London, England – May 26, 2019: The Canadians finished in seventh at the HSBC London Sevens Series this past weekend, confirming their place in the next edition of the World Rugby Sevens Series to begin in the winter.
Interim head coach Henry Paul will be relieved to have secured the spot, as it allows the injured Connor Braid time to recover ahead of the all-important RAN Olympic Qualifying tournament with no need to rush the player back into the lineup.
Canada began the opening day of the tournament with a hard-fought 14-12 win against the Argentinians. Matt Mullins of Victoria’s James Bay AA responded for Canada after Argentina opened the scoring with a quick try, before Abbotsford’s Justin Douglas grabbed the offload from Adam Zaruba on the win and burned down the line for a score.
Their second opponents, the South Africans, proved a tough challenge. falling 45-14. Mullins got his second try of the tournament to get Canada on the board. Luke McCloskey tied things up for the Canadians just before half, taking the inside ball from Mullins to score, but South Africa scored four unanswered in the second half to take the win.
The Canadian’s third match of the day came against Japan, with Canada winning 31-12 in an impressive performance. It was all Adam Zaruba in the first, notching a hattrick in the first seven minutes of play to put Canada well ahead. In the second, Justin Douglas scored yet another sideline try at breakneck speed, matching his effort from the first game of the day. Jake Thiel, teammate of Douglas at Abbotsford, was the next to score with a powerful run to secure the victory for Canada and clinch a quarterfinal appearance.
Canada lost to historic rivals USA 29-14. in the cup quarterfinals falling
The USA controlled the first half of the match going up 17-0, but the Canadians did well to claw their way back into the match as Nathan Hirayama and Admir Cejvanovic scored to chip away at the American lead, but the US was able to regain control of the game and put points on the board to put the game out of reach for Canada.
Canada faced off against Ireland in the 5th place semifinals but Ireland took the match, 33-14. The score was even at the half after Jake Thiel finally broke through in the late stages to draw level, and substitute Andrew Coe scored to open the second half and take a lead. However, the Irish side were resilient and battled all the way back to take the win.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series comes to a close this weekend in Paris on before the Canadians head to the Cayman Islands for the RAN Sevens Olympic Qualifier, where Canada can book their ticket to Tokyo with a good showing.
The matches will be available live at the CBC Sports website and live in-game updates are available at the World Rugby 7s Match Centre.
CBC TV will air delayed broadcasts of the games at 1 PM PT on June 1 and 11AM PT on June 2.