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Rugby Canada – Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team opened the USA Sevens with loss to South Africa before come-from-behind draw against hosts; Canada to face Wales in final pool match on Saturday before knockout round

LAS VEGAS, USA – Canada claimed a defeat and a draw on Day One at the USA Sevens, setting up a must-win game against Wales. Liam Middleton’s men lost their opener to South Africa and followed that up with a much-improved shift to draw with USA. Saturday’s final pool match, against Wales, kicks off at 5:08pm ET/2:08pm PT and can be seen at www.worldrugby.org.

Canada 7-33 South Africa

Canada suffered a disappointing opening pool loss at the USA Sevens as South Africa ran out 33-7 winners on Friday. Former World Rugby Sevens Series champions the Blitzboks were a clinical opponent in the first-half as they capitalised on any chance that came their way, running in four tries as Canada had little response to stem this South African tide. 

Seabelo Senatla opened the scoring after two minutes when turnover ball led to him having a free run to the corner and the winger was over again soon after, as South Africa raced into a 12-0 lead in the Pool D game at Sam Boyd Stadium. Two further tries followed before the break when Justin Geduld and Ruhan Nel both crossed, making it a 26-0 cushion.

It was much better for Canada after the turnaround in terms of enjoying possession and territory but unfortunately they could not turn the pressure into points. In fact, South Africa countered with Bryan Habana racing over for their fifth try. But there was reason to cheer on full-time as Phil Mack, playing in his 50th World Rugby Series event and becoming the first Canadian to reach the feat, battled his way over the whitewash with Nathan Hirayama’s conversion making it 33-7.

Canada 26-26 USA

Canada almost produced an oustanding come-from-behind triumph in their final pool fixture of the day, against USA. Trailing 26-7 with only four minutes to play, the Canadians crossed for three scores and could have won in added time. However they would have to settle for a share of the spoils as USA held on amid an onslaught from their eager visitors.

USA opened the scoring inside a minute when Zach Test crossed and five minutes later they were over again thanks to a wonderful chip and chase from Perry Baker. With the second score converted, this week’s host nation held a 12-0 lead. Canada responded through Admir Cejvanovic for an effort that looked set to send the teams in at 12-5, but USA scored in the last play of the first-half when Martin Iosefo raced over to leave Canada with a huge job on their hands in Las Vegas.

19-7 was soon 26-7 after the break when Baker claimed his brace and with eleven minutes gone, Canada looked beaten. Then came four minutes of magic as tries from Conor Trainor, Hirayama and finally Mack brought Canada level, with USA then defending their line for the closing seconds. Unfortunately for Canada, the hosts stood firm until the final whistle.
 
Canada’s Roster for the Las Vegas Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
 
Admir Cejvanovic – (Burnaby Lake RFC/BC Bears) Burnaby, BC
Justin Douglas – (Abbotsford RFC/BC Bears) Abbotsford, 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 Las Vegas Day 1 Schedule:
 
Canada 7-33 South Africa
Canada 26-26 USA
 
Canada’s Las Vegas Day 2 Schedule:
 
Canada vs. Wales — 5:08pm ET/2:08pm PT

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. 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/RugbyCanada

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RugbyCanada

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Website: www.rugbycanada.ca 

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For more information, please contact:

Bryan Kelly, Rugby Canada

Manager, Communications and Media Relations

Phone: 250-216-5272

Email: bkelly@rugbycanada.ca