The wait is finally over; Canada are cup champions on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Canada claimed its first ever cup title Sunday as they defeated the USA 26-19 in the Singapore Sevens cup title. Nathan Hirayama was named Player of the Final. Earlier in the day, Canada had beaten New Zealand in the cup quarters and England in the cup semis. With the win, Canada moves to 7th through eight events on the 10-stop world series with only Paris (May 13-14) and London (May 20-21) to go.
It was the second ever cup final for Canada, whose first cup final appearance came in the 2014 Glasgow Sevens, which was a loss to New Zealand. Canada had gone 2-1 on Day 1 to advance into the cup competition.
What John Moonlight said:
"It's hard to put words into how it actually feels. We took a licking from Fiji yesterday and took a licking from the coach, from the players and ourselves and we showed up today and showed the world that we can beat anyone. We beat three of the top four teams here so we're flying.
The USA have been playing really well this year so the chance to go out there and beat them is awesome. I'm just happy for everybody. It's an unbelievable feeling. I'm so proud of the guys and how hard we've worked over the past year."
What Nathan Hirayama said:
"I'm speechless, I'm so proud of the boys. We've been working so hard, a lot of us for so long, and it feels so good to put a tournament together and get it done. We got a bit of a kick in the butt last night after Fiji, they hammered us and it was a bit of a wake-up call. We told ourselves we'd come out hard this morning and we just kept rolling."
CANADA 26-14 NEW ZEALAND
Canada reached its second cup semi-final of the year on the back of a Nathan Hirayama hat-trick. Hirayama got things going for Canada early on as his lovely sidestepped fooled the New Zealand defence and he touched down for an early 7-0 advantage.
Despite Regan Ware's response, Canada would come back strong as Hirayama would grab his second try after taking a John Moonlight offload, who had been the benefactor of a Justin Douglas line break. Mike Fuailefau extended the Canadian lead to 19-7 before the break before New Zealand hit back through Trael Joess.
However, Hirayama would have the last laugh and complete his hat-trick to send Canada into the cup semis.
CANADA 17-5 ENGLAND
Canada advanced to its second-ever cup final after a dominating display against England. After showing some terrific defence early on, England finally found the breakthrough as Ollie Lindsay-Hague touched down just before the break for a 5-0 lead.
However, it was all in Canada in the second half as Isaac Kaay got Canada on the board and they never looked back. Justin Douglas' try made it 12-5 before Mike Fuailefau sealed it with seconds left to give Canada a 17-5 win and a cup final appearance.
CANADA 26-19 USA
Canada made history Sunday as they claimed their first ever cup title in the first ever men's North American cup final. Canada exploded out of the gates, building a 19-0 lead as Matt Mullins, Harry Jones and Mike Fuailefau gave Canada a demanding lead.
The USA responded though — Perry Baker and Stephen Tomasin's tries cut the lead to 19-12 at the break. Baker would strike first in the second half, tying the game at 19-19. But it was Lucas Hammond who grabbed the biggest try in Canada's men's sevens history as he went over with a minute left to add another chapter to Canadian rugby history.
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Squad for Singapore Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Luke Bradley – (UVic Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep) Port Alberni, BC
Jared Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, BC
Mike Fuailefau – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond – (UVIC Vikes) Toronto, ON
Nathan Hirayama – (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Richmond, BC
Harry Jones – (Capilano RFC) Vancouver, BC
Isaac Kaay – (UVic Vikes) Kamloops, BC
Pat Kay – (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
Luke McCloskey – (Castaway Wanderers) Victoria, BC
John Moonlight – Captain (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Josiah Morra – (Toronto Saracens) Toronto, ON
Matt Mullins – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Belleville, ON
Unavailable for Selection:
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Head Coach – Damian McGrath
Assistant Coach – Lee Douglas
Physiotherapist – Danielle Mah
Analyst – Calum Ramsay
Manager – Brian Hunter
Singapore Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada 28-15 Russia
Canada 34-0 Hong Kong
Canada 7-35 Fiji
Singapore Sevens Day 2 Schedule:
Canada 26-14 New Zealand
Canada 17-5 England
Canada 26-19 USA