“The charged man has worked for the All Blacks and many other organizations for a long time and is someone who is trusted and well-respected by us.”The Australian Rugby Union was quick to use the announcement of the charge against Gard to claim it had been cleared of any involvement in the placement of the listening device.ARU chief executive Bill Pulver commended the New South Wales police for “providing closure with a charge being laid against an individual today.”“The aspect that still leaves a bitter taste out of this whole affair is that the discovery of the device was reported publicly on game day when it is understood that the alleged discovery of the device occurred much earlier in the week leading up to the test match,” Pulver said. The charge does not imply Gard placed the listening device but he is alleged to have misled police during their investigation. President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and golfer Tiger Woods. The Australian security consultant charged by police after the discovery of a listening device at the All Blacks’ hotel in Sydney has angrily denied any involvement in its placement.Adrian Gard, a 51-year-old director of the security company Bodyguards International, is due to appear in Sydney’s Waverly District Court on March 21 to answer a charge of public mischief. I’m just going to ride the next few months out, the truth will come out in the end.”In the only statement on the case to date from the All Blacks, coach Steve Hansen described the charge against Gard as “bizarre and unbelievable.”“It’s very hard to understand,” Hansen said. “Clearly the media attention which resulted from it was a distraction that neither team needed on the morning of a very important test match.”New Zealand won the match 42-8.“The ARU and the Wallabies were never accused of any wrongdoing,” Pulver said. “However, it was still important that this matter reached a conclusion to provide complete reassurance to all fans that the organization and the team had no part in any of this.“There may be some questions that remain but certainly today’s news is welcome news that an individual has been called to account over this incident.” “The bug was news to me. He has been involved with the All Blacks’ security for 10 years.Gard told the Daily Telegraph “people who work with me can vouch for my reputation.”“I don’t know anything about this stupid bloody bug,” he said. I literally had no idea about it until I was told about it.“I’m really annoyed about the whole thing to tell you the truth. The device was discovered in a chair in the team room of the All Blacks’ hotel prior to their Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Sydney last August.In his first public statement since the charge was announced, Gard told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph he would defend his reputation and “the truth will come out in the end.”Gard is a respected security consultant with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, and has worked for leading public figures including former U.S.
When long-time Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf first joined the Ottawa Senators, his new teammates didn’t really know what to think.Someone they grew to hate was now suddenly clad in their black and red colours, an unlikely teammate following a blockbuster trade from Toronto.“You didn’t even know if it was real or not,” Senators winger Mike Hoffman recalled. Phaneuf averages almost 23 minutes in all situations for head coach Guy Boucher, his most frequent five-on-five opponents up front this year including Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Ryan O’Reilly and Auston Matthews.“When you play a hard 20-25 minutes, finding those defencemen (who can do that), they don’t grow on trees,” Dorion said. They rave about a “tremendous” leadership effect which also won fans over time with the Leafs.Not only that, Dorion says, but Phaneuf keeps the club from having to expose younger, less experienced defencemen to heavier minutes and responsibility. “I think when you hate someone on the other side sometimes it can be a level of respect too at the same time for their approach and how hard they play. “Dion obviously has brought great leadership to our team, his influence on our younger players – how to be pros, how to approach games – has been a big factor, I think, in what we’ve done this year and what we’re trying to accomplish moving forward.”Ottawa, currently hanging onto the second playoff spot in the Atlantic Division, likes the bite Phaneuf has given them and believe he’s capably filled a veteran void near the top of their defence. (Penalty kill), he’s been tremendous,” Dorion said, citing the club’s rise from the second-worst unit last year to 10th-best this season.Underlying penalty-killing numbers, though, suggest otherwise.The club has allowed 110 shot attempts per 60 minutes when he’s on the ice, worse than teammates Erik Karlsson (90), Marc Methot (99) and Cody Ceci (108) and among the highest marks league-wide.Phaneuf has become an effective net-front presence on the Ottawa power play (11 points), on pace to match the 32 total points he recorded last year between Toronto and Ottawa. I think at the same time if you hate someone that means they do something that bothers you.