VANCOUVER, CANADA – In front of a record Canadian Rugby two-day crowd of 76,058 on hand for second annual HSBC Canada Sevens the men’s sevens team finished with a seventh place after defeat to Argentina in the fifth place semi-final on Sunday at BC Place.
With wins against Scotland and Russia on Day one, Canada advanced to their third cup quarter in their past four HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament but were beaten by South Africa earlier in the day. This weekend was Canada’s third Cup round appearance in the last four tournaments, moving them to 10th place on the World Series through six tournaments.
Adam Zaruba was ruled out of Day two due to injury and was replaced by Luke Bradley. Nathan Hirayama also tied Phil Mack’s all-time scoring record for Canada as both men now sit on 973 career HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series points.
Reflecting on his team’s performance on the weekend, Captain Harry Jones would explain, “It’s tough. We didn’t finish the chances we had. Not making any excuses. I’m proud of the boys. The boys put their hands up and put in a gutsy effort. You don’t play the game to come seventh, you play to win. There’s a lot of disappointed guys on the team. We went 5-1 last year but we’re a much better team this year and we showed that. Damian has done a lot of work with us, simple stuff, but the team’s really gelling and it’s paying dividends.”
England would eventually defeat South Africa 19-7 to capture the Cup Final to close out the tournament.
CANADA 7-36 SOUTH AFRICA
It was a masterful performance from Neil Powell’s men as they powered to a convincing win over Canada.
Tries from Rosko Specman and Siviwe Soyizwapi gave the Blitzboks a quick 12-0 lead before Canada found life through a Justin Douglas try. Nathan Hirayam’s conversion gave him 973 career points, tying him with Phil Mack for Canada’s all-time points scoring record.
However, it was all South Africa from there on out. Chris Dry’s try pushed the lead to 17-7 at the break before Cecil Afrika, Soyizwapi and Sandile Ngcobo completed the win.
CANADA 5-12 ARGENTINA
It was heartbreak for Canada as they narrowly lost 12-5 in Argentina in their fifth place semi-final. After sustained pressure, Canada finally opened the scoring as Justin Douglas touched down in the corner for a 5-0 lead that they took into the break.
Frano Sabato’s try tied things at 5-5 after he gathered his own kick ahead before Nicolas Menendez scored the eventual game-winner for a 12-5 victory.
On the finish and looking forward, Canadian head coach Damian McGrath would comment, “We’ve got three weeks now until we play again. It’s all hands on deck now. I thought when we were healthy I hope we gave a glimpse of what this group is capable of. We appreciated every minute of support the crowd gave us and I hope they appreciate what we did.”
Canada next travels to Hong Kong in the next leg of the HSBC World Sevens Rugby Series.