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Hosts place 10th in Canada Sevens at B.C. Place

The retooling Langford-based Canadian men’s team went 3-3 in hosting the Canada Sevens over the weekend at B.C. Place to place 10 th , which is four placings higher than its HSBC World Series ranking heading into the tournament.
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Canada's Jake Thiel, right, tackles Ireland's Jordan Conroy during HSBC Canada Sevens rugby action, in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, April 17, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The retooling Langford-based Canadian men’s team went 3-3 in hosting the Canada Sevens over the weekend at B.C. Place to place 10th, which is four placings higher than its HSBC World Series ranking heading into the tournament.

Canadian head coach Henry Paul described it as a “springboard” as Canada moved into an 11th place tie in the season standings.

The two-day attendance total was announced at 33,444 fans, about only half of which normally attended in pre-pandemic times. But there was still a vibrant swirl of colour in the stands, standard fare in rugby sevens, with fans dressed as Mounties, lumberjacks, Where’s Waldos, banana peels and astronauts.

They saw Canada beat Japan 29-5 and Scotland 26-22 on Sunday before losing 17-7 to Ireland.

That followed a 1-2 Saturday on the opening day as Canada scored the first 10 points in a swift start to the tournament only to see Australia roar back to win with 26 consecutive points. The next game was a gritty effort in a 19-14 loss to South Africa before a 26-21 victory over Spain.

Argentina shocked two-time defending Rio and Tokyo Olympic champion Fiji 20-10 in the championship game at Vancouver. The Aussies captured the bronze medal.

Canada, looking long-term to Paris 2024 Olympic qualification, is in the midst of a major rebuild after the retirement of several foundational veterans following the quarter-final appearance in the Tokyo Olympics last summer. Those Canadian Olympians were introduced at the start of the tournament. But it’s now all about the future.

“It’s a massive learning curve for these young Canadian team players,” said former University of Victoria Vikes great Nathan Hirayama, now retired after carrying the flag into the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics.

“But we saw the talent when these younger players would train beside us in Langford. They just need time together. They will get their shot.”

As part of the emerging group that played in their home province over the weekend at B.C. Place were Victoria players Anton Ngongo, a Claremont Secondary graduate who scored two tries Sunday, Glenlyon Norfolk School grad Brennig Prevost and Oak Bay High-product Lachlan Kratz.

Canada is in Nassau, Bahamas, this weekend for the Americas regional qualifier for the sevens World Cup this year in Cape Town, South Africa.