Canada men to meet England in Tokyo Sevens Cup quarter-finals on day two

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rugby canada

by Bryan Kelly

March 22, 2014 (ISN) – Canada’s Men’s squad booked their place in the Cup quarter-finals for a third straight tournament as they finished second in their pool at the Tokyo Sevens. They opened Day One with a 40-5 win over Portugal before drawing 17-17 with Wales. The final game saw Canada go down 17-22 at the death to New Zealand.

Canada will take on England in their Cup quarter-final clash at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground, with kick off at 11:12am local (10:12pm ET/07:12pm PT).

All games on the HSBC Sevens World Series can be watched LIVE at www.irbsevens.com!

Canada 40-5 Portugal
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 6 Sean Duke, 9 Nathan Hirayama, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada got their Tokyo Sevens campaign off to an impressive start on Saturday as they overcame Portugal with a 40-5 victory that saw them cross the line six times. Sean Duke, Ciaran Hearn, Nathan Hirayama (2), Harry Jones and Sean White all scored for Geraint John’s side as they came out of the blocks firing on Day One.

Lethal finisher Duke got the ball rolling on two minutes when Hearn’s good work to fix a defender freed up space for the winger to go over wide out, with Hirayama’s missed conversion meaning it was 5-0 after a slightly scrappy opening few phases. That score seemed to settle Canada and it wasn’t long before they were over again, as this time Hearn turned from provider to scorer when he eyed a hole in midfield. The big runner put his foot down before Hirayama’s extras made the score 12-0.

It was smooth sailing at this point and when Hirayama’s superb angle against the grain wrong-footed the Portuguese defence, Canada were 19-0 up at the break. Portugal did come out strongly in the second stanza however as playmaker Pedro Leal’s excellent cross-field kick saw Pedro Bettencourt collect before finishing well, ultimately cutting the margin. That though proved to be their final spell of territory.

Canada would launch a response, turning the screw at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground as further scores saw Jones’ fend and pace come to the fore and then a lovely individual kick and chase from Hirayama made it 33-5 with a minute to go. Replacements Jake Webster and White were now on for the closing stages and quickly got involved, with White finishing well for the game’s final score as Canada hit the 40-point mark, capping a positive opening fixture in the Tokyo tournament.

Canada 17-17 Wales
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 6 Sean Duke, 9 Nathan Hirayama, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

A last-ditch try from Harry Jones salvaged a draw for Canada against Wales as they showed incredible fighting spirit to recover from a 7-17 deficit in the second-half. Jones’ score could prove vital as Canada picked up a healthy triumph over Portugal in their opening group game, with points differential set to feature later in the day.

Wales had started the game in explosive fashion as Canada found themselves on the back foot, penalised on four successive occasions as the Welsh got over via the pace of Alex Webber with just a minute on the clock. Rhys Jones missed the kick. The margin would increase barely a minute later when James Davies was gifted a try from the restart, Jones having offloaded the ball to the Welshman by mistake.

Canada needed a response and it soon came when Conor Trainor found a hole in midfield and raced over to make it 7-12, which was how it ended at the interval, thanks largely to late scrambling tackles from Nanyak Dala and Nathan Hirayama. Wales would cross again after the turnaround as Will Price went over to take Wales into a two-score advantage before Mike Scholz scored an individual effort down the left wing. Canada now had four minutes to find a possible match-winning score. And the try came with time up on the clock as from Hirayama being held up over the try-line, Canada shifted possession from a scrum to the left touchline where Jones was on hand to dive over. Hirayama’s kick was unsuccessful from wide out.

Canada 17-22 New Zealand
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Conor Trainor, 6 Sean Duke, 9 Nathan Hirayama, 11 Harry Jones, 12 Mike Scholz

A last second try from Bryce Heem denied Canada a share of the spoils against New Zealand but great heart can be taken as the team rocked the Series holders. The current IRB Series leaders would have been trailing with time up had Nathan Hirayama’s conversion of John Moonlight’s last of three tries sailed over, with the Canadians enjoying the lion’s share of possession in an epic final pool match.

More importantly in many respects, Canada have booked their place in the Cup quarter-finals as their superior points difference edges Wales for second. John’s outfit will take on England, who beat Australia to top spot in their own group. Canada will wonder though what might have been as three tries from Moonlight – in the fourth, seventh and thirteenth minute – led the charge as they refused to be cautious despite knowing a defeat by less than 51 points would see them qualify.

New Zealand had started brightly when their captain DJ Forbes scored inside two minutes but then a Moonlight try double put Canada 12-5 ahead at the interval. Tim Mikkelson and Heem then replied quickly after the break to put the All Blacks Sevens 12-17 ahead before Moonlight claimed his hat-trick late in the game, with Canada not settling for a draw which ultimately backfired as Heem struck late on.

Canada’s Men’s Tokyo Sevens
March 22-23
Day One

Canada 40-5 Portugal
Canada 17-17 Wales
Canada 17-22 New Zealand

Day Two

Canada vs England at 11:12am (10:12pm ET/07:12pm PT)

Canada’s Roster for Tokyo – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province

Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Sean Duke – (UVic Vikes/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
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
John Moonlight – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Chauncey O’Toole – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Belleisle, NB
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers RFC/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Jake Webster – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC

Players Unavailable for Selection:

Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Pat Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL

Senior Men’s Team Staff:

Geraint John – Head Coach
Morgan Williams – Assistant Coach
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager

Canada’s Men’s Sevens Program is proudly sponsored by Sport Canada and Own the Podium. 

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