“So when you have that element on your side it can help you in the long run also.” 5-calibre defenceman, according to the hockey analytics website Own The Puck.Among the weaker puck possession teams in the league, the Senators are outshot even a little more with Phaneuf on the ice. The veteran defender has also taken 29 minor penalties, most at his position league-wide and nearly as many already as the 35 he took all of last season.Dorion contends that the underlying numbers don’t fully capture the difficulty of Phaneuf’s minutes.“At the end of the day I look at his contribution and what he’s able to do five-on-five. “For us, for Dion to come in and do what he’s done it’s been very valuable.”Phaneuf’s effectiveness, however, does not quite align with a contract that has four more years remaining with an annual cap hit of $7-million (U.S.) – tied with reigning Norris trophy winner Drew Doughty for sixth-highest among NHL defencemen this season.Overall production for the Edmonton native, who turns 32 in April, is more in line statistically with a No. But he has only nine even-strength points (tied for 104th among the 175 defenders who’ve played at least 30 games) and only one primary assist in five-on-five situations.Ottawa saved money in the short-term in dealing for Phaneuf – parting with contracts for Milan Michalek, Jared Cowen, and Colin Greening – and while his contract is indeed large, it’s not quite as prohibitive for a team like the Senators, which never spends to the cap.Phaneuf’s impact, in the team’s view, also goes well beyond the ice with players and their GM lauding his leadership ability – a benefit certainly for 26-year-old Karlsson, the team’s captain.Hoffman was among the many Senators who despised Phaneuf from all those Battle of Ontario clashes, but the outgoing, likeable person he’s come to know since is “completely different.”“Probably the most different that I’ve ever met in that instance where you play against someone and you maybe think of them as a certain way and then you meet them in person and they’re completely 180-degrees (the opposite),” Hoffman said, citing Phaneuf’s character and leadership.“I’ve become good friends with him.”Dorion was still second-in-command to then-general manager Bryan Murray when the trade was made last February and like his players, found Phaneuf to be an annoying oppositional presence, someone who dished out big hits and was always at the centre of post-whistle scrums.“But when he’s on your side you seem to like him even more,” Dorion said. “But once it set in that yeah, okay, it’s not a dream, he’s actually on our team now, it didn’t take long at all (for him to fit in).”
Ottawa has seemingly got what it was after in the trade for Phaneuf, which was made a year ago Thursday.“This trade for us was a bit more than hockey-related,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion said in a recent interview.
AMR will also provide a small group that will travel to each race, and a physician who will serve as NASCAR’s primary doctor.NASCAR had long relied on local emergency crews to treat drivers while rival series have dedicated teams. Under the new process:Body repairs are limited to the removal or reattachment of original parts with fasteners and tape.Rods and supports may be used to reinforce original panels.New or previously unused body panels are prohibited.NASCAR said the new rule prevents severely damaged race cars from returning to the track and creating a safety hazard for other teams. That accident raised another round of calls from NASCAR drivers for a consistent and regular crew.“This partnership further strengthens NASCAR’s medical response capability, making our well-established, medical response system even better,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice-president and chief racing development officer. Damaged vehicles can be repaired on pit road during a five-minute cumulative time limit. That effort by the Hendrick Motorsports crew is widely considered to have saved his title chances.NASCAR also announced that it will have a travelling safety crew starting this season, creating a consistent medical staff that drivers have been pushing for the last several years.The safety crew will come from American Medical Response and ensure that a physician and paramedics are in the safety vehicle at all Monster Energy Cup events. He was involved in an early accident at Texas Motor Speedway, and his crew worked feverishly in the garage to make enough repairs to get Johnson back on the track. “AMR is a leader in the emergency services sector, and its doctors and paramedics add another layer of expertise to the immediate response team.”AMR will position doctors and paramedics in a chase vehicle along with two NASCAR Track Services team members for on-track incidents. NASCAR will not permit damaged race cars to return to the track this season unless the repairs can be made on pit road within a tight window.The ban on wrecked race cars continuing to compete was announced Wednesday in a series of a rule updates for the 2017 season.Beginning later this month at Daytona, if a car receives enough damage during an on-track incident that it must go to the garage for repairs, the team will not be allowed to repair it in an effort to get back on track. Under NASCAR’s new format of running races in stages, it also means a car that wrecks in an early stage won’t be eligible to return for the final race-winning stage.Not allowing teams to repair cars in the garage should be a significant saving on costs for teams.It also could have cost Jimmie Johnson the 2009 title. IndyCar’s team is lauded as the best in the business, and is credited with saving James Hinchcliffe’s life when he crashed during a 2015 practice for the Indianapolis 500.
