January 25, 2014 (ISN) – Canada gave themselves a strong chance of qualifying for the Las Vegas Cup knockout stages after beating Wales 21-19 on Day Two at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The result leaves Canada provisionally top of the pool standings, with South Africa facing Kenya later today. A win for the Blitzbokke would secure both theirs and Canada’s passage but if Kenya prevail, points differential would come into play.
All games from the HSBC Sevens World Series stop in Las Vegas will be streamed LIVE at www.irbsevens.com.
Canada 21-19 Wales
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 7 Phil Mack, 8 Justin Douglas, 11 Harry Jones
Canada put one foot in the Cup quarter-finals on Saturday after fighting back to defeat Wales 21-19 in an absorbing pool clash at the Las Vegas Sevens event.
The result leaves Canada waiting on the South Africa versus Kenya showdown which is scheduled for later today, with the squad hoping for a Blitzbokke victory.
Should the South Africans win, Canada will qualify for their first Cup quarter-finals of the season but if Kenya prevail, it would all come down to points difference.
It was a tale of two halves at Sam Boyd Stadium as Canada endured a dismal opening seven minutes, going into the break 0-12 adrift of Gareth Williams’ outfit.
A try from Adam Thomas down the right wing ended a scoreless opening four minutes, which had seen plenty of physicality and tension in what was a vital match.
Wales clearly had their tails up after that and crossed again before the break when Samuel Cross scooted under the posts, capitalizing on slack Canadian midfield defence to make it a twelve-point advantage to the side under a new head coach.
But it was to be words from Canadian boss John and Phil Mack that lifted the ‘home’ team as a switch in fortunes arrived quickly as Nanyak Dala scored a minute into the second stanza. That score came via a fine back door pass from Harry Jones.
With ten minutes played, Morgan was then shown a yellow card for throwing the ball away which allowed Canada to build on their momentum, with Mack crossing in quick time before Justin Douglas went over on the right with only a minute left.
Significantly, Douglas’ try was converted by Mack to make it a two-score lead to Canada at 21-12, which meant a late try from Will Thomas saw Wales fall short.
John Moonlight Post Game reaction
John Moonlight was all smiles after the game and was feeling confident the remaining match in the pool would go Canada’s way.
“We’ve got to wait for the South Africa vs Kenya game but if South Africa wins things are looking good for us,” said the affable Captain.
He agreed that the team was a bit flat in the opening seven minutes but a half-time assessment seemed to solve things.
“We talked at half about support play lacking a little bit,” he said. “Guys were just a little bit late but then we scored some tries (to get the win).”
The other aspect of Canada’s game was its physicality. A number of big tackles left Welsh players crumpled on the floor, and Moonlight says the cumulative affect paid dividends.
“It takes a toll on them every time you hit them,” Moonlight offered. “Nanyak (Dala) was an animal today smashing guys in that game. It’s good to have him on my team that’s for sure.”
Canada’s Men’s Las Vegas Sevens
Canada 17-15 Kenya
Canada 0-29 South Africa
Canada 21-19 Wales
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