Plate runner-up finish at Wellington Sevens sees Canada to ninth position in HSBC Sevens World Series

rugby canada

by Bryan Kelly

February 8, 2014, WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (ISN) – A late converted try from Australia denied Canada silverware at Sevens Wellington as the team went down 10-12 in the Plate Final at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Canada had opened Day Two at the tournament with a 0-24 defeat to New Zealand in their Cup quarter-final before beating Samoa 27-0 to cruise into the Plate Final.

The Series now takes a break before returning in Tokyo, Japan on March 22-23.

Canada 0-24 New Zealand
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 7 Philip Mack, 8 Justin Douglas, 11 Harry Jones

Canada couldn’t follow up Day One’s heroics as they went down to a 0-24 defeat to hosts New Zealand in a Cup quarter-final that was played out in greasy conditions. Geraint John’s outfit were determined to break their winless run against the All Blacks Sevens and entered confident after three wins in yesterday’s group stages. But with the rain having been falling all day in Wellington, both sides struggled to play an expansive game and in the end it was New Zealand’s pace and power that ultimately saw them prevail. In truth they dominated possession and territory.

Gillies Kaka opened the scoring in the third minute when the playmaker saw space wide on the right wing and promptly touched down in the corner to make it 0-5. The lead was further increased a minute later when numbers on the left touchline were utilized by the Series holders, this time Scott Curry going over before Kaka landed a superb touchline conversion that made it a 0-12 scoreline at half-time. Canada were desperate for any form of ball and attacking platform but none was forthcoming. In fact, Curry would extend the margin to 17 points four minutes from time when he slid over close to the right touchline as the result was put to bed. New Zealand were not done there however as – despite Canada’s never-say-die attitude – it was to be George Tilsley who had the final say, crossing before Tomasi Cama added the final two points as John’s men went into the Plate competition.

Canada 27-0 Samoa
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 6 Sean Duke, 7 Phil Mack, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada put down a marker on the IRB Series as they powered past Samoa 27-0. A brace of tries apiece from John Moonlight and Conor Trainor set them on their way before Harry Jones added a fifth try as Canada dominated this Plate semi. Moonlight opened the scoring in the first minute on the right wing before he added his second on the other touchline two minutes later, with the Canadians dominating both the territorial and possession statistics in the wet weather of Wellington.

Before the break Trainor scored to make it 17-0 after Mack had knocked over the conversion, which meant it was a simple team talk from happy head coach John. Samoa continued with their struggle to gain any momentum in the game after the interval and when Trainor went over for his second on nine minutes, it was 22-0. The visits to the opposition 22 statistic showed just how one sided things were. Canada weren’t done there though as Jones enjoyed an easy run-in midway into the second-half, rubber stamping their fifth victory over Samoa in 36 meetings and securing a Plate Final showdown with Australia, who overcame Argentina 34-0.

Canada 10-12 Australia
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 6 Sean Duke, 7 Phil Mack, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada went down to a heartbreaking last second loss to Australia in the Plate Final as a converted try meant the squad left Sevens Wellington deprived of a trophy. However, their excellent performances over the two days means they do pocket twelve HSBC IRB World Sevens Series points, which lifts them into the top ten. This was Canada and Australia’s first meeting of the season and it was the former who struck first when a slick pass from Hearn set Duke free for a foot race to the line. That unconverted score took Canada out to a 5-0 advantage after a minute.

Continued rain was affecting handling in Wellington, which meant neither outfit troubled the scoreboard for the next five minutes, with Jones coming agonizingly close to grounding in the corner. Replays led to the referee denying him a try. Duke would not be halted from crossing for his second score in the sixth minute though after a wonderful offload in contact from Moonlight allowed the wing to dive over wide on the left. That meant it was 10-0 going into the half-time interval.

The second-half would see a turnaround in fortunes however as Australia managed to find a route back into the game, starting when Con Foley went over with just two minutes remaining on the clock to set up a grandstand finish in the Wellington rain. And then with regular time having run its course, Australia struck the gut wrenching blow when Ed Jenkins’ try preceded Cameron Clark’s match-winning extras. 

Canada’s Men’s Wellington Sevens
February 7-8
Day One
Canada 17-14 Scotland
Canada 29-12 USA
Canada 24-5 Argentina

Day Two

Canada 0-24 New Zealand
Canada 27-0 Samoa
Canada 10-12 Australia
Canada’s Roster for Wellington – (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 Duke – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
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
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama – Captain (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Program is proudly sponsored by Sport Canada and Own the Podium.