Canada finishes seventh at Japan Sevens rugby
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, March 23, 2014 1:43PM EDT
TOKYO -- An injury-hit Canada lost to England and the U.S. on Sunday to finish tied for seventh at the Japan Sevens.
Fiji scored five tries in the final to beat defending champion South Africa 33-26 and win the seventh leg of the International Rugby Board World Series. Emosi Mulevoro scored 11 points with a try and three conversions as Fiji claimed its second cup final of the season.
Despite the defeat, South Africa moved to the top of the series standings with 116 points, two ahead of New Zealand, which finished fourth after losing 21-12 to England in a third-place playoff. Fiji is third with 95 points, while England is fourth on 85 with three rounds of the series left to play.
Canada remains ninth in the series standings. The Canadians came to Tokyo on the back of impressive showings in the U.S. (third) and New Zealand (sixth).
Australia beat the United States 17-12 to win the second-tier Plate, while Argentina hammered Samoa 26-0 to claim the Shield for the bottom four sides.
Canada led the Americans 15-7 at halftime of the Plate semifinal but the U.S. reeled off 21 unanswered points in the second half to seal the win. Chauncey O'Toole, Harry Jones and Sean Duke scored tries for Canada.
O'Toole's last tournament was in London in May 2013 prior to a sabbatical from rugby.
On Saturday, the Canadians advanced to the Cup quarter-finals for the third straight tournament. But they were consigned to the Plate after being beaten 14-10 by England on Sunday. Sean White and Mike Scholz scored the Canadian tries.
On Saturday, Canada beat Portugal 40-5 and tied Wales 17-17 before losing a heartbreaker 22-17 to mighty New Zealand on a try scored after the hooter.
"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," head coach Geraint John said. "Against U.S.A., 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."
Injuries took their toll on Canada with captain Nathan Hirayama, Nanyak Dala and Ciaran Hearn all unable to finish the event.
The series switches to Hong Kong next for a three-day event starting Friday.