The buzz at BC Place was deafening. The record-breaking home crowd at the HSBC Canada Sevens was raising the roof. Why? Their team was in sensational form, scoring 14 tries on their way to three spectacular wins over France (31-21), Fiji (26-21) and Wales (29-7) to top Pool B. That set up a quarter-final match with Spain on Sunday – their first since London 2019.
The hosts came literally within inches of the final and their first chance at gold since 2017 in Singapore. In the final seconds of the semi-final against Australia, the Canadians thought they had scored a match winning try only for the Television Match Official to rule that the ball had been grounded centimeters short of the try line.
The moment was agonizing for the Canadian crowd, but it didn’t get their team down, who went on to a fantastic finish against 2019 HSBC Canada Sevens champions South Africa in the bronze medal match. It was a well-deserved podium and the team’s best performance ever on home soil.
Impact play by Isaac Kaay
We all know that rugby is a team sport, but Canada’s Isaac Kaay certainly played a major part in his team’s success over the weekend. The 26-year-old forward was all over the pitch, putting on a fine performance for the raucous, record-breaking home crowd.
With six tackles, one break, 12 offloads and 24 carries, Kaay topped the DHL Impact Player Table for the tournament with 57 points, three ahead of Australia’s Lachlan Anderson. England’s Charlton Kerr and Australia’s Lachie Miller shared third place with 50 points.
At two points apiece, Kaay’s offload count made the difference. In fact, he leads the Series with 35 offloads overall. Keenly aware of when to give up the ball at just the right moment, Kaay set up some key plays over the weekend.
But that doesn’t mean he didn’t take matters into his own hands as well. Kaay carried 24 times and crossed the try line once himself against Wales. The performance put him in 8th place on the overall DHL Impact Player Table.
Although he didn’t make the top ten in Vancouver, France’s Tavite Veredamu overtook Ireland’s Terry Kennedy for the overall IPA honors after six rounds in the series. Kennedy also had to make way for teammate Jordan Conroy, who placed 5th on the DHL Impact Player Table in Vancouver with 48 points. Conroy now trails Veredamu by five with 224 points, with Kennedy 10 back. Fiji’s Napolioni Bolaca, who was named the DHL Impact Player last week in Los Angeles, is chasing at another nine points back.
All Black Sevens extend series lead
New Zealand hung on to win an edge-of-your-seat final over rivals Australia. The 17-14 victory – their third this series – extends their lead to 11 points after six rounds. The All Black Sevens really showed their strength in front of the nearly 75,000 fans who packed the stands of BC Place over the weekend, beating powerhouses South Africa and Fiji on their way to the final.
Australia enjoyed their best finish of the season, securing the silver medal and moving into 4th place overall.
But the real stars of the weekend were definitely the home side, who produced a level of rugby we haven’t seen from them in some time. They thrilled the home crowd with skill and spirit, making it a magical moment for Canadian rugby and giving the team momentum for the final four rounds and ultimately the Olympics in Tokyo. Their first silverware of the series moved the team into 8th place overall.
The DHL Impact Player Award
The DHL Impact Player Award recognizes the individual efforts players make to support their team with carries, tackles, line breaks and offloads. As a company that understands the importance of teamwork only too well, we don’t just celebrate the try scorers, we appreciate the try makers. They produce moments of skill and flair that can make a critical impact and change the course of the game.
Players are awarded 2 points for offloads, 1 for tackles, 3 for line breaks and 1 for carries.
Using a statistical analysis of individual players’ performances measured against four key criteria – offloads, carries line breaks and tackles – we’re shining a spotlight on these impact moments again this year. Players who execute these skills during a match are awarded points – 2 for offloads, 1 for tackles, 3 for line breaks and 1 for carries – to create a total score that is tracked on the DHL Impact Player Table.
Winners will be announced at the end of each tournament and the overall series winner will be judged across all 10 legs for the Men’s series and all 8 for the Women’s series.
The HSBC London Sevens
The Men’s Series now takes a two-month break before moving on to England for the HSBC London Sevens May 23-24. With an 11-point lead, it’s now New Zealand’s series to win or lose. Chasers South Africa, Fiji and Australia definitely have their work cut out for them.
But before we cross the big pond to London, we’ll be back in Canada in early May to watch the women’s teams battled it out at the HSBC Langford Sevens. Don’t miss the action as the New Zealand tries to hold off neighbor Australia and host Canada while Stacey Fluhler fights to remain atop the DHL Impact Player Table.
And catch each and every #ImpactMoment throughout the series.