Canada Finish 8th After Losses to USA and Australia – Fiji Win Gold: Match Videos
The men’s side of the Olympic 7s wrapped up today with Fiji repeating as Gold medalists, defeating NZ in the final. Argentina, the surprise team of the tournament, won Bronze defeating Great Britain.
Canada went into the tournament ranked on par with Kenya and Ireland using bookmaker odds. The odds had Fiji favourites, NZ 2nd and that’s the way it worked out. The big surprise was Argentina ranked 7th winning Bronze and South Africa ranked 3rd finishing 5th, Great Britain finished 4th. The USA finished 6th, Australia 7th, Canada 8th, Kenya 9th, Ireland 10th, Japan 11th and Korea 12th.
Pre Tournament Odds
New Zealand +225
South Africa +330
Great Britain +1200
South Korea +50000
In the USA match it was tied at the end of regulation 14-14 time but a yellow card to Canada gave the USA the man advantage and they scored in overtime to win 21-14. In the Australia match it was tied 7-7 in the first half but Australia put in 3 more tries for a 26-7 final.
The World Series starts in September with stops in Vancouver and Edmonton, it will be interesting to see whether the program start a new cycle then with a new coach and perhaps some retirements, or whether they’ll wait until the end of the abbreviated 2021 season to ring in the changes.
Semi-final Round (Canada v USA 3rd match in)
Final Round (Canada v Australia 1st match in)
*Canada Fall to NZ in Quarter-Finals – Face USA in 5th Place Playoff: Match Video*
The match was a bit of an anti-climax after the excitement of making the quarter-final. NZ went up 21-0 in the first half, Canada fought back with two tries in the second half, one after the final whistle. It could have been 21-14, one of the conversions missed was in front of the posts.
It was a match full of referee whistles, most of them against Canada, creating a stop and start spectacle with little rhythm for either team. Canada can be proud of their second half effort with tries by Pat Kay and Harry Jones.
Canada will meet USA in the playoff for 5th place. The other playoff for 5th sees South Africa vs Australia. Argentina were the suprise winners over South Africa and will meet Fiji in the gold semi-final, NZ and GB meet in the other semi-final.
This is what CBC had to say:
The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team will not be competing for an Olympic medal following a 21-10 quarter-final loss to New Zealand at Tokyo Stadium on Tuesday.
New Zealand came out strong and pinned down Canada right away, backed by some offside penalties. Shortly thereafter, Andrew Knewstubb ran in the first try of the game and the All Blacks converted the extra point for a 7-0 lead.
A pair of tries from New Zealand co-captain Scott Curry gave the All Blacks a 21-0 lead heading into halftime.
To begin the second half, New Zealand kept up their pressure but penalties hurt Canada and kept them from marching down the field. The All Blacks played a more conservative half as they tried to preserve their lead.
Late tries from Pat Kay, of Duncan, B.C., and Vancouver’s Harry Jones got Canada on the scoresheet, but they were unable to complete the comeback.
New Zealand 2110 Canada
Great Britain 2621 United States
South Africa 1419 Argentina
Fiji 190 Australia
*Canada Into Quarter-Finals with Big Win Over Japan – Face NZ in Quarter-Finals: Match Video*
It was nerve wracking for sure, Canada did what they needed to do and defeated Japan by 20+, 24 to be exact but then they needed Ireland to defeat Kenya but not by much. It turned out the magic number was 7, if Ireland won by less than 7 then Canada would advance. Ireland obliged, not willingly, they were leading 12-0 with the game almost over but Kenya did Canada a huge favour by scoring a late try and converting it. A perfect ending for Canada.
The team has already exceeded expectations, everything yet to come is a bonus. First up in the quarter-finals is New Zealand, not an easy task. The other part of that semi-final berth is Great Britain vs United States. So Canada either goes into the medal round vs the winner of GB v USA or they go into the 5th to 8th ranking match versus the loser of GB v USA. Some difficult matches ahead.
Braid was the hero of the day with 3 tries. Mike Fuailefau deserves the kudos for setting Braid free on his first try as he man-handled the would be tackler and then offloaded to Braid running a strong support line. It was Theo Sauder and Justin Douglas who set Braid up on his second try, Sauder outflanking the defence on a diagonal run, offloading to Douglas in the tackle, who then offloads to Braid in the tackle. Two similar tries where winning the contact area and offloading were key factors, 12-0 Canada.
