Canadian men fail audition in Los Angeles ahead of Vancouver 7s

CBC

It began brimming with potential. It ended with self-inflicted frustration.

For some it was an Olympic audition; for others it was a dress rehearsal for Vancouver.

For all it was a real chance to make a tangible impression at the USA Sevens but Team Canada failed to deliver when it really mattered.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

It wasn't all bad by any means. The Canadians finished strongly in Los Angeles. Only a last gasp try by Argentina denied them a 4 game win streak. Justin Douglas shone on his comeback, and Nate Hirayama became only the 3rd player in history to surpass 1,800 points.

But ultimately the Canadians left us wondering what might have been.

WATCH | Argentina defeats Canada with late try:

It was a lot of graft for modest reward. A 10th place finish raises no eyebrows and writes no headlines. Canada gave a hard working, honest account of itself, but as so often before turnovers and handling errors spoiled much of the positive industry.

At the halfway point of the campaign, Head Coach Henry Paul needs no reminding his troops have only once reached the Cup quarter finals in 5 events. The L.A. Sevens presented Canada with a golden chance to advance and carry real momentum into its home leg next weekend.

Last second losses

The opener against Ireland was always going to be pivotal. For a period the Canadians had control but mistakes at the start and finish proved fatal. Terry Kennedy's spectacular try in the closing seconds will make plenty of highlight reels.

As he danced and slalomed his way past virtually the entire Canadian team, it was also a stark lesson in how not to defend. Red shirts were standing around like statues as the Irish celebrated avenging their recent loss to Canada in Sydney.

WATCH | Canada falls to Ireland on late try:

It was all uphill from there. A predictable defeat to South Africa left the Canadians clutching at straws. A comprehensive win over Kenya – featuring a Douglas hat-trick – was all in vain. It was pretty to watch but yielded no reward.

If you like your glass half full, day two produced a measure of improvement. The Canadians were in full control against the Scots and the Spaniards but just when they were on the cusp of beating Argentina another late lapse cost them the game.

Welcome return

Justin Douglas strode back into battle like the warrior he is. His 5 tries in L.A. put an exclamation point on his comeback – leading all Canadian scorers and again proving his value to this team. The man from Abbotsford, B.C., has every reason to be excited about his homecoming next weekend.

WATCH | Canada bests Scotland:

Conor Trainor did not disappoint. After four years away from Sevens competition it's going to take him time to readjust from the 15s format. He scored a pair of tries over the weekend, but other younger men will battle their fellow Canadian for the right to call themselves Olympians.

South African rally

As for the Olympic Champions, Fiji's star is in the ascendency. The islanders continue to batter and bamboozle just about all comers into submission.

Fiji should have collected back-to-back wins in the Southern and Northern Hemisphere but South Africa completed a miracle overtime comeback after trailing by 19 points to claim Gold in the Golden State.

Stand by for a vibrant, noisy, fancy dress party on the Left Coast next week.

What to Read Next