SINGAPORE – Canada led early but was beaten 26-12 by the U.S. in the consolation Challenge Trophy final Sunday to finish 10th at the Singapore Sevens, a World Series rugby sevens tournament it won last year.
Fiji, thanks to a length-of-the-field try by Alasio Sovita Naduva with no time remaining, defeated Australia 28-22 in the championship game to leapfrog South Africa into top spot on the World Series standings with just two rounds remaining.
The Canadian men went 1-2-0 on Saturday — downing Argentina before losing to South Africa and Samoa — to miss out on the Cup quarterfinals. On Sunday, they dispatched France 26-7 and Wales 17-10 before falling to the Americans.
Canada, which won in Singapore last season in its 140th event on the World Series, remained in 11th place overall in the season standings.
Canada was fourth at the Cape Town stop of the World Series, with an impressive victory over Fiji before losing to South Africa in the bronze-medal game. But the Canadians were 11th in Dubai, 13th in Sydney, 11th in Hamilton, 10th in Las Vegas, 14th in Vancouver and 10th in Hong Kong.
Fiji won this season’s tournaments in New Zealand, Vancouver and Hong Kong and, with its fourth victory, climbed four points clear of South Africa atop the standings.
Australia overturned an early 14-point deficit to lead Fiji 22-21 when regular time ended but could not stop the Pacific Islanders from launching one last attack from near their own tryline to steal victory at the death.
The Australians thought they had secured victory when they scored off the final kick-off but the referee ruled they had knocked the ball on, giving the flamboyant Fijians a scrum on their own line and one last chance to snatch victory, which they took full advantage of.
“I’m speechless. Australia are a very good side and took us to the wire. We gave everything for this final,” Fiji captain Jerry Tuwai said. “Winning this tournament will boost our morale going to London and Paris.”
Fiji avenged its Commonwealth Games gold-medal loss to New Zealand by beating the All Blacks 24-19 in the quarterfinals then overturned a 10-0 deficit to defeat South Africa 12-10 in the semifinals.
England, bronze medallists at the Gold Coast Games, defeated the Blitzboks 26-24 in the third-place game after Tom Mitchell converted Mike Ellery’s last-minute try.
Canada started well against the fifth-ranked U.S. and led 5-0 and then 12-7 thanks to tries from Mike Fuailefau and captain Nate Hirayama. But the Americans scored on the stroke of halftime to lead 14-12 and then pulled further ahead with a pair of tries.
The 12th-ranked French led 7-0 early but Justin Douglas, Harry Jones, Fuailefau and Tevaughn Campbell all scored as Canada avenged a 33-7 loss to the French in the Challenge Trophy final in Hong Kong.
Douglas, Fuailefau and Matt Mullins scored tries in the win over No. 14 Wales.
Douglas scored five tries in Singapore to up his season total to 27 and career tally to 111.
The World Series continues in London on June 2. Canada will play in a pool with No. 2 South Africa, No. 9 Samoa and No. 15 Russia.
With files from The Associated Press