Sluggers Freddie Freeman and Justin Morneau headline the Canadian roster for the 2017 edition of the World Baseball Classic.Freeman hit 34 homers and drove in 91 runs for the Atlanta Braves last season. “International baseball presents a different set of circumstances compared to the regular season so it’s a positive that we have some veteran players who’ve been through it before.”Notable roster omissions include Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Michael Saunders.Canada will compete in Pool C in the first round with Colombia, the U.S., and the defending champion Dominican Republic.Canada opens against the Dominican Republic on March 9 at Marlins Park in Miami. Morneau, who has played in all three previous WBC tournaments, won the American League most valuable player award in 2006. They include Andrew Albers (Twins), John Axford (Athletics), Kevin Chapman (Astros), Jim Henderson (Mets), Adam Loewen (Diamondbacks), Dustin Molleken (Tigers), and Dalton Pompey (Blue Jays).Also named to the roster were former big leaguers Ryan Dempster, Eric Gagne, George Kottaras, Chris Leroux, Scott Mathieson, Pete Orr, Scott Richmond and Rene Tosoni.“We’re fortunate to have so many players on our roster with World Baseball Classic experience and international experience on their resumes,” Canadian manager Ernie Whitt said in a release. Canada’s 28-player roster includes seven other players who played in the major leagues last season. The free agent has 247 homers over his big-league career.
“We made history today,” Alaves captain Manu Garcia said. This loss hurts, but we have to move on.”Mendez netted the winner only three minutes after coming off the bench. “We know that these games are decided by details and you pay when you make a mistake. He picked up the ball outside the area and cleared three Celta defenders before hitting a shot over goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez as he charged from his line at Mendizorroza Stadium in northern Spain.Alaves dominated possession throughout the game and had most of the scoring opportunities, while Celta threatened only a few times on counterattacks.The venue of the final still hasn’t been set, but it’s likely to be held in Madrid.Alaves had tried to postpone Wednesday’s match because Celta got to rest last weekend as its league game against Madrid had to be called off due to bad weather. Alaves matched the greatest feat in the Spanish club’s history by reaching the final of a major competition after defeating Celta Vigo 1-0 in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.Following a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Vigo, midfielder Edgar Mendez scored an 82nd-minute winner to give the Basque Country club a surprise spot in the May 27 final against two-time defending champion Barcelona, which edged Atletico Madrid 3-2 on aggregate on Tuesday. “But we deserved it after all that we have done until now.”A four-time runner-up in the Copa, Celta was trying to return to the final for the first time since 2001. “And in the final in May we will seek glory.”Alaves stunned Barcelona with a 2-1 win at Camp Nou in the third round of Spanish league matches earlier this season, and the teams will meet again in the league on Saturday.Alaves’ only previous final was a 5-4 loss after extra time in a thriller against Liverpool in the 2001 UEFA Cup, the competition now known as the Europa League.Founded in 1921, Alaves was promoted to the top flight of the Spanish league this season after 10 years in the lower divisions, including four in the third tier.“Not even in our greatest dreams did we imagine something like this,” Alaves midfielder Kiko Femenia said. It entered the semi-final boosted by a victory over Real Madrid in the quarter-final.“We had our chances but we couldn’t capitalize on them,” Celta coach Eduardo Berizzo said. We are disappointed.
