12/06/2014 05:06 EST | Updated 02/05/2015 05:59 EST

Canada's men's rugby team settles for 13th-place finish at Dubai Sevens

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Canada had to settle for 13th place at the Dubai Sevens on Saturday, in Liam Middleton's debut as head coach.

The Canadian men lost 42-19 to France, before going on to beat Japan 29-14 and Kenya 19-12, matching their 13th-place finish at the first event of the season in Australia in October.

South Africa won the Dubai Sevens in style by crushing Australia 33-7 in the final.

Canada ended up in consolation play after finishing last in its pool Friday with a 1-2-0 record including a 24-12 loss to the Springboks.

The Canadians, despite tries from Admir Cejvanovic, Lucas Hammond and Conor Trainor, had a rough start Saturday in their Bowl quarter-final loss to France.

They rebounded against Japan in their Shield semifinal, with two tries each from Sean Duke and Justin Douglas, and one from Mike Fuailefau.

They capped the tournament by beating Kenya, with two more tries from Douglas and one from Fuailefau.

Australia's try, meanwhile, right on halftime to tie the score at 7-7, was the only try conceded by the South Africans on finals day, as they blew away Argentina 40-0 in the quarter-finals, and New Zealand by an eye-opening 28-0 in the semifinals.

South Africa goes into the third leg of the sevens rugby world series it hosts next weekend in Port Elizabeth, second in the standings, two points behind Fiji.

Australia, which upset Fiji 29-24 in extra time in the semifinals, was third overall, and New Zealand fourth.

Kwagga Smith, who scored a first-half hat trick against New Zealand, scored the final's opening try for South Africa while Australia's Pama Fou was in the sin-bin for a tip tackle. But Fou, fortunate to be only yellow-carded, made amends when he returned to the field and took an overhead pass with the overlap to tie the score at the break.

Philip Snyman put South Africa back ahead with a try from turnover ruck ball in front of Australia's posts, and Smith prevented Australia from tying again when he held up Sam Myers over the tryline.

Seabelo Senatla put the result beyond doubt with two tries in a blink, and Ruhan Nel finished off their fourth title in Dubai, but first since 2008.

The Australians pulled off the surprise of the tournament in the semis, when they rallied from 19-0 down, then 24-12 behind, to draw with Fiji 24-24 and force extra time. There, they produced the winning try through Greg Jeloudev.

— With files from The Associated Press.