Canada's rugby sevens beat out by New Zealand

Bob Mackin, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:20 AM ET

DELHI, India - Canada's rugby sevens team was the first to be sacrificed by New Zealand, but it could have beaten Scotland.

The three-time defending champion All-Blacks scored their first try only 24 seconds into the Monday 43-7 win at Delhi University.

Neil Meechan had Canada's only try at 12:14, converted by captain Phil Mack of Victoria. New Zealand was short two men because of yellow cards to Tomasi Cama and Liam Messam.

"(New Zealand) are fully professional players, our players are all amateur domestic players," said coach Geraint John. "There is a gulf."

The 19-17 afternoon loss to Scotland was a tale of missed opportunities.

Early in the first half, Mack's pass to Nathan Hirayama of Richmond, B.C. was dropped at the end line and referee Michael Fraser ruled against a try.

Scotland led 12-0 on a pair of Lee Jones first half tries until Mack's converted try at the siren.

Scotland regained a 12-point lead in the second half. Taylor Paris of Barrie, Ont. and Sean Duke of Vancouver gave Canada a chance when their late tries narrowed the gap to two points. Mack's convert attempt on Duke's try, however, fell short and Canada's medal hopes crashed.

"We set our goal to go through, it's a game we should've won," said coach Geraint John.

"If we play our style error-free, then we can compete with the best," Mack said. "There were just too many errors."

Canada finishes day one against Guyana, the Caribbean champion and could still go home with hardware from the bowl consolation bracket.

The 16-nation tournament features nine of the world's top teams, but not the best players because it falls outside the International Rugby Board's player release window.

Twenty-four matches were scheduled for day one at the 10,132-capacity stadium. It was near capacity briefly during India's 59-0 midday loss to South Africa. A new match kicked-off every 22 minutes. Playoffs are Tuesday, ending with the gold medal match.

The International Olympic Committee voted in October 2009 to admit rugby sevens into the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca


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