By May, 2016, Blundell was up to a 6.8 share but never really went much further.This was disappointing because that period saw the rise of the Toronto Blue Jays, whose games on The Fan in the evenings drew audiences of at least 9 per cent. The Dean Blundell experiment ended just short of two years on Wednesday.Blundell, who attempted to morph from shock jock to morning sports-radio host on Toronto station Sportsnet 590 The Fan, never delivered the ratings bump in the target audience of men aged 25 to 54 or with younger listeners. Blundell was the last of those hired by Kollins, who left for a San Francisco sports-radio station in May, 2015.Like Landry and Stellick, Brady and his first co-host, Jim Lang, easily beat TSN 1050, regularly drawing between 6 and 8 per cent of male listeners 25-54. Brady will co-host the show with Montreal broadcaster Elliott Price and Hugh Burrill, another former Sportsnet broadcaster.“I’m beyond thrilled,” said Brady, 45, whose severance pay from his previous run at The Fan, which ended a year ago, was about to run out. Replacing him on Feb. But Brady and his second co-host, Andrew Walker, who is now the afternoon host at The Fan, were moved out in the hope Blundell’s mix of vulgar humour and less sports would boost those numbers.However, listeners often complained on social media that Blundell was weak on sports. TSN 1050 has never seriously threatened The Fan in the morning ratings, but Rogers is always searching for a way to increase its dominance with the only demographic sports-radio advertisers care about: men 25-54.Former Fan program director Don Kollins made most of the moves, beginning with the firing of the popular morning team of Don Landry and Gord Stellick in June, 2010. 27 will be a trio of broadcasters, including veteran Greg Brady, the man who was pushed out of The Fan’s morning show in March, 2015, to make way for Blundell. Sidekick George Rusic will be reassigned at The Fan. While he still beat the competition in the ratings, he never delivered the bump that station management expected; for example, when Landry and Stellick were fired, Kollins told The Globe and Mail that he was looking for a 10 share from the morning show.But Blundell never came close to that. His show was cancelled “effective immediately,” according to a news release from Sportsnet, which is owned by Rogers Media. And staying with the show is popular traffic reporter Halina Balka.This is the fifth major change to the station’s morning show in less than seven years, despite the fact The Fan has always ruled the sports-radio ratings – even though Bell Media launched rival station TSN 1050 Toronto in April, 2011. “This was about changing the tone of the show.”Blundell tweeted that the move was “mutual and in both our best interest to not renew.”Cadeau said Blundell is the only person from the morning show who is leaving the station. In his first month, March of 2015, his ratings were 5.4 per cent of males 25-54, the same as Brady and Walker in the previous month. His lower numbers in the mornings indicated listeners were making a point of changing the station. Cadeau said the station simply wanted to return the show to an all-sports format.“I’d say Dean’s show was successful from a ratings standpoint,” Cadeau said. But Blundell was never able to take advantage of the Jays’ bump. Dave Cadeau, The Fan’s program director, said the decision was not made because of unhappiness with Blundell, whose sophomoric brand of humour made him a controversial figure for years. Ryan Fabro will continue as the producer of the new show but will have a lesser on-air role. “I live and breathe [sports], so it’s been hard to be away from it.”Price has an extensive résumé, serving as the play-by-play voice of the Montreal Expos from 1991 to 2004 and as co-host of TSN’s morning radio show in Montreal for 10 years – until he was fired in 2015 as part of Bell Media’s job cuts.Burrill’s most recent post was as a television reporter for Sportsnet, until he, too, was caught in layoffs in March, 2016.Officially, Blundell’s contract, which expires soon, was not renewed by mutual agreement.
