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Canada advances to quarter-finals of Hong Kong sevens rugby

Rugby fans in Roman costumes watch a rugby match from the spectators' stand during the second day of the three-day Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament March 23, 2013. The annual three-day international sporting event attracts fans from around the world, creating a carnival atmosphere.

TYRONE SIU/REUTERS

Canada has advanced to the quarter-finals of the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament.

The Canadian men finished second in Pool D with a 2-1-0 record after defeating Hong Kong 14-12 and losing to 13-time champions Fiji 26-5 on Saturday.

Canada, ranked 10th in the series standings, will face No. 8 Wales in Sunday's quarter-finals. The winner advances against either Portugal or Kenya.

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The other Cup quarter-finals are Fiji versus Australia and New Zealand versus Samoa.

Taylor Paris and Nathan Hirayama, on his 25th birthday, scored tries as Canada held off Asian champion Hong Kong to start the day. Paris then accounted for Canada's lone points with a try in the loss to defending champion Fiji. Captain Nanyak Dala was sent to the sin-bin for an early tackle.

Canada opened Friday with a 31-7 win over Spain.

The Canadian men came to Hong Kong in good form after fine performances in New Zealand and the U.S.

They beat Fiji 28-19 in New Zealand en route to winning the consolation Bowl competition.

That tournament also included a 31-7 victory over Spain, another new core team that currently is 14th in the standings.

Before that, the Canadians won the second-tier Plate competition in Las Vegas by beating Scotland to finish fifth.

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This season has been ultra-competitive on the sevens circuit with five different winners on the five stops to date. Only New Zealand has finished in the top-8 in every event.

South Africa won the last event, in Las Vegas, but was relegated to the lesser bowl competition in Hong Kong.

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