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Canadian men fall to Britain in rugby sevens quarterfinal

The best the host men can finish in Vancouver is fifth
Canada’s Josiah Morra, second right, runs with the ball during HSBC Canada Sevens quarterfinal rugby action against Britain, in Vancouver, on Sunday, September 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

An early turnover and a penalty resulted in a pair of tries for Britain in a 31-5 victory over Canada in a men’s quarterfinal Sunday at the World Rugby Sevens Series.

Canada possessed the ball in the game’s early stages, but couldn’t crack a strong British defence.

A Canadian turnover led to Britain’s first try.

Canadian captain Phil Berna was assessed a penalty for intentionally knocking down a pass later in the half. Playing a man short, the Canadians gave up another try to trail 14-5 at half time.

The British dominated the second half scoring thee more. Victoria’s Jack Carson scored Canada’s lone try of the match.

“We were strong out of the gate, but we couldn’t manage to keep it together for the full half,” Carson said. “That’s probably the most elite team we played so far, and it gives us some stuff to look at heading into our next game.”

The best the host men can finish in Vancouver is fifth.

Canada defeated Germany 24-5 and Chile 19-14 before losing 29-17 to the U.S. on Saturday.

Competing in the “Fast Four” tournament in Vancouver, Canada’s women fell 22-12 to the U.S. and 19-5 to Britain before defeating Mexico 39-0 on Saturday.

Canada (1-2) were to play the U.S. (2-1) in one semifinal Sunday, while Britain (3-0) faced Mexico (0-3) in the other. The winners plays for the gold medal and the losers meet for bronze.

The Canadian men fielded a young side with nine players making their series debut.

Several veterans including Nate Hirayama, Connor Braid, Justin Douglas and Conor Trainor all retired after the summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo where Canada finished eighth.

Vancouver’s tournament is the first HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series event since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the circuit in March of 2020.

Pandemic concerns limited attendance at BC Place Stadium at around 13,500 in the lower bowl, but fans in the stands still dressed for the occasion.

A group of nuns sat near several monks. There were plenty of superheroes, furry creatures and fuzzy wigs. The Mandolin watched games with Baby Yoda on his lap.

A large white unicorn showed some surprisingly good dance moves. Pirates snacked on popcorn while several pink pigs sipped beer.

The Vancouver tournament features only a dozen men’s teams instead of the standard 16. Rugby powerhouses New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and Samoa skipped the event.

World Rugby says there will be no relegation from the 2021 Series, and results will not count toward seedings for future events.

The Canadian teams will head to Edmonton for next week’s stop in the series.

Jim Morris, The Canadian Press

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