Under the pitcher-pool guidelines, Estrada will be ineligible to participate in the opening round and may only be called upon if Mexico manages to advance.Two more pitchers for the Blue Jays made the grade, with Marcus Stroman and 20-game winner J.A. Japan won the title in 2006 and again in 2009, and the Dominican Republic took top honours in 2013. Canada will play in Pool C at Marlins Park in Florida and will contest teams from the U.S., the Dominican Republic and Colombia. The rule was designed to allow pitchers to play in the WBC without having to miss weeks of spring training with their MLB clubs. Canada’s first game will be on March 9 against the Dominican Republic.The top two teams from each site will advance after pool play to an eight-team second round, slated for March 12-19 in Tokyo and San Diego. The 24-year-old Mississauga native is hoping to lock down a spot on the Blue Jays roster ahead of spring training.One surprise with the Canadian entry is that Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin, who was hoping to play shortstop in the tournament, was not listed to play. Happ has been added to the team’s designated pitcher pool.Jose Bautista, Toronto’s slugging outfielder, rounds out the list of Blue Jays participants, being named to the team from the Dominican Republic.The first round of the tournament will be held March 6-12, intruding on MLB’s spring-training schedule in Florida and Arizona.First-round games will be held at venues in Seoul, Tokyo, Miami and the Mexican state of Jalisco. Happ being selected for the U.S. The final is scheduled for March 20-22.This is the fourth iteration of the tournament. Reports were circulating Wednesday night that his omission was over an insurance issue.“It’s unfortunate,” Jays General Manager Ross Atkins said. “We know how much Russ was looking forward to playing in the WBC and representing his country as a Canadian.”Osuna will be joined on the Mexican squad by fellow Blue Jay Marco Estrada, another stalwart of the Toronto pitching staff who was an MLB all-star in 2016.However, Estrada has been selected as a member of the Mexican designated pitcher pool, a new wrinkle in this year’s WBC that will see national teams add as many as two pitchers after the first round of the tournament. Osuna was selected to play for Mexico, which will compete in Pool D of the event along with Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Italy.The rosters for all 16 teams were rolled out during a live broadcast Wednesday night on MLB Network.Canada, to be coached by former Blue Jay Ernie Whitt, will have outfielder Dalton Pompey on its roster. From that, four teams will emerge and meet for the championship round, to be played at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Toronto Blue Jays are breathing a sigh of relief after the unveiling of the rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic.As many as 11 Blue Jays were being courted by WBC teams to participate in the 16-country tournament, which is a sizable commitment for any Major League Baseball team. Leading the list is Roberto Osuna, the 22-year-old Toronto closer who has recorded 56 saves in the past two years and was a key ingredient in the American League team making back-to-back appearances in the postseason. team, which will be coached by Jim Leyland. But when the final rosters were announced, just six Toronto players made the list – much easier to stomach for an organization where injuries, especially to pitchers, is a legitimate concern.
every time I’ve gone back and challenged myself again. Time to put the brakes on.”She became a quadriplegic at 17 when she fell during a piggyback accident. That’s what I’m proud of. It was the first getaway in years with her husband and son that didn’t involve sports.“I won’t say it was an epiphany, but it certainly was like, ‘I enjoy this,’ ” said Stilwell.Her medal haul started in 1998 when Stilwell was a member of the world champion Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team, which won gold at the 2000 Sydney Games. I never gave up.” It’s a good time to look ahead and prepare for what the future holds.”On her Twitter account on Thursday night, Stilwell said: “Thank you for almost 20 years of incredible memories, triumphs, friendships & gratitude. The 42-year-old won two gold medals for Canada at last summer’s Rio de Janeiro Paralympics.She raced to victory in both the 100 metres and 400 metres.Stilwell is a cabinet minister in British Columbia’s Liberal government and is seeking re-election in her Vancouver Island riding in May’s provincial election.“I feel like it’s the right time and I’ve done what I want to achieve at the paralympic level,” Stilwell said in an interview before her announcement. But health problems associated with her spiral cord injury forced Stilwell to leave wheelchair basketball.She turned to wheelchair racing and won two golds at the Beijing Paralympics, gold and silver at the London Games, and the two golds at Rio. Stilwell won world championships in France and New Zealand.“I wasn’t one of those individuals who just broke their neck and now uses a wheelchair,” Stilwell said. “I’ve had countless surgeries and … Michelle Stilwell, one of the world’s most decorated Paralympic athletes and the first Canadian Paralympian to win gold in two different sports, has announced her retirement.The seven-time Paralympic medallist and world champion wheelchair athlete made her announcement on Twitter.She says she’s achieved her sporting dreams and wants more time with her family. Dropping sports was never an option for the lifelong athlete.She said she decided to retire while on a Christmas vacation in Mexico. “I’ve had time to reflect since Rio and really just spend time with my family and enjoy that part of my life.
