The Langford-based Canadian men’s team recorded a stunning result Saturday at the International Rugby Board Wellington Sevens in defeating Fiji, the most storied side in sevens, for only the second time in history.
The Canadians defeated the nine-time Hong Kong Sevens champions and three-time Commonwealth Games-medallist Fijians 28-19 to win the Bowl (consolation side championship).
It was only Canada’s second Bowl championship in an IRB tournament. The result was all the more remarkable because it came with star players Nanyak Dala of the Castaway Wanderers of Oak Bay and Phil Mack of the University of Victoria Vikes injured and unable to play.
With rugby sevens making its Olympic debut in 2016 at the Rio Summer Games, all nations are trying to keep their world ranking high in order to make the 12-team Olympic tournament.
Canada is ranked No. 11 and defeated Tonga 28-5 and Spain 31-7 earlier Saturday to reach the Bowl final.
Players from Island teams on the Canadian squad included Thyssen De Goede, Jeff Hassler and John Moonlight from James Bay Athletic Association, Sean Duke, Nathan Hirayama and Mack of the UVic Vikes and Ciaran Hearn and Dala of CW.
Canada now prepares for the IRB Las Vegas Sevens next weekend.
Meanwhile, the Canadian women’s team, also based at the Rugby Canada Centre of Excellence in Langford, was at the IRB Houston Sevens.
The Canadians advanced to today’s championship-round quarter-finals and a date with New Zealand after an adventurous opening day Saturday in which they tied the U.S. 12-12 and beat Argentina 31-0 and South Africa 24-14.
“I am pretty pleased with how we have done in Day 1,” said Canadian head coach John Tait, in a statement.
New Zealand will present a challenge today.
“But we know in order to win big tournaments, you have to beat the top teams,” added Tait.
In B.C. inter-union XVs play Saturday in Abbotsford, the three Island teams all went to 1-1 after varying results.
Fraser Valley (1-0) defeated the Island 25-7 in McKechnie Cup men’s play and can clinch the Cup with a win next weekend against Vancouver (0-1) at Brockton Oval.
The Valley (1-0) beat the Island 36-10 in Ruth Hellerud-Brown Cup action and can also clinch with a win next week against Vancouver (0-1).
The Island climbed back into the hunt for the U-20 boys’ Dunbar Keg Cup as Brandon Harrison and Fergus Hall scored two tries each in a 47-12 dismantling of the Fraser Valley (0-1).
The Island teams have all concluded play and must now await the results of the games between Vancouver and the Valley.
© Copyright 2013