Canada looking to face USA in Cup quarter-final on Sunday at Twickenham in final tournament of 2014-15 World Rugby Sevens Series
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC Photo Ian Muir
LONDON, ENGLAND – Canada will face off with USA in Sunday’s Cup quarter-final of the London Sevens after picking up two wins from three on Day One at Twickenham. The team got off to a winning start on Saturday as they beat Samoa 17-14 and Argentina 26-5. But, a 14-31 loss to Fiji meant they finished second in the pool. This is the third consecutive tournament that coach Liam Middleton’s charges have advanced to the Cup quarter-final.
Canada 17-14 Samoa
Canada weathered an early storm before running out 17-14 winners over Samoa to get their London Sevens campaign off to a good start at Twickenham on Saturday. Samoa had started the game strongly and Canada had to be solid in defence before they went down the other end of the field to open the scoring. That try was a slick one from Liam Middleton’s men as Nathan Hirayama’s quick feet saw him slip over.
It was then the Harry Jones show as after adding the simple two points, he was next to cross the whitewash thanks to a clever offload from wing Sean Duke. That meant Canada led 12-0 with six minutes gone, but the islanders could not be taken lightly.
Belgium Tuatagaloa proved just that when he went over before the interval to make it 12-7 before Middleton stressed in the huddle the next score had to be Canada’s. Fortunately it was as Duke showed immense power to crash over down the left on eight minutes. But again Samoa hit back, this time Lefaele Tuliu Vaa scoring soon after before a nervous final four minutes, with Canada managing to secure victory.
Canada 26-5 Argentina
Canada exacted revenge over Argentina from last weekend in Glasgow as they ran out deserved 26-5 winners against the South Americans in Game Two of Day One. A mixture of brilliant and composed rugby saw Canada to their second win of the tournament at Twickenham, as Argentina struggled to get their hands on the ball.
Conor Trainor opened the scoring with a minute on the clock when his soccer skills saw him collect possession and then shrug off the tacklers en route to the try-line. Jones successfully knocked over the extra two points as Canada took the initiative. Argentina hit back before the interval though when Santiago Alvarez found a gap in the defence 20 metres out. Fortunately for Canada, the conversion drifted wide.
Canada then were 7-5 up as the second-half resumed and produced an impressive seven minutes in London, with Mike Fuailefau’s length-of-the-field try setting them on their way in the ninth minute. Jones’ kick meant the lead was up to nine points.
Hirayama was next to cross with a lovely change of speed on eleven minutes before a period of intelligent rugby resulted in the playmaker scoring his second try of the contest in the dying embers, as Canada secured a third straight Cup appearance.
Canada 14-31 Fiji
Canada couldn’t complete a clean sweep on Day One as they suffered a 14-31 loss to World Sevens Series pace-setters Fiji in a bruising final pool fixture in London. Fiji, who are striving to pick up the 2014/15 title this weekend, were in determined form as they ran in three impressive first-half tries to Canada’s solitary effort.
The islanders opened the scoring inside a minute when Amenoni Nasilasila slipped through the Canadian defence from 35 metres out to hand his charges a 0-7 lead. A couple of minutes later Samisoni Viriviri showed his speed from distance as he went over from inside his own half to double the cushion in the London sunshine.
0-14 soon became 0-21 for Ben Ryan’s men as Nasilasila’s grubber kick through saw him regather before handing the ball to Josaia Raisuqe for the Fijians third try. Canada, who had already qualified for Cup action on Day Two, desperately needed a foothold in the match and Adam Zaruba’s score late in the half provided just that, with Jones calmly landing the difficult extras to make it 7-21 at the turnaround.
But Fiji moved through the gears in the second-half with further tries from Raisuqe and Nasilasila putting the result beyond doubt before a score from Hirayama saw Canada have the last say, as the focus now moves to Sunday’s Cup quarter-final.
Canada’s Roster for London – (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Pat Kay – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Duncan,BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Connor Braid – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Sean Duke – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Pat Parfrey – (James Bay AA/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
Matt Evans – (Cornish Pirates) Maple Bay, BC
Players unavailable due to injury:
Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Regina, SK
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn – (Castaway Wanderers/Atlantic Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Liam Middleton – Head Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Gareth Lynch – Strength and Conditioning Coach
London Sevens Schedule May 16-17:
Canada 17-14 Samoa
Canada 26-5 Argentina
Canada 14-31 Fiji
Canada vs. USA (tbc)