But their defence couldn’t hold it.Minnesota fought back in the third quarter and led 71-70 midway through the period, and Wiggins played some tremendous defence on DeRozan in the fourth quarter to keep the Wolves in it. Minnesota committed just eight turnovers, and Shabazz Muhammad scored 22 points off the bench. They are just 10-14 after a 22-8 start, weathering several key injuries along the way to dip into third place in the Eastern Conference.Toronto shot 60 per cent in the first half, finding Carroll for open 3 after open 3 to take a 13-point lead. After forcing a tough midrange pull-up, Wiggins came back and hit a turnaround fall-away for a 106-105 lead with 47.6 seconds to play.DeRozan tied the game at 107 on a tough drive through contact from Towns, but Jones drilled a 3 from the left wing and Wiggins hit two big free throws to help the Wolves hold on. Kyle Lowry added 20 points and Toronto shot 53 per cent from the field, but Lowry missed a potential tying 3 at the buzzer.The Raptors entered the night with a top-five offence, but coach Dwane Casey has been harping on them to play better defence. Andrew Wiggins scored 31 points against his hometown team, Tyus Jones hit a 3-pointer with 19.5 seconds left and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Toronto Raptors 112-109 on Wednesday night.Karl-Anthony Towns had 29 points and 14 rebounds and Wiggins hit 11 of 19 shots to help the Timberwolves snap a four-game losing streak. DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and DeMarre Carroll hit all five of his 3s and finished with 19 points and nine boards for the Raptors, who led by 13 points in the first half.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who played with Oakley in New York, said the scene was “sad.”“That was tough for me to watch,” Rivers added. “Honestly, the players could see, that was a tough thing to watch. He has kept his tough-guy persona long after retirement, trading barbs with former rival Charles Barkley recently.“He’s the best teammate in the world. Fans chanted “Oakley! “Honest to God, if you could see, I took three steps. The 53-year-old Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988-98, helping them reach the NBA Finals, but has a poor relationship with the team because of his criticism of Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman.“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,” the Knicks wrote in a statement on Twitter. I turned around just in time as he was handing it to him and then there was a foul. He really is,” Rivers said. Former Knicks star Charles Oakley was forcefully removed from his seat at Madison Square Garden, handcuffed and arrested after a scuffle near team owner James Dolan.Oakley shoved security guards before they pulled him away from his seat behind the baseline during the first quarter of the Knicks’ 119-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. He was being processed for a desk appearance and will be issued a summons to report back to court.The commotion took place just a few rows behind the court during a stoppage in play while Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis was shooting free throws, and players from both teams turned to watch. I’ve been in the league a long time and I’ve never seen a thing like that.” I walked back to catch the third, fourth and fifth rounds,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said. “He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. That’s my guy. So that was tough to watch from where I was standing.”Security was called to Oakley’s seat after he was shouting at Dolan, sitting not far ahead in his usual seat in the first row behind the baseline. “It was crazy, man.”Oakley was handcuffed near an arena exit as he waited for police to arrive.The 6-foot-8 Oakley was a rugged enforcer playing alongside Michael Jordan in Chicago and then Patrick Ewing on the Knicks teams of the 1990s. I swear I was going to run down there and then I thought, ‘What the hell am I going to do?’ But I didn’t like that. Oakley shoved one security official in the face, though neither he nor any other arena staff threw any punches or pushed Oakley back, as players and tennis great John McEnroe looked on from his nearby seat.“I stopped and then there was an inbounds play on the side. Oakley!” in support of the popular power forward. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.”The NYPD said Oakley was arrested on three counts of assault, all third degree.
