Canadian rugby men fall 33-5 to New Zealand, place 10th at Hong Kong Sevens
Australia scores last-minute try to end Fiji's run of 5 consecutive tourney titles
Canada's rugby men finished 10th at the Hong Kong Sevens on Sunday, losing 33-5 to New Zealand in the ninth-place playoff.
After going 1-2-0 in pool play, Canada downed Hong Kong 19-17 and Britain 17-12 before running into the All Blacks who failed to reach the Hong Kong quarter-finals for the first time after finishing third in Pool A with losses to Samoa and Australia.
Matt Oworu scored the lone Canadian try in the loss to New Zealand, which led 21-0 at the half.
The Canadian men, rebuilding after a slew of retirements following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, finished 14th last season.
Elsewhere, Nathan Lawson's last-minute try gave Australia a 20-17 win over Fiji in the final to end the Fijians' run of five straight tournament titles.
With a Fiji player in the sin bin, Australia won the ball back at the breakdown and Lawson raced down the left flank. He managed to get the ball down in the corner with two Fijians draped over him, with the try surviving video review.
"After having done so well last year, to come out here and back it up straightaway and win Hong Kong for the first time since 1988, incredible. I think we're cutting a few years off our coach's life leaving it so late," said Australia captain Nick Malouf.
Said Fiji coach Ben Gollings: "Ultimately 30 seconds of rugby was the difference in the end but credit to the boys, [it] was a tough year and they stuck at it and like I said the consistency and being in another final is fantastic."
France won the bronze, edging Samoa 19-17.
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Golden-point penalty kick
The popular Hong Kong event, which had been on hiatus since 2019 due to the pandemic, was the first of 11 rounds in the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series.
Two quarter-finals and one semifinal required extra time.
Australia reached the final with a 10-7 win over France thanks to a golden-point penalty kick from Maurice Longbottom, whose extra-time try capped a 26-19 comeback win over Ireland in the quarter-final.
Fiji beat Commonwealth Games champion South Africa 12-7 in the quarter-final and Samoa 19-7 in the semifinal.
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The top four men's and women's teams this season will earn Olympic qualification for Paris in 2024.
The men's field will be reduced to 12 from 16 at the end of the season to match the number of women's teams and align with the Olympic competition structure.
The Series' next stop is Dubai where the women's Series will commence, as part of a combined event with the men on Dec. 2-3, before both men and women move on to Cape Town for a Dec. 9-11 event.
The Canada women have been drawn in Pool A in Dubai along with defending Series champions Australia, the U.S. and China.
The Canadian men are in Pool D with Samoa, the U.S. and Japan.