Plucky Canadians perform well in Japan Sevens

Date published: April 9 2014

Canada finished seventh at the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Tokyo after an injury-hit side lost to England and the USA.

Canada finished seventh at the IRB Sevens World Series tournament in Tokyo after an injury-hit side lost to England and the USA on Sunday, March 23rd.

Fiji were crowned champions in Japan as they defeated defending series champions South Africa 33-26, courtesy of five tries and an inspired performance from Emosi Mulevoro.

Despite the loss in the seventh leg of the series, South Africa moved to top spot with 116 points, just two ahead of New Zealand.

The All Blacks Sevens finished fourth after they lost the third-place playoff 21-12 against England, but they will certainly be one of the favorites with the sports books when the series moves on to Hong Kong next.

Winners Fiji are third in the standings on 95 points while England sit fourth with an overall haul of 85 points as the competition heads into the final three rounds.

Australia defeated the United States 17-12 to secure Plate glory and Argentina pulverized Samoa 26-0 to win the Shield played between the bottom four sides.

Impressive showings against the big guns

Canada, meanwhile, will be quietly confident and pleased at their efforts in Japan, although there may be some feeling of what could have been, given that the Canadians were ahead against the USA and only lost narrowly to England, surely a feat in itself. Despite been seen as outsiders prior to the tournament Canada put in some really strong performances.

Before those games the Canadians had hammered Portugal 40-5 and drew 17-17 with Wales as well as suffering a heartbreaking 22-17 loss to New Zealand.

The 14-10 defeat to the English side consigned Canada to the Plate event after they had successfully negotiated their way to the quarter-finals for the third tournament running.

Defeat to USA sees familiar face score

The defeat was a tough one to take but the Canadians dusted themselves down and actually found themselves leading the Americans 15-7 at half-time in the Plate semi-final.

However, the United States scored 21 unanswered points in the second half to secure a comprehensive victory.

Chauncey O'Toole, whose last tournament was in London in May 2013 before he took a sabbatical from rugby, scored for Canada along with Harry Jones and Sean Duke.

John proud of his side

Canada head coach Geraint John was pleased with the efforts of his players in Japan, although he did rue missed opportunities – especially in the tackle – against the Americans.

“I am very proud of the players and their fight as we showed a great deal of grit, especially in that first game versus England,” John said.

“Against the USA, we fell off too many tackles and that was the difference. You have to be clinical and make those hits.

“I'd like to look at the positives this weekend such as our win [against Portugal] plus our performances against New Zealand and England, which were outstanding.”

The IRB Sevens World Series now moves on to Hong Kong for a three-day event, which begins on March 28.