“But with no real like-for-like replacements, I tried to squeeze a little bit more out of them and ultimately it was too much for them.”Amazingly Douglas tied for second in tournament scoring with five tries despite fighting a bug in the sapping heat and humidity Down Under.“Fair play to him. “To run out there, even when you’re fit, was even harder. Kay and Zaruba were hurt in the first game there.“In the normal course of events I would have withdrawn them from the competition,” McGrath said. He climbed off his sick bed and tried to take part but he was nothing like the force he usually is,” said McGrath.“Standing still on the sideline was hard work. You were sweating and feeling drained,” he added. Instead of contending in the tournament’s top eight, the Canadian men dropped into consolation play and finished 13th for the third time in four stops on the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.A sparkling fourth-place finish in Wellington the week before showed the Canadians are better than their current 12th place on the overall standings. But to try and do it when you’ve been sick and your stomach wasn’t feeling great, I can’t say enough good things about him.”Zaruba played with a pulled leg muscle. His team down 12-7 at halftime to Argentina at the Sydney Sevens, Canada rugby coach Damian McGrath urged his players to pick up the tempo and stick to the game plan.“You’ve the quarter-finals in the palm of your hands and in a moment you’re just throwing it away,” he said.Needing a win to advance to the Cup quarter-finals on the weekend, Canada clawed its way to a 17-17 tie on a Pat Kay try with less than 15 seconds remaining. And despite his injury, the six-foot-five 265-pound Zaruba turned heads by running down Kenyan strike runner Collins Injera at the stroke of halftime.“I think he enjoyed that and I certainly did as a coach,” said McGrath.McGrath replaced his ailing big man at the half. Douglas and Kay didn’t start the last two games.McGrath hopes all four injured players as well as Phil Berna, who broke his elbow in Cape Town, will be back for Las Vegas and Vancouver stops next month. “The week before in Wellington we had a very consistent starting lineup, which I regard as our strongest, and we went all the way to the closing stages.”But with Hirayama sidelined and Kay, Justin Douglas and Adam Zaruba all ailing, Sydney was a different story.“The loss of those four key players with no real replacements maybe highlights where we are as a program — that we’ve got some good players but there’s a big drop-off to what comes next,” McGrath said.To that end, the English coach will be in Toronto this weekend to scout talent at an Ontario under-18 camp. But the hard-luck Canadians had to settle for the tie after Kay, subbing as kicker for the injured Nate Hirayama, missed the conversion attempt. we just didn’t do any justice to ourselves,” said McGrath.On the plus side, Canada bounced back to beat Papua New Guinea 33-20 and a tricky Kenya side 10-5 with some good contributions from the bench. “And it just got worse and worse,” said McGrath.“I’ve never seen anything like it really,” he added.After failing to advance against Argentina, a battered Canada opened Day 2 with a demoralizing 19-7 loss to Japan, which came into the game with an 0-18-0 season record.“That was the lowest point for us … Kay had suffered a buttock contusion in the opening game in Wellington and was hit in the same spot in the first minute of the first game in Sydney. But injuries and a lack of depth are costing Canada.“I would back our starting seven or eight players any time against any team,” said McGrath, who took over the Canadian team this season. Finding depth will take time, he acknowledges.Hirayama, Canada’s influential playmaker, suffered a hamstring injury in the dying minutes at Wellington and had to sit out in Sydney.