DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Canada endured a painful start to the HSBC Sevens World Series on Friday, losing all three outings.
The Canadian men were thumped 63-14 by defending Series champion Fiji to open the rugby sevens tournament, before falling 19-14 to Argentina and 21-7 to Japan.
Canada finished last in Pool A and will play in the consolation Bowl quarter-final Saturday.
Dubai is the first stop of the 10-event World-Series, which includes a stop in Canada for the first time. Vancouver's B.C. Place Stadium will host an event in March.
Canada is hoping to build momentum during the Series with an aim to Olympic qualification.
After losing 21-5 to the U.S. in June at the NACRA Sevens Cup, Canada has just one more shot at a 2016 Olympic rugby berth, via a world repechage tournament. There is no date or venue yet for the all-important repechage other than it will follow the World Series, which wraps up in London in late May.
Fiji scored five tries in the first half and four in the second in its romp over Canada, which got tries from Pat Kay and Conor Trainor.
The Canadians trailed Argentina by 12 points at the half. Trainor's try cut the lead but Gaston Revol scored with three minutes remaining to up the lead to 19-7. Justin Douglas scored a late consolation try for Canada.
Canada found itself behind Japan 7-0 after four minutes. A converted Mike Fuailefau try early in the second half tied it at 7-7 but Japan scored twice to put the game away.
The Canadian men placed ninth overall last season with new coach Liam Middleton — a Zimbabwe native — watching from the sidelines at the start due to immigration red tape. Canada was sixth the previous season under Geraint John.
The Canadian Press