Las Vegas, NV – March 3, 2019: Canada finished the 2019 HSBC USA Sevens in 13th place. A punishing set of group matches, including eventual finalists Samoa and Series leaders (heading into the tournament) New Zealand, made for a gruelling challenge for the Canadian Men’s team. The team battled hard throughout the tournament and wound up defeating Wales in the 13th Place Playoff.
The side now returns to BC ahead of the 2019 HSBC Canada Sevens Tournament at BC Place. They have been handed another challenging pool draw against the two finalists from last year’s final in Vancouver, Fiji and Kenya, as well as Samoa. However, with the roar of home support from a packed BC Place Stadium, expect Harry Jones, Nathan Hirayama and the rest of the team to come out all guns blazing and intent of delivering a strong performance.
If you missed any of the action from Las Vegas this weekend, Rugby Canada has game-by-game highlights below. Limited tickets are still available for the HSBC Canada Sevens on March 9-10, so don’t miss the sporting event of the year in Vancouver and grab yours now – https://www.canadasevens.com/tickets/.
Canada vs. Spain
Canada first match ends in a draw against Spain, 12 all.
Opening up the scoring for was Connor Braid, who leads the series in carries. The try went to a TMO decision after Braid scooped up the ball from a Nathan Hirayama ruck and touched it down just over the try line. With a Spanish score it was 5-5 at the break.
With Canada down a man from a yellow card to Hirayama, an exhausting series of phases inside their half ended in a try for Spain. In the final seconds of the match Spain couldn’t find touch and the ball was swung out wide, with Admir Cejvanovic breaking the line to score the final try. An excellent kick by Hirayama tied things at 12 just as the final whistle blew.
Canada vs. New Zealand
Canada fell in their second match of the USA Sevens series to New Zealand, losing 33-19.
Scoring for Canada in the first was Luke McCloskey and Mike Fuailefau. Harry Jones notched a try in the dying minutes of the match in his return to the Canadian Seven’s squad.
Canada vs. Samoa
Canada lost in their final pool game to Samoa. 26-19.
Samoa opened the scoring against Canada, notching three tries in the first half. Harry Jones found Luke McCloskey for his second try of the tournament. With a conversion by Nathan Hirayama, Samoa led 19-7 at the break.
The lone second-half try for Canada was scored by Hirayama off a pick and go to the short side. With Samoa in the lead, Canada started a mad dash for the try line with just under a minute to play. A series of errors inside the 5m line finally ended with a Samoan possession, ending the game in their favour, 26-19.
Canada vs. Scotland
Canada lose to Scotland in the challenge trophy quarterfinal 21-19.
After a series of tiring phases, Hirayama found Jake Thiel on the wing who slid in for the try. Scotland scored their second try of the first half on the final play before the whistle, leading 14-5 at the break.
The tournaments leading carrier Connor Braid turned on the afterburners to break the Scottish line and score for Canada. After another try by Scotland, Harry Jones beat his defender to in the closing seconds of the match. Jones popped up and called for no conversion but the ref ruled that time had already expired, ending the game without another opportunity from the restart for Canada. They fell just short, losing 21-19.
They now move onto the 13th place semifinal tomorrow against France. Kickoff is at 2:22pm ET/ 11:22am PT
Canada vs. France
Day three of the USA 7s opened with Canada taking on France in the 13th place semi-final, looking for their first win of the tournament. Victoria’s Luke McCloskey opened the scoring after an impressive turn-over at the breakdown from Harry Jones. Canada controlled much of the possession in the late stages of the opening half, and forward Matt Mullins doubled Canada’s try total with a 60m run to touch down under the posts. Nate Hirayama added the extra four points off the boot in the opening frame.
Early in the second half Hirayama was handed a tough yellow card after attempting to catch an errant pass, giving France’s Pierre Gilles Lakafia the opportunity to cut the lead in half with a try under the posts. Not long after, France’s Sadek Deghmache was given a red card for a dangerous tackle on Isaac Kaay, forcing his side to play the remainder of the game with six men. France would get one more try back on the board through JP Barraque with Adam Zaruba in the bin for a high tackle, but it was all Canada in the end as Hirayama and Jones each added tries to seal the 28-12 victory.
Canada vs. Wales
Canada finish the USA Sevens Series in 13th place after defeating Wales 21-12.
Starting the scoring off for Canada was Nathan Hirayama who grabbed the offload from Matt Mullins to score in the first minute of play. Before the break Mike Fuailefau showed off his strength with a big fend to push through the Welsh line and score. Hirayama added two conversions to put Canada up 21-12 at the break.
In the second it was the quick feet of Hirayama as he stepped through the Wales defence and touched down for a try. Wales scored in the final seconds of the match but it wasn’t enough to push them past Canada and they took it 21-12.