rugby canada

by Bryan Kelly

March 29, 2014, HONG KONG (ISN) – Canada achieved Cup qualification for a fourth successive tournament on Saturday after a day that saw them defeat Argentina 14-7 before losing to England 12-14.

In wet weather, Geraint John’s side claimed a hard-fought win over Los Pumas in their second pool game, as they backed up yesterday’s 35-7 win over Portugal. However, top spot in the group eluded them as they fell to England in their final match of the day, which means they face Australia in Sunday’s Cup quarter-final. 

HarryJones IanMuir
Ian Muir/Rugby Canada

Canada’s Nanyak Dala:

“It’s always a goal of ours to make it into the top eight, and obviously we wanted to win against England to get some momentum going into the final day, but we didn’t come out on top. We played well against some tough opposition and that’s good because that’s what we will face tomorrow,” said Dala.

“Tonight we’re going to get back to the hotel and recover from today, get some sleep and prepare for Australia tomorrow. (Against Australia) I think if we stick to our game plan, limit our mistakes and maintain possession and we can be successful,” added Dala.

Canada Coach Geraint John:

“Yes, I’m pleased from today. Our first aim was to get into the Cup and we did that by beating Argentina. I thought we played particularly well against England except for a few small lapses, but overall I’m pleased,” said Geraint John.

“We just watched them beat South Africa so they’re on a high, and we’ll have to be at our best.”

All games on the HSBC Sevens World Series can be watched LIVE at!

Canada 14-7 Argentina
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 6 Sean Duke, 7 Phil Mack, 9 Nathan Hirayama, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada secured Cup qualification for a fourth successive tournament after they claimed a come-from-behind 14-7 win over Argentina in wet weather conditions. It wasn’t pretty and took real character to recover from going 0-7 down just after the half-time break, but the result was all that mattered at Hong Kong Stadium.

As mentioned, the game against Argentina was hampered by the conditions and in fact was delayed due to a thunderstorm that left the pitch in something of a state. Consequently the style of all competing nations was limited as errors increased. Because of the surface and greasy ball, the contest remained scoreless at the break before the second period moved up a level straight from the kick-off. Unfortunately for Canada it began with Ciaran Hearn’s restart going straight into touch, which led to Diego Palma sprinting over on the left wing from the resulting passage for 0-7.

Canada were now up against it but showed maturity in the way they fought their way back into the contest, with a patient play on ten minutes seeing Nanyak Dala finish off on the left wing. Crucially, the difficult extras were superbly converted by Nathan Hirayama as the absorbing group game was locked up at seven apiece. The momentum had now shifted in Canada’s favour as time ticked on and when captain Hirayama reached out to score close to the uprights with only seconds remaining, John’s men had the lead and would ultimately see out a critical win.

Canada 12-14 England
Line-up: 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 6 Sean Duke, 7 Phil Mack, 9 Nathan Hirayama, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada were pipped to top spot in Pool C as two tries from pace man Dan Norton against the run of play saw England seal a 12-14 victory at Hong Kong Stadium. Despite enjoying the lion’s share of both possession and territory in the opening half, Canada only had one try to show for their efforts as Phil Mack finished off a sustained period of pressure on England’s line. Hirayama converted the score.

The first-half continued with Canada well-and-truly on top but without a second try on the board, which came back to haunt them when a breakout from the English saw Norton use his incredible speed to good effect for a levelling seven-pointer. Canada regrouped admirably after the break and came out firing once again, with Moonlight once again showing his worth to the team with a try just 30 seconds into the second-half. Unfortunately Hirayama was off-target with the attempted kick.

And those two points proved to be key in the end as when Norton went over in the eleventh minute while Hirayama was down struggling with a hand injury, England captain Tom Mitchell stepped up to kick what was the match-deciding conversion. Canada though can take great heart from this showing as they again pushed England all the way, with their Cup quarter-final against Australia requiring the same intensity when Day Three begins at the Hong Kong Stadium on Sunday.

Canada’s Men’s Hong Kong Sevens
March 28-30
Day One

Canada 35-7 Portugal

Day Two

Canada 14-7 Argentina
Canada 12-14 England

Day Three

Canada vs. Australia at 12:34pm local
Sunday, March 30 – 12:34am ET
Saturday, March 29 – 9:34pm PT

Canada’s Roster for Hong Kong – (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
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Phil Mack – (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.