Theo Sauder scored next after Japan received a yellow for a high tackle. Canada took advantage of the extra player and worked a pre-planned move to perfection with Sauder finishing it off, 19-0, and that’s how the half would end.
Japan scored first in the second half to narrow the gap to 19-5 before Braid again crossed the line, this time set up with a floating pass from Harry Jones, 24-5. Phil Berna scored next when Canada secured the kickoff, went through phases and found Berna out wide who powered past his defender, 29-5.
Justin Douglas rounded out the scoring by Canada, it was a gutsy build up where Canada went through multiple phases, kept possession and eventually found the overlap. Douglas had the presence of mind to skirt around the defender in goal to put the kick in front of the posts. That decision in retrospect gave Canada the quarter final spot, if the conversion was missed then Ireland would have gone through with their +5 win over Kenya.
Canada let one more try in for a 36-12 win and a -14 point differential. Ireland ended up with a -16 differential. It was that close.
MATCH VIDEO (full Round 3 action, Canada v Japan first match)
This is what CBC had to say:
A hat trick from Connor Braid and a 36-12 victory over Japan was just enough for Canada’s men’s rugby sevens team to reach the quarter-finals in its first Olympics.
Canada (1-2) dropped its first two matches at Tokyo 2020 to Great Britain (2-1) and Fiji (3-0), who both qualified for the quarter-finals from Pool B. The top two teams in each of the three pools advance to the quarter-finals, with the final two spots awarded to the remaining teams with the best records.
Canada’s point differential of -14 was enough to crack the top eight. Ireland also finished with a 1-2 record, but a -16 point differential. The Canadians will face New Zealand, who finished first overall in pool play, in the quarter-finals at 4:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
New Zealand and Argentina were the top teams from Pool B, while South Africa and the United States finished at the top of Pool C. Australia was the other third-place team to reach the quarter-finals.
It’s been a long journey to the Olympics for the veteran Canadian men’s squad, who missed out on qualification for Rio five years ago.
But the team’s final match at Tokyo 2020 offered a glimpse at the attacking prowess the squad has shown in flashes on the international circuit and could be the spark it needs to push for a medal.
A deft one-armed offload from Mike Fuailefau set up Braid for the opening try midway through the first half against Japan (0-3). Co-captain Nate Hirayama then executed a difficult conversion to make it a 7-0 lead.
Braid then scored his second of the match after a near-identical offload from Justin Douglas. Hirayama couldn’t convert that try as Canada took a 12-0 lead.
A high tackle by Japan led to a yellow card and a man advantage for the Canadians. Theo Sauder made the most of the overlap to score Canada’s third try of the half, and a Hirayama conversion made it 19-0.
Kazushi Hano scored for Japan to open the second half and cut the lead to 19-5. But Jones completed his hat trick shortly thereafter on a pass from co-captain Harry Jones to make it 24-5.
After more sustained possession, Douglas lofted a deft skip pass to Phil Berna, who held off a Japanese defender to touch it down and extend the lead to 29-5. Douglas then scored a try of his own, taking his time to touch it down under the posts so Pat Kay could convert easily and make it 36-5.
Japan’s captain Chihito Matsui took it quickly off the restart to score a try, which was subsequently converted for the final score of the match.
Canada finally put some pieces together in this match. Theo Sauder’s sweeping diagonal runs opened up the Japan defence. Nate Hirayama’s kickoffs were superb and his directing in open play was calm and focused. The power running of Braid and the breakdown support of all players was on point. Next up New Zealand.
Argentina 560 South Korea
New Zealand 1412 Australia
Canada 3612 Japan
Fiji 337 Great Britain
Kenya 712 Ireland
South Africa 1712 United States
Canada v NZ
Great Britain v USA
South Africa v Argentina
Fiji v Australia
*Canada Improve Performance in Loss to Fiji – Face Japan in Final Pool Match: Match Video*
Canada put in an improved performance in Round 2 of pool play but were unable to keep up with the defending Olympic champions.
Fiji scored first at 4:23 of the first half after Harry Jones missed his tackle. Another missed tackle, this time by Pat Kay, gave Fiji their second score at the 2 minute mark of the first half, 14-0.
