Canada gave up a pair of tries less than 30 seconds apart, then were denied a last-minute scoring chance in a 19-14 loss to Australia during Sunday’s semifinal at the HSBC Canada Sevens Rugby tournament.
With Canada threatening to tie the match in extra time Theo Sauder was tackled at the goal line. An instant replay showed the ball touched down just before crossing the line.
“I wish my arm was one inch longer,” said the Vancouver native.
Canada will play South Africa for the bronze medal while New Zealand and Australia meet in the final.
WATCH | Canada comes up inches short of gold medal final:
Canada and Australia were tied 7-7 at half time. The Australians went ahead 12-7 on a Henry Hutchinson try. Lachie Miller extended the lead to 19-7 when Australia recovered the kickoff.
Mike Fuailefau of Victoria put Canada back in the match with a late try but the Canadians couldn’t push over the winning points.
Coach Paul Henry called the loss heartbreaking.
“I think we got a little bit of what we deserved,” he said. “We weren’t as clinical. To take it to the last second, that’s the path we are trying to get on.”
WATCH | The full match between Canada and Australia:
Harry Jones of West Vancouver scored Canada’s other try. Nathan Hirayama of Richmond, B.C., added two converts.
The Canadian used a 21-0 win over Spain earlier in the day to advance to their first-even semifinal at the Vancouver tournament.
WATCH | The full match between Canada and Spain:
Scrum-half Lucas Hammond had a big game, scoring the game’s first try and making a big defensive play when he knocked a Spanish player to touch at the goal line.
The Toronto native has just returned to the lineup after missing 14 months with a ligament injury in his foot.
“It was a tough year,” he said. “I was always focused on this moment and getting back into it.
“The boys have been great, helping me get back to speed relatively quick.”
Canada won all 3 games on Saturday
It was a tight game with Canada leading 7-0 at half time. Justin Douglas of Abbotsford, B.C., and Sauder scored late in the second half to seal the victory. Hirayama added three converts.
The Canadians won all three of their games during Saturday’s opening day of competition in the 16-team tournament. They started with a convincing 31-21 win over France, needed a couple late tries to upset Fiji 26-21, then pounded Wales 29-7 to finish on top of Pool B.
Canada’s best finish at the Vancouver tournament was a seventh in 2018. Their best finish in a tournament this year was a fifth in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Douglas said the team has been progressing all season.
“Just really buying into the game plan, really playing our structures,” he said. “Doing our roles within the team.”
A loud BC Place Stadium crowd cheered on the Canadians. At half time the fans serenaded the team with an enthusiastic, if off-key, version of O’Canada.
Spectators came in a variety of colourful and imaginative costumes.
There were simple outfits like loud shirts decorated with pineapples and matching hats or black-and-red lumberjack jackets. Fuzzy onesies, some with hoods, were popular, as were red-and-white suits dotted with maple leaves. Brown sheep sat besides pink furry pigs near pandas. There were a group of Sasquatch wearing Canadian toques and pink flamingos lapping beer.
Flags from all the participating countries waved.
The tournament is being played at the same time other sports events around the world are being cancelled or postponed due to the spread of the coronavirus.
B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix mentioned the tournament at the Vancouver COVID-19 update the previous day.
“I know people love that event and have been waiting for it to come to Vancouver, but if you’re sick, don’t go,” said Dix, a sports fan who has attended the event in the past. “Watch it on TV.”
Published at Mon, 09 Mar 2020 00:04:43 +0000