Canada’s men bounced back from a rocky start to the HSBC New Zealand Sevens on Saturday, defeating Spain 12-5 for their first win of the tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Josiah Morra and Thomas Isherwood scored the tries for Canada, while Brock Webster added a conversion.
The Canadians opened the tournament by falling 34-5 to South Africa and 29-14 to Argentina.
South Africa recorded 29 straight points en route to victory in the opening Group D. The Canadians regrouped and put on a better show against Argentina, but conceded three late tries.
The Canadian men will face Kenya in the quarterfinals for ninth place.
The ninth-ranked Canadian women tied No. 4 France 12-12 and lost 33-7 to No. 1 Australia before falling 17-7 to No. 10 Japan in Pool B.
Olivia De Couvreur and Charity Williams scored tries for Canada, which led 7-5 at half-time against France. Olivia Apps added a conversion.
A late converted try by Frenchman Ian Jason got the French out even after Williams had extended the Canadian lead to 12-5.
Krissy Scurfield scored for Canada against Australia, who were leading 14-7 at the half.
CLOCK | World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Hamilton: Canada vs. Australia:
South Africa entered New Zealand second in the men’s overall standings after three events at the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series compared to 13th for the Canadian men, who finished pool play against No. 12 Spain.
Shilton van Wyk scored three tries while Selvyn Davids, Christie Grobbelaar and Shaun Williams added singles for South Africa, which led 19-5 at the half. Ricardo Duarttee kicked two conversions.
Captain Phil Berna scored Canada’s only try.
CLOCK | World Rugby Sevens Series Men’s Hamilton: Canada vs. South Africa:
Elias Ergas and Jake Thiel scored tries for Canada against Argentina, which defeated Spain 20-5 in their opener. Brock Webster added two conversions.
Argentina came out hitting hard, but it was Canada who scored first when Ergas touched down after a quick bunt from Isherwood following an Argentinian no-roll penalty.
The South Americans led 14-7 at half time after converted tries from German Schulz and Agustín Fraga, with a powerful run from Rodrigo Isgro setting up Fraga’s try on the stroke of half time.
Thiel got Canada out even early in the second half after a nice passing play that began with one Canadian unintentionally kicking the ball to another after an Argentine touch.
Marcos Moneta, the 2021 World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, put Argentina ahead 19-14 after receiving a clever over-the-shoulder pass from Luciano González near the Canadian try line. Fraga added to the lead after being assisted by Moneta, who used his speed as the clock was ticking down to get past a Canadian and chase down a kick for one last try.
CLOCK | World Rugby Sevens Series Men’s Hamilton: Canada vs. Argentina:
South Africa strikes early, often
In the opening match, South Africa’s men scored early after Canada were penalized on the break that followed kick-off. The Blitzboks went for a scrum and van Wyk ran into the blindside for the try.
Canada responded with a nice team try set up by a line break from Matt Oworu, who fed Isherwood to keep the play alive. Bern finished off the elegant attack to tie 5-5.
End-to-end action leads to a Canada try! 🇨🇦🏉
The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team takes on South Africa as the season continues with their 2023 opener in New Zealand @RugbyCanada
It was all South Africa after that.
The Canadian men finished 14th in both Dubai and Cape Town after opening the season with a 10th-place performance in Hong Kong. After losing to Fiji in the Hong Kong quarterfinals, South Africa won in Dubai and finished fourth in Cape Town.
The central team ranked 15th after the tenth round in Toulouse in May will be relegated. The teams ranked 12th, 13th and 14th at the end of the Toulouse event will take part in a four-team relegation playoff along with the winner of the 2023 Challenger Series at the season finale in London.
The relegation playoff will have a round-robin format with the top two teams playing a final. The winner will become the 12th premier team of the 2024 Series, while the other three teams will enter their respective Regional Sevens Championships to qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.
The Canadian women’s team dealing with injuries
Injuries prompted Canada women’s coach Jack Hanratty to call for reinforcements for the New Zealand tournament. Canada was reduced to eight players on the final day of play last month at the South Africa Sevens, where they finished eighth.
Australia won the season-opening event in Dubai and were runners-up to New Zealand in South Africa.
Maddy Grant and Alysha Corrigan transition from the national team aged 15. Pamphinette Buisa, part of the Canadian Olympic team of seven in Tokyo, and Chloe Daniels return to the roster of seven.
Buisa and Daniels were also part of Canada’s 15-man squad at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, where Canada finished fourth in November.
After New Zealand, the Canadian men and women head to Australia for the HSBC Sydney Sevens on January 27-29.