Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team won the Bowl Title at the hugely exciting inaugural HSBC Canada Men’s Sevens on Sunday night at BC Place, on a day that they beat Brazil, England and France to finish the tournament with a 5-1 record.
Day Two at the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament on Canadian soil had drama aplenty and it was fitting that a late converted score would send the thousands of supporters in attendance at BC Place home delighted. Bowl victory means Canada pick up not only the silverware but also eight points on the Series on a memorable weekend.
Reaction from Head Coach Liam Middleton
“I can’t criticize our performances. We were very consistent. You win five of your six games in any World Series tournament it’s an exceptional achievement. They’ve shown great character and ability this weekend. What a phenomenal tournament. Tournament’s are made by spectators and this is the best crowd we’ve ever seen on the World Series. This has been the best tournament in the series so far.”
Reaction from Captain John Moonlight
“We lost one game by seven points to prevent us going to the cup round but we won everything else. I think teams are noticing that. We’re turning our play on. We’re only going to get better leading into Rio.”
Reaction from Nathan Hirayama
“This has been great. It’s been something we’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. We were really up for the weekend and while we were disappointed not to be playing for the cup, we came out and won three games today.”
Canada 19-0 Brazil
Canada opened Day Two at the Vancouver Sevens with a solid 19-0 triumph over Brazil in front of their BC Place faithful. Victory booked the team’s progress into the Bowl semi-final where they would meet England, who had defeated Portugal.
While the scoreline was not emphatic, the Canadians did dominate the match from start to finish but could not turn their pressure into points, with a mixture of handling errors and solid Brazilian defence halting any real force going forward. Nathan Hirayama did manage to open the scoring in the fourth minute when he slipped through before adding the extras.
And just before half-time the lead was up to twelve points when after Felipe Sancery was yellow carded for slowing down the ball, Hirayama went over again wide on the left. Unfortunately the playmaker could not land the difficult conversion. The second period was also a cagey affair and Canada had to wait until the final minute to cross the line, with Hirayama again the provider of the points when he set off from halfway. That completed his treble and sealed Canada’s progress.
Canada 17-7 England
Canada secured a place in Sunday’s Bowl Final after they got the better of England, winning 17-7 at a rocking BC Place. It was 7-7 at the interval but Canada enjoyed most of the ball in front of their fans, who roared them to another victory.
Mike Fuailefau got his team moving with a well-taken score on three minutes when he gobbled up the loose ball before running over, with Hirayama adding the difficult extra two points to hand his charges the perfect start in the semi-final. England did respond before the interval though as Dan Norton’s chip and re-gather close to Canada’s line made it 7-7.
The second-half however was all Canada as they lifted their game in front of an electric crowd, with quick-fire tries from Hirayama and Fuailefau putting the seal on a victory that gave the team a chance of silverware on their home surface.
Canada 19-17 France
For the second time in 24 hours, Canada claimed a last-ditch victory in Vancouver, picking up the Bowl ahead of France. It seemed the squad would fall short of a win when France had possession with time up and a 17-12 lead in their pocket.
But up stepped John Moonlight with a powerful finish before Hirayama slotted the crucial two points that won the game. It was 0-0 until the sixth minute before Julien Candelon broke against the run of play to score a long-range try for 7-0.
But after the break it was a new beginning for Canada, with Hirayama levelling with an effort to send the home fans wild. The French though hit back with tries from Stephen Parez and Candelon and even though Harry Jones scored after, France held a handy five-point advantage heading into the final minute of a game that kept supporters on the edge of their seat. Enter Moonlight, who made France pay for not kicking the ball out as he crashed over before Hirayama coolly did the rest.
Canada’s Roster for the HSBC Canada Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Sean Duke – (Unattached) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) West Vancouver, BC
Pat Kay – (Unattached) Duncan, BC
Phil Mack – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Conor Trainor – (UBCOB Ravens/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Sean White – (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Unavailable due to injury:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Nanyak Dala – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Mike Scholz – (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
Liam Underwood – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
Liam Middleton – Head Coach
Lee Douglas – Assistant Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager
Danielle Mah – Physiotherapist
Calum Ramsay – Performance Analyst
Canada’s HSBC Canada Sevens Vancouver Day 1 Schedule:
Canada 19-26 Wales
Canada 14-12 Australia
Canada 29-12 Russia
Canada’s HSBC Canada Sevens Vancouver Day 2 Schedule:
Canada 19-0 Brazil
Canada 17-7 England
Canada 19-17 France
About Rugby Canada
Rugby Canada is the national governing body of the sport of rugby union in Canada. Rugby Football has a long history in Canada dating back to its initial appearance in the 1860s. Since 1974, Rugby Canada has been a permanent fixture on the global rugby scene, including trips to each of the eight Men’s Rugby World Cups and seven Women’s Rugby World Cups. As a regular on the Men’s and Women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Canada continues to climb the world rankings and challenge the dominant rugby nations in both versions of the game.
To support the growth of rugby at the grass-roots level and to ensure there are elite programs for prospering young rugby players to become involved with, Rugby Canada has put an emphasis on developing its junior programs. Our goal is to develop and train competitive teams for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland and 2019 Men’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.
For more information, please contact:
Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada
Manager, Communications and Media Relations