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(PETER POWER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
(PETER POWER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Canada wins two of three on opening day of Gold Coast rugby sevens Add to ...

Canada defeated Portugal 24-17 on Saturday to finish the opening day of the Gold Coast sevens rugby event with two victories in three games.

Earlier, Canada beat Wales 19-14 following an opening 20-10 loss to Fiji. Despite the two wins, the Canadians advanced to the Bowl competition and will next face Spain.

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John Moonlight led the way for Canada with two tries against Portugal.

Two tries from Moonlight and another by Justin Douglas helped secure Canada’s first victory over Wales since March 2011. The team rallied after losing captain Nathan Hirayama, who suffered an ankle injury against Fiji.

Canada capitalized on a Rhys Shellard yellow card as Moonlight broke through the midfield for a score. A convert by Connor Braid put Canada up 7-0 before the big forward struck again. With five minutes remaining, Douglas went around the Welsh defence to make it 19-0.

Wales struck back with a strong run by James Davies and Chris Knight finished off a team breakout to make it 19-14. But Canada held on for the victory.

Fiji, who won the tournament in 2011 and 2012, wasted little time opening the scoring against Canada as Waisea Nacuqu scored two minutes into the match. Ilai Tinai missed the conversion but scored to make it 10-0 midway through the half.

Canada’s Harry Jones cut the lead to five points with two minutes remaining in the half but the Canadian squad got off to a bad start in the second half.

Tinai went in for a brace on the wing following a pass from replacement Benito Masilevu. Tinai then went on a long-range run and scored his third try.

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