January 24, 2014 (ISN) – Canada’s Men’s team opened their pool campaign at the Las Vegas Sevens tournament with a fine 17-15 win over Kenya before going down 0-29 against South Africa at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Friday’s positive opener was a massive confidence booster for the squad but unfortunately the tournament holders were simply too clinical in the second and final fixture of Canada’s day.
Canada will conclude their Las Vegas pool action tomorrow when they face off with Wales in a critical match, with kick-off scheduled for 12:00pm local time (3:00pm ET/12:00pm PT).
All games from the HSBC Sevens World Series stop in Las Vegas will be streamed LIVE at www.irbsevens.com. Make sure to follow Rugby Canada on Social Media for up-to-the-minute information.
Canada 17-15 Kenya
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 7 Phil Mack, 8 Justin Douglas, 11 Harry Jones
Canada recorded a winning start on Friday as they clung on for a critical opening victory against Kenya, a game that had drama until the end.
With time up on the clock after Kenya had cut the lead to just two points, Biko Adema’s missed conversion meant Canada claimed the win.
Canada came into the match with a 13 wins to 9 record against the African nation and started the contest looking to improve that tally, with real calmness and intent in their play putting the Kenyans on the back foot.
It paid off too when Phil Mack’s well weighted pass found Nanyak Dala on the right wing and his clever kick inside was claimed by Connor Braid, who gathered well before grounding under the posts. The successful kick made it 7-0.
There was more to come from Geraint John’s men when on four minutes, space was spotted down the blindside by captain John Moonlight as he used his lethal fend and pace to go over. Unfortunately Mack couldn’t convert that try from a tougher angle.
Kenya would then test the Canadian defence, which stood tall for a period before Daniel Sikuta eventually broke the deadlock for a 12-5 half-time scoreline. Canada definitely deserved their one score advantage in Vegas.
The second stanza began differently to the first as Kenya looked to strike early. However, Canada’s resilience in defence saw them keep their line intact before Justin Douglas finished well with three minutes remaining.
But then came the nerve-racking finish at Sam Boyd Stadium as Kenyan tries from Humphrey Kayange on thirteen minutes and then Billy Odhiambo left Adema with the pressure kick to equalize. Luckily for Canada he was wide with his attempt and the win was secured.
Canada 0-29 South Africa
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 7 Phil Mack, 10 Duncan Maguire, 11 Harry Jones
Canada found themselves on the receiving end of a sobering defeat in their second pool game as South Africa put down a marker on the opening day, scoring a total of 72 points from their two matches at Sam Boyd Stadium.
John’s had men started the contest sprightly and after defending well, then took the game to the tournament holders and joint favourites, with several penalty offences from the Blitzbokke arguably seeing them fortunate not to receive a yellow card. Unfortunately, Canada couldn’t find reward for their efforts as Neil Powell’s side weathered the storm.
In fact, South Africa would score against the run of play on four minutes when wing Seabelo Senatla broke free for a run-in score that Cecil Afrika converted.
Canada’s cruel luck would continue a minute before the interval when the bounce of the ball went away from Duncan Maguire – starting the game in place of Douglas – and into the hands of a grateful Branco du Preez. Those five points would result in a 0-12 half-time deficit.
Unfortunately, things would not improve after the break for Canada as hands in the ruck from Moonlight close to his own line led to Kyle Brown sneaking over on the right, with the floodgates now beginning to open in Las Vegas.
A further try would soon arrive through Justin Geduld, following slick hands, before a Canadian pass was intercepted in the dying embers of the game to allow Stephan Dippenaar a clear run in, rubbing salt into wounds that will need to be repaired ahead of facing Wales on Saturday.
Conor Trainor – Post Match comments:
“That is something he brings to the table, his cross kick game,” Trainor said with a smile of Nanyak Dala’s cross kicking abilities. “Who knows maybe he will be drop kicking for us next.”
He says that things went smoothly in the first half, but Kenya made adjustments to shut the Canadian attack down in the second frame.
“The first half I thought we were going to beat them by 20 or 30 points but in the end we didn’t beat them by a lot.
“They were coming up pretty quick but we just created a deeper attack to force them to tackle us.”
In this unique format of Las Vegas, for the first time two pool matches will be played under the lights on Friday night, with South Africa up next for Canada.
“South Africa is up next, same amount of rest time as us so we are going to take it to them and see how it goes.”
Canada’s Roster for Las Vegas – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Ferguson – (UBC Thunderbird/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Duncan Maguire – (St. Albert Rugby Club/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Jordan Wilson-Ross – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Alliston, ON
Players Unavailable due to injury:
Sean Duke – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Adam Kleeberger – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/BC Bears) White Rock, BC
Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/The Rock) St. Johns, NL
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Geraint John – Head Coach
Kieran Crowley – Assistant Coach
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Brian Hunter – Manager