Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada
Canada’s Men’s Rugby Sevens Team secured a place in the HSBC Canada Sevens cup quarterfinals after finishing day one with a 2-1 record.
In front of more than 38,000 fans at BC Place in downtown Vancouver, which is a sell-out and the largest crowd in Canadian Rugby history, Canada beat Scotland and Russia to advance before narrowly losing 15-14 to New Zealand in the day's final game. Canada will now face South Africa at 2:08pm ET/11:08am PT LIVE on www.worldrugby.org.
What head coach Damian McGrath said:
"Three of the last four tournaments we've got to the quarterfinals so we've proved we're a top eight team. We're disappointed to just get to the quarterfinals now so we need to take that next step. I wouldn't put anything past us tomorrow. To come out and compete like we did against New Zealand with nine fit players, it tells a story about how committed the players are and as a team they want to do well."
CANADA 28-10 SCOTLAND
In front of a passionate home crowd, Canada got its HSBC Canada Sevens campaign off to a thunderous start. Justin Douglas, who was the odd man out last year, opened the scoring for Canada after a heavy wave of pressure before Adam Zaruba extended the lead to 14-0.
After Dougie Fife got Scotland on the board, Canada pushed their lead to 21-5 at the break as captain Harry Jones got in on the scoring. Isaac Kayy had Canada's lone second half try either side of scores from Scott Wight and Ally Miller but Canada were rarely threatened late on to open the day with a win.
CANADA 26-5 RUSSIA
Canada marched into the cup quarterfinals after Adam Zaruba's hat-trick. In a tight first half, Canada took a 7-5 lead into the break after Zaruba's try cancelled out Eduard Filatov's opening try.
However, Canada dominated the second half with Isaac Kaay pushing Canada's lead to 14-5 before Zaruba's two tries sealed himself a hat-trick and a place in the cup quarters.
CANADA 14-15 NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand squeaked out a narrow win over Canada to take Pool D. Canada took an early lead as Harry Jones took Adam Zaruba's offload in for the opening try. However, Vilimoni Koroi and Scott Curry gave New Zealand a slender 10-7 advantage at the break.
A second Koroi try pushed the New Zealand to 15-7 and despite a last gasp Zaruba try, Canada were narrowly beaten by a point.
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Squad for Canada Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Phil Berna – (UBC Thunderbirds) Vancouver, BC
Luke Bradley – UVic Vikes/Port Alberni Black Sheep (Port Alberni, 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 – Captain (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 – (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Matt Mullins – (Queen’s University/Ontario Blues) Belleville, ON
Adam Zaruba – (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Canada’s Canada Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada 28-15 Scotland
Canada 26-5 Russia
Canada 14-15 New Zealand
Canada’s Canada Sevens Day 2 Schedule:
Canada vs. South Africa — 2:08pm ET/11:08am PT