Canada opens World Rugby Sevens event in Vancouver with 38-7 loss to Samoa - InfoNews

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Canada opens World Rugby Sevens event in Vancouver with 38-7 loss to Samoa

Canada's Connor Braid (6) jumps for the ball against Samoa's Elisapeta Alofipo (10) during World Rugby Sevens Series action in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday March 9, 2019.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ben Nelms
March 10, 2019 - 6:00 AM

VANCOUVER - Canada started the HSBC World Rugby Sevens tournament in Vancouver on the wrong foot, losing 38-7 to Samoa on Saturday afternoon.

Samoa led 14-7 at halftime but things quickly fell apart in the second half as Canada had trouble receiving kickoffs and the Samoans scored 24 unanswered points.

A frustrated coach Damian McGrath was blunt in his assessment.

"I'm at a loss for words because I didn't see this coming," said McGrath. "Losing is part of the game, it happens to all the teams, but it was the manner in which we lost that really disappointed me.

"I don't think I've ever been this disappointed."

Mike Fuailefau of Victoria scored Canada's only try.

It was the 45th time in 56 meetings that Samoa has beat Canada.

Canada has been slotted into a tough Pool B in the 16-team tournament. They also face defending tournament champion Fiji, ranked third in the world, and No. 13 Kenya.

The Canadians will need to win both their remaining matches Saturday if they hope to finish in the top two teams and advance to Sunday's elite Cup quarterfinals.

In earlier Pool B action, Fiji pounded Kenya 36-12.

Captain Nathan Hirayama said Samoa denied Canada its ball-possession style of play.

"Full credit to them," he said. "They just starved us of possession the entire game."

Samoan coach Gordon Tietjens said it was important to take the loud, pro-Canada crowd out of the game.

"We had to silence the crowd," he said. "We scored first and then put a few more on them. It was great for our guys."

The crowd at BC Place Stadium was a rainbow of costumes and colours. One section was decked out as green leprechauns, another wore white doctor's jackets with green fuzzy wigs. Dotted among the crowd were people dressed as 60's hippies, a trio of shepherds complete with hooked staffs, several Waldos, a fairy with wings, a couple Energizer Bunnies, Cookie Monster, a tiger and a horse. A few outfits defied description.

Canada stands 11th in the overall standings midway through the 10-event series. In the first five tournaments Canada has advanced to the quarter-finals once. They have been close, missing out three times by losing a game by a single score.

Olympic champion Fiji won tournaments in Cape Town and Hamilton, New Zealand earlier this season. Samoa lost in the final to the U.S. in last week's tournament in Las Vegas.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2019
The Canadian Press

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