The Canadian men got the start they wanted in their opener, but inexperience and nervousness showed as a powerhouse Australian side quietly took control for a 26-10 win on Saturday at the HSBC Canada Sevens rugby tournament at BC Place Stadium.
Tries from Alex Russell and Jake Thiel gave Canada a 10-0 lead with less than two minutes remaining, but Australia came back strong with 26 unanswered points.
“We have to wrap up games like this and learn to manage better,” said captain Phil Berna, who, along with Thiel, is one of the few veterans of the young Canadian side.
Russell said Australia are a quality team that have benefited from Canadian mistakes.
“It’s our own mistakes that we have to correct,” he said. “We have the talent, we can score tries. We just have to fine tune things now.”
Canada was in a tough group with South Africa, Australia and Spain in the 16-team tournament. The Canadians need at least one surprise on Saturday if they hope to stay in contention for Sunday’s final.
The top two teams from each pool advance.
In the other Pool C game, Spain scored first, then gave up 24 consecutive points in a 31-12 loss to South Africa.
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“There is a lot of good to be gained from it”
Canada coach Henry Paul said the loss showed his team’s potential.
“There’s a lot of good to be had from it,” he said. “I think there are also learning moments.”
Organizers hope to attract around 20,000 fans each day of the tournament.
Among the colorful and imaginative costumes on Saturday were a group of penguins, several pink piggies, Teletubbies, the Seven Dwarfs with long gray beards, workers wearing helmets and pink vests, angels of various sizes, the whole family Flintstone and various furry creatures. , many with drinks in their paws.
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The Canadian men have 24 points in the first five World Rugby Seven Series tournaments, leaving them tied for 13th place with Wales among the 19 teams competing.
Canada’s best result this year was a quarter-final defeat of the tournament in Malaga, Spain. At the next two tournaments in Seville and last week in Singapore, Canada won just one of 11 games.
The Canadian team saw 10 veterans drop out of the seven-man team that finished eighth at the Tokyo Olympics.