There was a heady moment Saturday when the heavily Island-laced Canadian national team thought it had a chance of reaching the semifinals in the Dubai Sevens, perhaps the most important annual rugby sevens tournament after the Hong Kong Sevens.
But it proved elusive as Canada failed to take advantage of territorial superiority in dropping a 17-9 quarter-final decision to eventual third-place finisher Kenya. Canada then defeated Portugal 28-12 in the loser-side semifinals before being downed by Wales 21-14 in the Plate final.
Samoa defeated New Zealand 26-15 in the main Cup final to win the Dubai Sevens championship.
Canada had qualified for the quarter-finals after an impressive opening round Friday with wins over France, the U.S. and a tie against vaunted Australia.
"This tournament showed we can compete with the best," said Langford-based head coach Geraint John, in a Rugby Canada statement.
"We all believe Kenya in the quarter-final was a lost opportunity, plus the Plate final defeat to Wales. But to finish sixth in an IRB World Series Sevens tournament must be deemed a success - but one which we want to build on and show the world that it was not just a one off."
The Canadian team in Dubai included Island players Nanyak Dala, Ciaran Hearn and Chauncey O'Toole of Castaway Wanderers; Thyssen de Goede, Jeff Hassler and John Moonlight of James Bay Athletic Association; and Sean Duke, Phil Mack and Nathan Hirayama of the UVic Vikes.
Rugby sevens is set to make its Summer Olympics debut at Rio in 2016.
Meanwhile, the defending 2011 Dubai champion Canadian women, considered among the top-three female teams in the world, lost a difficult quarter-final against Australia 14-10 on Saturday.
After a 24-0 victory over England on the losers-side quarter-final, Canada was defeated 14-10 by Russia in the Plate final.
New Zealand won the Cup final to become Dubai Sevens champion.
The Canadian women now return to Langford for a three-week training camp at the Rugby Canada Centre of Excellence Westhills Stadium and Goudy Field in preparation for their next IRB tournament in Houston, Texas.
SCRUM NOTES: With several of their players in Dubai, both James Bay (5-3) and Castaway Wanderers (3-4-1) dug deep for their men's Island Elite League fixture Saturday won 16-14 by CW at Macdonald Park.
Young star Mike Dalsin raced across for a CW try with Fraser Lyle converting and adding two penalty goals and a drop goal. James Bay got tries from Peter Gillespie and Andrew De Goede. Former UVic Vikes soccer goaltender Dan Kilpatrick, who is becoming quite the story with his transformation into an impact rugby player, converted both tries.
The game was also part of the new round-robin format for the Barnard Cup with those standings now at 2-1 for CW, 1-1 for James Bay and UVic at 1-2.
© Copyright 2013