March 9, 2019 Vancouver, BC ( ISN ) –Rugby Canada’s men’s sevens side, looking to improve on last weekends’ Las Vegas Sevens performance, fell short of a day two, quarterfinal appearance despite a 2-1 record in pool play of the HSBC Vancouver Sevens at BC Place Stadium Saturday.
After starting the day with a lopsided 38-7 loss to Samoa, Canada would upset Fiji 26-19 on trys by Matt Mullins, Connor Braid, Mike Fauilefau, and Harry Jones to give the host team an improbable, first win of the Vancouver leg. Canada’s scoring leader, Nathan Hirayama would kick 3-3 on conversion attempts to support his Canadian side in the win.
Canada’s Connor Braid would standout scoring four trys on the day, three of those trys coming on a brilliant, final pool play game performance against Kenya to post 21 points and to close out day one match play for the host squad.
Against Kenya, Canada would control the play both most of the game with aggressive defense and ball possession. An opening game try by Matt Mullins and a pair of trys by Connor Braid would put Canada in good standing until Kenya would respond with a pair of back to back trys by Cyprian Kuto to pull near. Canada would respond three additional trys in the second half on scoring by Connor Braid ( 3rd), Admir Cejvanovic, and Phil Berna. Kenya’s Daniel Taabu would post a final try in a 36-21 losing effort.
Due to Canada’s loss to Samoa, and an upset win over Fiji, Canada would have to leave their playoff fate in the hands of a Fiji – Samoa match result that was to follow. Unfortunately for Canada Fiji would prevail, eliminating Canada from quarter final play.
The top two teams from each pool go to the quarter finals. Fiji, Samoa, and Canada all finished tied with a 2-1 record in their pool, evoking a points differential tie breaking rule which eliminated Canada from Cup quarter finals.
In the loss, head coach Damian McGrath would comment about his teams performance. “We finished well but we were suffering for the poor display first thing this morning,” said McGrath. “We were hoping for someone else do us a favour but really it should have been in our hands. As pleased as I am with how we finished the day, I’m disappointed with what went on early.”
Canada will now play Spain in the Challenge trophy quarter finals Sunday morning with hopes of advancing further in the day’s play.