CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Captain John Moonlight scored two tries Saturday to lead Canada to only its second-ever rugby sevens win over New Zealand but the Canadian men still failed to qualify for the Cup competition at the Cape Town Sevens.
Canada’s 24-12 victory over the All Blacks was sandwiched around a 24-10 loss to Samoa and a 26-26 tie with France.
Canada’s only other sevens victory over New Zealand was a 19-15 decision in April in Tokyo.
The Canadian men, who finished a disappointing 13th in Dubai last week in the opening stop of the 10-event HSBC Sevens World Series, will play Russia on Sunday in the consolation Bowl quarter-final.
New Zealand won its other two games to finish atop Pool D. France and Canada both finished at 1-1-1 but the French advance to the Cup quarter-finals via a points scored tiebreaker after they finished with the same points, points differential, tries scored and tries allowed.
Tries by Nathan Hirayama and Phil Mack gave Canada a 14-0 lead against New Zealand. The Kiwis responded with a Dylan Collier unconverted try, but Moonlight scored late for a 19-5 halftime lead.
A D.J. Forbes try narrowed the Canada lead to 19-12 until Moonlight scored his second try.
New Zealand, a perennial powerhouse that is currently battling injury, was beaten twice by the U.S. in Dubai.
Canada trailed 19-0 against Samoa before responding with tries from Mike Fuailefau and Moonlight.
The Canadians found themselves down 19-0 again against France but this time they came back with Admir Cejvanovic’s try in extra time tying the game at 26-26. Canada also got second-half tries from Mack, Justin Douglas and Sean Duke.