Hirayama, Duke, Canada Sevens advance to Quarter-Finals at Wellington Sevens

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Ali Lee

The Canadian men’s rugby sevens topped their pool of France, Australia and Kenya yesterday, Feb.2 at the Wellington Sevens tournament in New Zealand.

Coached by Geraint John, Vikes members Sean Duke (Vancouver, BC) and Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, BC) helped the Canadian side secure succession into the quarter finals after victories over France and Kenya.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

The Canadians led 14-7 at half against France thanks to tries from Hirayama and Conor Trainor. The second half saw a back and forth battle but Victoria native Ciaran Hearn broke the line late to touch down and seal the victory 19-14.

Stacking up against the Australians next, the Canucks went into the break tied 7-7 but were downed quickly in the second half as Australian key player Lewis Holland hit the front with a try. Trainor added another try but missing the conversion, the Canadians fell short, conceding the loss 14-12.

Canada’s fate lay in their final game against Kenya and under the pressure, the Canadians entered the break down 14-7 with a lone try from Trainor. The men turned it around after the break, helping Trainor to two tries with Nanyak Dala chipping in one as well. Hirayama was also three for three on his conversions to give the Canadians a 21-14 victory and a boost to the quarter-finals.

Head coach John said to Rugby Canada, “I think we’ve done well lately. We’ve always beaten core teams – that has been a goal of ours. We have to be pleased with the day. We’ve got five players here that are under the age of 20 and only three over 22. Again that is pleasing with regards to our development and where we want to go in the future.”

UVic Vikes’ Hirayama is second to Trainor in scoring tallying a try and six conversions to total 17 points so far in the tournament.

Australia fell short in Pool D competition, only coming away with a draw against France, sending Canada to the top of the pool and ultimately through to further qualification. Canada will face Samoa in the quarter-finals at 3:17 p.m. (NZDT) on Saturday, Feb. 4.

For standings, roster and more infor visit: www.irbsevens.com

Final Pool D Standings:

Canada 3-1-0 7

France 1-1-1 6

Australia 1-1-1 6

Kenya 1-2-0 5

Team Canada Sevens Squad

1 Tyler Ardon

2 Connor Braid

3 Nanyak Dala

4 John Moonlight

5 Conor Trainor

6 Sean Duke

7 Clayton Meeres

8 Jeffery Hassler

9 Nathan Hirayama

10 Ciaran Hearn

11 Lucas Hammond

12 Taylor Paris

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