It was a best-ever finish for the host country at the HSBC Canada Sevens Rugby tournament and Nathan Hirayama had a leading role.
The Richmond native and national team co-captain was named to the HSBC Dream Team as one of the top players in the tournament after leading Canada to a bronze medal at BC Place Stadium on the weekend. It was Canada’s best showing in the World Rugby Seven Series since winning gold in Singapore back in 2017.
Hirayama had a try and three converts as Canada defeated South Africa for the first time in seven years 26-19 in the third place game.
The Canadians started off day two on Sunday with a 21-0 quarter-final win over Spain to earn their first-ever final four berth on home soil. A potential championship match appearance ended with a 19-14 loss to eventual runner-up Australia.
Canada also had a terrific opening day with wins over France (31-21), Fiji (26-21) and Wales (29-7) to finish on top of its pool group. Hirayama had a try and two converts against Wales and a try and three converts in the opening victory against France.
The two days of action attracted a record 74,560 fans.
Hirayama, who turns 32 later this month, is poised to play in his first Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo. Canada has already qualified after missing out four years ago in Rio when Rugby Sevens made its debut.