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10/14/2013

CANADIAN SEVENS TEAM, FEATURING ONTARIO’S HAMMOND AND MOONLIGHT, FINISH AS BOWL RUNNERS-UP AT GOLD COAST SEVENS


Canada were runners-up in the Bowl competition at the Gold Coast Sevens after going down 14-19 to France in extra-time drama at Skilled Park on Sunday.

Geraint John's men had progressed to the final in Australia after beating Scotland 19-14 in the last four, which followed on from a solid 29-5 victory over Spain.

The results this weekend make it four wins from six games for the squad as they backed up yesterday's pool triumphs over Wales and Portugal very well indeed.

What head coach Geraint John said...

"I am very pleased and so proud of the effort, skill, attitude and commitment of the players and that includes all of them this weekend. To play like we did against the teams we faced shows great character. Some of these players had more game time this weekend than all of last year, which shows what an outstanding effort it was. I am very lucky not only to have great players but also staff who worked tirelessly."

"Having youngsters getting game time is a huge positive. I do not like singling players out but I thought the way both Lucas Hammond and Justin Douglas played was truly outstanding. They gave it their all like all the players over the weekend. Another positive was getting Pat Kay and Pat Parfrey on the field and for them to learn what an IRB tournament is about. All this can only grow our depth and makes it difficult times ahead for me in terms of selection for Dubai and South Africa."

"I'd like to give a big thanks to the squad for their support, commitment and attitude. They performed very well and I hope they want more. To do that I want them to go home and train even harder, learning from the weekend. Plus a big thanks to all my support staff - they make huge contributions to our success."

Canada 29-5 Spain
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Justin Douglas, 7 Lucas Hammond, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada continued their impressive Gold Coast form when they eased past Spain in the Bowl quarter-finals on Day Two of the opening tournament of the World Series.

It was an authoritative performance as the team showed they had shaken off the unlucky fact they had missed out on the Cup competition due to tries scored.

But they had no trouble crossing the whitewash against the Spanish as Lucas Hammond, Ciaran Hearn (2), Justin Douglas and Harry Jones got over the line.

Hammond set the Canadians on their way with just a minute on the clock when his superb individual effort saw him dummy, fend and outpace his opponents en-route to scoring. Connor Braid was unsuccessful with the difficult conversion but did get another opportunity soon after when a cool Hearn strolled in under the posts.

Canada were now holding a 12-0 lead as Spain struggled for ball and even lost a man to the sin-bin before the break when Cesar Sempere kicked the ball away.

Geraint John would ask for more of the same at the half-time break and Douglas was the first to provide his coach's wish as he claimed his third try of the weekend, racing over down the left wing before Braid slotted an excellent conversion to extend the margin to nineteen. Spain had four minutes to salvage some pride.

However, the Canadians weren't done there as slick passing led to Jones being the next player to score before Hearn got his double with two minutes still to play.

Spain did grab a consolation score via Javier Carrion but Canada had long since secured the victory that takes them forward to a Bowl semi against the Scots.

Canada 19-14 Scotland
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Justin Douglas, 7 Lucas Hammond, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada continued their fine run of form by overcoming Scotland in an end-to-end Bowl semi-final that saw Harry Jones add two more tries to his tournament tally.

The lead changed hands on several occasions in this Gold Coast clash, but Jones' superb double proved crucial as he replied to Scotland's scores in quick time.

Canada began the match strongly, again playing patient rugby while winning the physical battles, which helped create space for Nanyak Dala who found John Moonlight free on the right wing. Braid's difficult conversion miss meant the Canadians were 5-0 ahead of the Scots with two minutes played in the game.

Joe Nayacavou hit back before the five minute mark however after being put through a gap in the defense, with the simple extras leaving Canada trailing.

But then came the first of two occasions when Jones gave an immediate response to a Scottish try, this one seeing him bump off Andrew Turnbull before he raced under the posts to make life easier for kicker Braid. 12-7 it now was to Canada.

Soon after the resumption, Scotland would retake the lead when Nayacavou's initial work was finished off by Turnbull, who had collected his own chip kick for the score.

Enter Jones, who showed his superior leg power, fitness and speed for a run-in from 50 meters out with four minutes remaining. That turned out to be the final act on another impressive performance from the squad who edge closer to Bowl glory.

Canada 14-19 France (AET)
Line-up: 2 Connor Braid, 3 Nanyak Dala, 4 John Moonlight, 5 Justin Douglas, 7 Lucas Hammond, 10 Ciaran Hearn, 11 Harry Jones

Canada came agonizingly close to getting their hands on the Bowl at the Gold Coast Sevens, but ultimately went down to France 14-19 in extra-time agony on Sunday.

Despite leading 7-0 at half-time thanks to a try from the in-form Douglas, the Canadians were playing catch-up for most of the second-half at Skilled Park.

French duo Renaud Delmas and Paul Albaladejo had gone over for tries after the break, both converted by the latter, with the match as a spectacle illustrating that fatigued players were feeling the effects of a tough week. That didn't stop Canada giving their all, however, as the depleted squad of eleven left nothing in reserve.

Because of those two tries, Canada were trailing 7-14 as time ticked on but their patience in possession was rewarded when replacement Sean Ferguson dived into the left-hand corner with just three seconds remaining. The pressure was on Braid and he did not disappoint, landing an exceptional levelling kick from wide out.

That meant extra-time would decide the Bowl winner but unfortunately for Canada, it was the French who struck first through Julien Saubade in a result that shouldn't take any gloss off a superb effort from the whole squad in Australia. The team can hold their heads high after winning four out of their six games over the weekend.

Day One

Canada 10-20 Fiji
Canada 19-14 Wales
Canada 24-17 Portugal

Day Two
Canada 29-5 Spain
Canada 19-14 Scotland
Canada 14-19 France (AET)

Canada’s Roster for Gold Coast Sevens - (Club, CRC Team) Hometown, Province
 
Connor Braid - (James Bay AA/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Nanyak Dala - (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
Justin Douglas - (Abbotsford RFC) Abbotsford, BC
Sean Ferguson - (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Mike Fuailefau - (Castaway Wanderers/BC Bears) Victoria, BC
Lucas Hammond - (Toronto Nomads/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
Ciaran Hearn - (Castaway Wanderers/The Rock) Conception Bay South, NL
Nathan Hirayama, Captain - (UVic Vikes/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
Harry Jones - (Capilano RFC/BC Bears) North Vancouver, BC
Pat Kay - (UVIC Vikes/BC Bears) Duncan, BC
John Moonlight - (James Bay AA/Ontario Blues) Pickering, ON
Pat Parfrey - (Swilers RFC/The Rock) St. Johns, NL
 
Senior Men’s Team Staff:
 
Geraint John – Head Coach
Isabel Grondin – Therapist
Lorna Barry – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Brian Hunter – Manager

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