cape Town.
  • They have won just three of 30 games [35 games] played this season, against New Zealand, Samoa, and France in Cape Town, winless in Dubai, Perth, Vancouver, Los Angeles and Hong Kong [and Singapore]

They have only been within seven points in six of their 27 losses this season.

Try scoring has been an issue this season, with the least of any team after six rounds (52) from the fewest visits (75) to the opposition 22. They are averaging 8.7 tries per tournament his season, almost four less than their 2023 Series average of 12.5.

  • They scored just four tries in Hong Kong, their lowest tournament total in their history.
  • Fifty per cent of their tries scored this season have originated from set-piece, the joint-highest ratio alongside Argentina.
  • They have only made a combined total of 12 visits to the opposition 22 across the past two tournaments, but have made the most of their limited chances and have scored 11 tries (92% success-rate).

They have only led at the break on six occasions this season, and just once since Cape Town. They have only converted 50% of these half-time advantages into victories.

  • They will look to start strongly after being held scoreless in the first-half of four of their five games in Hong Kong. [In Singapore they were scoreless in the first half of two games and scoreless the full game against Argentina]

Their attack is averaging a competition-high 25.1 carries per game, but the third-fewest line-breaks with 1.9. They are averaging just one line-break every 13.2 carries this season, the highest ratio of any team.

Defence has been an issue this season, conceding the most tries of any team with 118, including the most of any team in a tournament this season with 24 in Hong Kong. [they conceded 21 tries in Singapore]

  • They have the lowest tackle completion-rate of any team this season with 64%.

They have been one of the most accurate goal kicking teams from the sidelines this season, enjoying a 42% success-rate from the left, and 55% success-rate from the right.

Canada have won just one of their past 14 SVNS matches against New Zealand, with their solitary victory coming this season in Cape Town.

  • They have scored more tries against New Zealand this season (10) than against any  other opponent.

Their attack against Australia this season has made just one visit to the opposition 22 across two games played. They have made just two line-breaks from 43 total carries, with Lachlan Kratz scoring their only try in the final play in Cape Town. [Lachlan Kratz could create line breaks and is missed]

Canada have not tasted victory against Argentina since London in 2019, and have been outscored by a combined total of 95-15 across all four losses this season. [They were defeated 38-0 by Argentina in Singapore, so 133-15 this season]

Posted in Editorials, Front Page.

One Comment

  1. Actually, it is pretty amazing Canada competes at the top level given that there is no domestic sevens series in which to develop players. As a result, the player pool is very limited. Canada has suffered a few injuries which has really put the team under pressure. I don’t believe there is a lack of effort. In the last tournament their core players were competitive, but they look like they ran out of gas which happens in a three-day tournament. Are they missing a couple of pieces, yes. However, if they can rest some of their core players a little, they can retain core status.

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