Canada rallies for late win over Kenya at Day 1 of HSBC Los Angeles Sevens

The Canadian Press

CARSON, Calif. — Justin Douglas scored three tries as Canada rallied from two earlier losses to close out group play Saturday with a 24-0 win over Kenya at the HSBC Los Angeles Sevens.

The Canadian men opened the day with a 17-12 loss to Ireland before giving up 33 unanswered points in a 33-5 loss to South Africa.

Ireland tied South Africa 19-19 in the final Group B match to finish atop the group and knock Canada out of Cup quarterfinal contention. The Irish looked to have won the game at 19-12 but Terry Kennedy mistimed his kick out of touch to end the contest.

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The ball went out with one second remaining and South Africa scored a converted try off the ensuing lineout to tie the game. 

Canada stands 10th in the overall standings while South Africa is No. 2, Ireland No. 9 and Kenya No. 11 after four stops on the 10-event HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

The Canadians will play Scotland on Sunday.

In the Cup quarterfinals, Fiji will face England, Australia takes on Ireland, New Zealand plays France and South Africa meets the host Americans.

Kenya's Andrew Amonde was sin-binned in the first half and Canada took advantage with Douglas crossing for the try. Douglas, in his first tournament back from a broken leg, scored again late in the half for a 10-0 lead.

The speedster from Abbotsford, B.C., slashed through the Kenyan defence in the second half for his third try. Phil Berna added a late insurance try while Nathan Hirayama booted two conversions. 

Canada improved its career record against Kenya to 25-16-1.

Conor Trainor, returning to the sevens program after playing 15s professionally in France, scored the lone try for Canada against South Africa.

Canada scored first but trailed 14-5 at the half.

Muller du Plessis scored two tries and Stedman Gans, Cecil Afrika and Kurt-Lee Arendse added singles for South Africa. Selvyn Davids kicked four conversions. 

The loss dropped the Canadian men's all-time record against South Africa to 5-48-0.

Kennedy scored as the clock wound down to give Ireland the win over Canada in the opening match for both teams. Jordan Conroy and Greg O'Shea also scored tries for Ireland in the early game. Billy Dardis kicked a conversion.

Theo Sauder and David Richard scored tries for Canada, which led 12-7 at the half. Hirayama booted a conversion.

Kennedy beat five Canadians as he accelerated diagonally for the goal-line after a string of Canadian penalties allowed the Irish to lay siege to the Canada end.

The Canadian men are 6-3-0 all-time against Ireland.

The Canadians opened the season with a ninth-place performance in Dubai before finishing 10th in Cape Town, a season-best fifth in Hamilton, New Zealand, and 10th in Sydney, Australia.

Spain, which stands 14th in the overall standings, upset No. 4 England 22-5 earlier Saturday.

The U.S. stop, which has been returned to Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., after a decade in Las Vegas, is the last event before the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 7-8.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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