It’s difficult to find much fault with a 48-0 win, and one might imagine, Canada was fairly satisfied with how their NACRA 7s Championship campaign began.
Bermuda looked incredibly young and was little match for the veteran Canadian squad. Beginning from the opening kickoff, the ball seemed to roll the hometown side’s way, and even when it didn’t, Canada did well to turn over ball.
But the first game of the day wasn’t without its errors. From a Canadian lineout, the ball worked wide to Sean Duke, but the finishing pass fell short. Duke recovered nicely, chipped over the defense, and lucked out in the grounding. Duke would repeat the feat in the second half.
Kieran Hearn and Phil Mack added five-pointers before the half, the former simply splitting the defense with hard running, and the latter sneaking into the corner.
Bermuda was only down 15-0 at the break, but the team couldn’t take advantage of any offensive opportunity. Bermuda was penalized twice in the scrum, turned over their own ball, and misfired on kickoffs. Canada had size, height and experience advantage over Bermuda, which allowed the hometeam to routinely steal possession on kickoffs.
Bermuda’s shoulders started to sag after Canada’s first try in the second half. Their kickoff didn’t go 10 meters, so Canada regrouped in Bermuda’s end. John Moonlight charged upfield, then hit Chauncey O’Toole for a sideline break to the 10 meter. Just as he was brought down, O’Toole hit Moonlight in support for the five-pointer.
The floodgates opened as Bermuda defense essentially retired, allowing Jeff Hassler (twice), Sean White and Duke to dot down. Connor Braid slotted four conversions for the 48-0 win.
“We’re pretty happy with it, obviously,” Canada’s Phil Mack said. “There are still a few things we can work on, a couple of areas where we let ourselves down, technical things in the scrum and set piece. Nothing big. We’re just trying to get a little better each time.”
Canada and the USA are favorites to advance to the final, and Mack and team are eagerly looking forward to it.
“Every time we go to a competition we’re trying to win, but his one is a bit different since we’re on home soil and in front of our friends and family,” Mack said. “We want to get to the final, and we expect to see the USA there. It’s always a battle when we play each other so looking forward to it.”
The three pool matches that followed were much more entertaining in terms of parity.
The Mexico v Bahamas match was marked by numerous try-saving tackles, defenders streaking across the field for an ankle tap on the two-meter. Mexico’s Nazareno El Hom was the first to break the stalemate, while Juan Pablo Andrade dotted down in the second half. Andrade accounted for one conversion while Rodrigo Ramos slotted the second for the 14-0 win.
The Guyana v Trinidad & Tobago match followed suit and match the intensity of the previous game. With no clear edge on either side of the ball, Guyana muscled through for two unconverted tries from Peabo Hamilton and Claudius Butts for the 10-0.
Rounding out the first round of the men’s matches, Barbados barely held onto a 19-12 win over the Cayman Islands. The teams traded tries and Cayman nearly nearly tied it up with no time left on the clock, but the ballcarrier tripped just before the tryline. Even though penalty opportunities followed, Cayman couldn’t get over the line.
Canada 48-0 Bermuda
Mexico 14-0 Bahamas
Guyana 10-0 Trinidad & Tobago
Barbados 19-12 Cayman Islands