This past weekend, the HSBC Sevens World Series stopped in Glasgow, Scotland for its second to last tournament of the season. Hopes were high for the Canadian squad, ranked seventh coming into the tournament, coming off strong showings in Japan and Hong Kong in March.
On Day One, the Maple Leafs found themselves in a tough pool, squaring off against Japan, England and France in the preliminary round. Some much needed depth and experience returned to the squad for the final leg of the Seven’s Series as Adam Kleeberger, veteran of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, suited up once again for the Seven’s side.
Canada opened the tournament with a strong win over Japan, a 52-0 shutout, on the back of three tries from scoring leader Mike Scholz. Canada faced France in their second draw of the day and managed to shrug off an early deficit and yellow card for Connor Braid to win 28-12. This match really showed the grit and potency of the Canadian attack in coming back from an early hole, to win. It also provided easily the highlight of the Tournament on this Conor Trainor try to open the scoring for Canada.
The opening day came to a close when Canada squared off with England to a 7-7 tie. Scrum Half Phil Mack scored both the try and conversion early in the first half and Canada were unable to score in the second to bury the England.
Day Two saw Canada placed in the Championship bracket and a quarter final showdown with Kenya. Scholz and Harry Jones did all the scoring for Canada in the first half as the Maple Leafs advanced to the Cup semi-final with a 14-5 victory.
The semi-final pitted Canada against the hosts Scotland with both looking for their first final of the season, and in Canada’s case, first final appearance in history. After a scoreless first half, Phil Mack again did all the scoring for Canada with a try, conversion and penalty kick to seal a 10-7 victory for Canada and their first appearance in the final.
The dream match up against New Zealand posed plenty of match up issues as Canada had yet to defeat the Kiwi’s in the World Series this season. Again, Canada was defeated by a superior New Zealand side, as Harry Jones scored the only try in a 54-7 loss. The end result, although disappointing for the boys on the pitch, was a tremendous success for Canada. This season is already shaping up to be a banner year for Canada on the sevens circuit and their first ever Cup Final appearance is a testament to the growth of the program in the last two years. Canada is well prepared going in to the final round of the World Series in London this weekend, currently ranked sixth. The real success will be seen later this summer as Canada will compete for gold at the Commonwealth Games, in the lead up to the Brazil Olympics is 2016.
Well done lads, we’re all very proud you.
You can watch the London Sevens tournament in its entirety for free at irbsevens.com and catch all the highlights at youtube.com/IRB