Road To The Olympic Games


Canada still alive at Olympic rugby qualifier

Canada remains in the hunt for the final place in the Olympic men's rugby sevens field but will have to take a more difficult route to get there Sunday after losing 21-19 to Germany in Monaco.

Team will play Russia Sunday in quarter-finals

The Canadian rugby sevens teams, seen here in a May 2016 file photo, lost to Russia on Sunday to end their last-ditch attempt at Olympic qualification. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Canada remains in the hunt for the final place in the Olympic men's rugby sevens field but will have to take a more difficult route to get there Sunday after losing 21-19 to Germany in Monaco.

The Canadians cruised through the first two games Saturday at the last-ditch Olympic qualifying tournament, crushing Uruguay 33-0 and Sri Lanka 57-0 at Stade Louis II. The Germans proved a more difficult task.

The loss means the Canadians finished runner-up in Group B to unbeaten Germany and will play Group C winner Russia in Sunday's quarter-finals rather than runner-up Chile.

Canada, Russia and Samoa are the only three teams in the 16th-country qualifying field that competed on the HSBC Series this season. Samoa, which won the Paris Sevens, finished ninth overall while Canada was 13th and Russia 14th.

Canada and Russia split their six meetings on the World Series this season with the Russians winning the last two.

Russia, facing a fairly benign draw, beat Morocco 26-19, Tunisia 24-12 and Chile 26-0 on Saturday.

Tim Biniak opened the scoring for Germany, which came at the Canadians in waves early. Ciaran Hearn replied after Harry Jones cut through the German defence to tie the game at 7-7. Captain John Moonlight then beat Clemens Von Grumbkow down the sideline to increase the Canadian lead to 12-7. But Biniak took advantage from a late penalty to give Germany a 14-12 lead at the half.

The Germans, applying great pressure at the breakdown, attacked the Canadian zone in the second half but a handling error led to a Conor Trainor try under the posts at the other end. A Nathan Hirayama conversion moved Canada ahead 19-14.

The Russians refused to fold, however, and Sebastian Fromm broke through Jones's attempted tackle to crash over the line late in the game. A Fabian Hempel conversion gave Germany a 21-19 lead.

Left with 30 seconds to rescue the game, Canada attacked but the threat ended with a Hirayama knock-on.

Ireland upsets Samoa

In one of the day's major upsets, Ireland defeated Samoa 27-21. Samoa scored a late try and seemed destined to complete the comeback with Alex Samoa sprinting towards the try-line as the clock wound down but Steve Toal-Lennon stripped the ball from behind to end the late threat.

Wins over Tonga (26-0) and Zimbabwe (21-7) were enough to move Samoa into the quarter-finals, however.

The qualifying tournament winner will join host Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Britain, Fiji, France, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.S. at Rio 2016.

The Canadian women have already qualified for the Olympics.

Against Uruguay, Moonlight scored a try three minutes in before Jones reeled off four more tries. Hirayama added four conversions.

There was more one-way traffic against Sri Lanka. Mike Fuailefau and Phil Berna had two tries apiece with singles from Hirayama, Trainor, Justin Douglas, Admir Cejvanovic and Justin Douglas. Hirayama added six conversions.

The Canadians led 26-0 at the half, denying the Sir Lankan lone threat when Fuailefau prevented a Sri Lankan player from touching the ball down.

"Stick to process but don't ease up," coach Liam Middleton said at the half. "Be very ruthless."

The Canadians obliged, scoring five more tries.

Germany beat Sri Lanka 42-5 and Uruguay 22-14 prior to facing Canada.


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