Canada scored a nice try at the half time whistle, their first of the tournament. It was scored by Nathan Hirayama, but setup by an initial line break and offload by Pat Kay followed by passing between Jones and Hirayama. It was 14-7 at the half.
Canada had a chance early in the second half with Douglas on the outside but Hirayama couldn’t deliver the perfect pass and Douglas had to reach back which broke his momentum. Douglas got isolated at the breakdown, Fiji won the penalty, and Matt Mullins in frustration threw the ball away and got a yellow card for his troubles. A lack of discipline that would not please the coach or his teammates.
Canada killed the penalty and were back to full strength but Fiji scored off a tap and go from a penalty they won on a counter ruck. 21-7 with 2 minutes left.
Justin Douglas finally showed his potential by beating a Fijian defender on the outside for a solo try, 21-14 with 30 seconds left.
Unfortunately Canada have another error moment when Conor Trainor is called ahead of the kicker from the kickoff. Fiji tap from centre and score to end the match, 28-14
Canada v Fiji Match Video
New Zealand 3514 Argentina
Australia 425 South Korea
Great Britain 340 Japan
Fiji 2814 Canada
United States 1917 Ireland
South Africa 145 Kenya
An improved performance but errors at key times held Canada back. Hirayama, Douglas, Jones and Kay lifted their play and hopefully they’ll be able to put it all together against Japan. Canada are in a tough situation to make it to the quarter-finals at this point, only one 3rd place spot remains open for qualifying (assuming Argentina defeats Korea). The winner of Kenya v Ireland will likely claim that last spot as they currently have point differentials of -14 (Kenya) and -21 (Ireland). Canada currently have a PD of -38 and Japan -39, meaning Canada will have to win by a large margin (+20) and hope Ireland just scrapes by Kenya by one or two points.
*Round One Results from Men’s Olympic Rugby 7s: Canada Scoreless in Loss to Great Britain – Match Video*
Round One has wrapped up with few surprises. Argentina impressed defeating Australia in a comprehensive manner, Australia did have a late comeback to make the score more respectable. Japan looked very good against Fiji who only scraped by with a 5 point comeback win. Canada had a disappointing performance, they were the only team who didn’t register a try in the opening round. Even Korea scored against New Zealand.
The CBC wrote it up this way:
The Canadian men’s rugby sevens failed to generate any momentum in its Olympic debut, suffering a 24-0 loss to Great Britain in its opening match on Sunday at Tokyo Stadium.
Prolific scorer Dan Norton led the Rio runners-up with a pair of tries as the sport made its return to the Olympics following a successful debut in 2016. Great Britain’s Ross McCann and Robbie Fergusson each scored a try, while Dan Bibby kicked two converts.
Canada faces reigning Olympic champion Fiji in the second session at 4 a.m. ET, while Great Britain takes on host nation Japan at 3:30 a.m. ET. Both games will be streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Olympics app and CBC Sports’ Tokyo 2020 website.
Patience was key early on with tight defence from both squads, but Norton finally broke the deadlock just before halftime. The English juggernaut seized a gap on the inside after reeling in an offload pass, and Bibby converted.
Norton continued where he left off immediately following the break, adding another try after outrunning the Canadians in the open field just seconds into the half.
Great Britain was left with a 12-0 lead after Bibby missed the convert, but McCann quickly added the team’s third try with a powerful drive through an attempted tackle from Canada’s Harry Jones. Bibby missed the convert once again.
Robbie Fergusson cemented the team’s opening win with a try of his own, failing to convert.
Canada v Great Britain Match Video
New Zealand 505 South Korea
Australia 1929 Argentina
Fiji 2419 Japan
Great Britain 240 Canada
South Africa 3314 Ireland
United States 1914 Kenya
Canada’s decision making with ball in hand wasn’t very creative, making the GB defensive job a lot easier. The following photos show a typical example. Conor Trainor with ball in hand throws a wide pass to Connor Braid. The GB defender has started his sprint towards Braid before Trainor had even started the forward motion on his pass, the results were predictable with Canada left in a compromised breakdown position. The yellow arrow shows a more desirable option where Trainor “freezes the defender” by running diagonally at him.