Canada’s men fell victim to a furious Argentina comeback on Friday, conceding three late tries to lose 24-19 at the HSBC Sydney Sevens.
The game was the first for the South Americans since winning last weekend’s tournament in Hamilton, New Zealand, where they edged the host All Blacks 14-12 in the final after beating Canada 29-14 in pool play.
The Canadian women lost twice Friday, beaten 14-12 by the U.S. and 19-5 to Britain in Pool B play.
The Argentina men came to Sydney ranked third in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings after four events. Canada stands 14th, down in the relegation zone.
Trailing Canada 19-5 with under three minutes to play, Argentina appeared to have scored when speedster Marcos Moneta crashed over in the corner. But Josiah Morra caught the 2021 World Rugby’s Sevens Mens Player of the Year as he crossed the try-line and, with help from captain Phil Berna, prevented him from grounding the ball.
Rodrigo Isgro scored from the ensuing scrum to cut the margin to 19-12 with less than 90 seconds remaining. Isgro rose high to beat a Canadian and gather the restart, racing in for a converted try and a 19-19 tie.
Argentina won the restart again and laid siege on the Canadian try-line after a slashing run by Luciano Gonzalez. The ball went wide to Moneta for the converted try that completed the comeback with time expired.
Berna, Anton Ngongo and Brock Webster scored tries for Canada, which led 12-5 at the half. Webster added two conversions.
Agustin Fraga also scored for Argentina
The Canadian men face No. 7 Australia and No. 10 Britain next in Pool A play at the three-day tournament. Australia beat Britain 12-7 Friday.
Canada started the Argentina game with good field position thanks to a contentious call that the Argentina kickoff didn’t go the required 10 metres. Argentina was penalized after the ensuing scrum and Berna capped the Canadian attack by touching down under the posts.
Argentina responded with a Fraga try after a storming run by Gonzalez down the wing. But the South Americans found themselves trailing by seven points in the dying seconds of the half after Ngongo bulled over for a try following a string of Argentina penalties.
Another Argentina penalty early in the second half led to a try by Webster and a 19-5 Canada lead.
In other men’s play, Payton Spencer, the 18-year-old son of former All Black star fly-half Carlos Spencer, scored two tries in New Zealand’s 45-7 win over Uruguay
On the women’s side, Pam Buisa and Alysha Corrigan scored tries in the 14-12 loss to the U.S. on Thursday night. Canada trailed 14-5 at the half, narrowing the gap on Corrigan’s 13th-minute converted try.
The Americans, runner-up to New Zealand last weekend in Hamilton, are third in the overall women’s standings after three events while Canada is 10th.
Olivia Apps scored Canada’s lone try in the 19-5 loss to No. 6 Britain, which led 14-0 at the half.
The Canadian women wrap up pool play against No. 7 Fiji.