DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—Canada finished 13th at the Dubai stop on the HSBC Sevens World Series on Saturday, hanging on to edge Japan 19-17 and win the consolation Shield portion of the men’s rugby sevens competition.
Defending Series champion Fiji downed England 28-17 in the final of the elite Cup competition to win the first stop of the 10-event tour.
The Americans finished third in a tournament to remember, beating powerful New Zealand twice including a 31-12 decision in the third-place match. The U.S. had never beaten the All Blacks on the circuit before.
South Africa finished fifth in the 16-team event, defeating Australia 19-14 to win the Plate.
After losing to Fiji, Argentina and Japan on Day 1, the Canadian men were beaten 24-14 by Wales to open play Saturday. That dropped them into Shield play, where they downed Portugal 31-14 before avenging the early defeat to Japan.
Canada led 19-7 in the Shield final but had to survive a late rally as the Japanese scored two tries.
Canadian captain John Moonlight scored a pair of tries against Wales while Sean Duke had three against Argentina. Admir Cejvanovic had three tries on the day and Harry Jones two.
“I was pleased that we won the final two games today and to finish off on a positive note,” said Canada coach Liam Middleton. “Our poor performance in this tournament is a multi-faceted issue and focusing on any one issue would be misleading.”
“This is an incredibly competitive arena and winning and losing is part and parcel of it, but our performances this weekend were not good enough. The week of preparation was top-class, we met a Fijian side in sublime form and did not bounce back from that defeat.”
The World-Series includes a stop in Canada for the first time. Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium will host an event in March.
Canada is hoping to build momentum during the Series with an aim to Olympic qualification at a 2016 world repechage tournament. There is no date or venue yet for the all-important repechage other than it will follow the World Series, which wraps up in London in late May.
The Canadian men placed ninth overall last season.