Hamilton, NZ – January 26, 2020: BC players shone on the pitch in Hamilton for Canada’s men’s sevens team en route to a strong fifth-place finish that boosted their position in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series overall standings.
Canada managed to win two of its pool matches but failed to advance to the medal bracket due to points differential. France moved on to the final four ahead of Canada.
The first fixture of the tournament for the Canadians was a thrilling victory over Ireland, with Vancouver’s Phil Berna scoring a last-minute try to win 26-21. All but five of the Canadian points were scored by BC players with Jake Thiel adding a try and Nathan Hirayama scoring a try and a conversion. Former UBC Thunderbird Andrew Coe scored the other try for Canada.
Canada’s next fixture was a 12-12 draw with France – Hirayama picked up another conversion, and Coe added his second try of the tournament.
Pool play concluded with a comeback win over Spain. Down 14-7 at the half, Hirayama and BC’s Harry Jones scored second-half tries to lift the Canadians over the Spaniards 21-14.
The Canadian men closed out the tournament on a positive note, running up a 21-0 halftime lead over the Americans in the fifth-place playoff. BC players Theo Sauder, Pat Kay and Phil Berna scored tries for Canada, as did former University of Victoria centre Lucas Hammond. Kay added four conversions in the fifth-place final as Canada beat the USA 28-7.
The performance moved Canada from 12th to ninth in the standings after three tournaments.
This weekend, both the men’s and women’s sevens teams will be travelling to Australia for the Sydney Sevens, ahead of the Los Angeles Sevens and then the upcoming HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver, British Columbia in early March. Matches are available to watch live and archived for replay at https://www.cbc.ca/sports/rugby.