RWC 7s 2018

July 22 2018

Rugby Canada rebranding Feb 2018

Canada Men Finish 12th - Women Finish 7th at Rugby 7s World Cup


The men finished the world rugby series in 9th place but couldn't duplicate that at the world cup. They lost both games on Day 3 in their attempt to finish 9th, a feat reserved for Ireland who aren't even on the world series circuit. Canada lost to Australia in their first Sunday match, no shame in that, the Australians under performed as well as they finished 4th on the circuit but 10th at the world cup. The big hurt was losing to Wales in the final match 35-12, Wales finished 14th in the series but 11th at the World Cup. McGrath started some of the reserves in the final match but even when the starters were brought on in the second half they were outscored by Wales. It's been a long season and with Olympic Qualifying up for grabs next season and the prospect of facing USA in the regional qualifying, it's time to get serious about the future of the program. Damian McGrath made it clear what is needed, "invest in the program" was mentioned at least 3 times in his post tournament interview. More carded players needed, more competition for the starting spots on the world series, more high level games for the Maple Leafs would be a good start.


The women also had a disappointing tournament, they're well funded so have even less excuses than the men who are scrounging for funding. The women are Olympic bronze medalists, finished 4th on the series but finished 7th behind Ireland, Spain and USA at this world cup. Again an Olympic qualifying year and they may have to face USA in the regionals, it's not good news to finish behind them to end the season. Coach John Tait looked sombre in his post tournament interview, talking about the mental aspect of rugby and a long season. The team struggled even in their last game against Russia which ended in a win, it looked difficult and disjointed. Something needs tweaking in the program and the coaching staff have the summer to figure it out.

The Winners

Who were the winners at the tournament, clearly NZ, who else, they won both titles, men and women. It's a rugby culture, they have amazing resilience and more often than not, come out on top. Ireland did phenomenally well finishing 9th in men's play and 6th on the women's side, not bad for a country that focuses almost exclusively on XVs. The men aren't even a core team and the women finished 10th on the series. USA as the host country did well, the women finished 4th and the men 6th. That compares favourably to their world series rankings of 5th and 6th.

Canada Lose to Spain in Women's 5th Place Semi: Canada Now Face Russia in 7th Place Final - Men Defeat Japan and Face Australia in 9th Place Semi


The Canadian men produced one of their best displays of the tournament, at least for 8 minutes. They scored 35 points in 8 minutes but went off the boil quickly and allowed Japan to score the last three tries for a 35-17 win that was closer than it should have been. If Canada can put together 14 minutes at the top level they have a shot of defeating Australia tomorrow and getting into the 9th place final versus Ireland or Wales. Scoring for Canada Justin Douglas with 2, Matt Mullins with 2 and a single by Nate Hirayama.


John Tait must be wondering what he can do to reinvigorate this team. He shook up the lineup and put Pam Buisa and Charity Williams into the starting rotation but they didn't deliver. Spain put up 3 first half tries to none for Canada. Buisa who had looked so aggressive in the first match subbing in, this time looked like a deer caught in the headlights - especially on defence where she gifted too much time to the Spanish ball carriers. It wasn't just Buisa but the Canadian defence as a whole that just gave too much time and applied too little pressure on their opponent.

Canada scored two second half tries to make it close, 26-14, but allowed a fourth try in the second half as well. Since Jen Kish left, the team has struggled to find the leadership on the field at the right time. There was a good example near the end of the match when Canada had the momentum, still a chance to score two tries with Spain down to 6 players. It was 3 on 3 with Ghislaine Landry, Julia Greenshields, Bianca Farella against 3 spanish defenders in the corner in confined space, 5 metres from the line. No one wanted to put their head down and go into contact, secure the ruck, recycle to the 4 on 3 waiting on the open side. Kish would have known what to do in that situation. They ended up making awkward passes to players in worse positions and eventually knocked it on. That play seemed to sum up the Canadian women's form as of late, hence they're playing for 7th place at the World Cup.

France has done well in the competition and are in the final versus New Zealand. France knocked off Olympic champions Australia in the semis. The USA as host raised their game and stretched NZ to the limit in their semi, they'll face Australia for bronze.

Canada Men and Women Out of Medal Contention After Day 1

There was the hope the men could get past Argentina and the women past France to compete for a top 3 spot but it wasn't to be.

The women started well on attack defeating Brazil 43-19 but their defence looked shaky. While NZ blanked their opponent, Australia held their opponent to 5 and France and USA wouldn't allow more than 7 against them in the first round. Canada didn't look strong in that department leaking in 19 points against Brazil. Defence wins championships they say and the Canadian women need to improve in that aspect of the game if they want to get back to a top 3 ranking.

One of the highlights in their first win was Pam Buisa coming in at 8 minutes and lifting the energy of the team with some feisty attitude on both sides of the ball. She wasn't rewarded with more playing time unfortunately and she only got in at the 12 minute mark in game 2. Does coach John Tait need to rethink his selections and reward positive play instead of going on past form? It's a tough choice but the team is only as strong as the weakest link and it's just not working for them at the current time. They face Spain in the playoff for 5th place on Day 2. Also in the hunt for 5th place are Ireland and Russia. It has been a steady decline since the glory of bronze in the Olympics, finishing 4th in the series this year and now at best a 5th place finish at the World Cup.

The news wasn't any better for the men's program, they defeated PNG in their first game but not convincingly at all, 29-21, again allowing too many points for a low ranking opponent. They were stuffed in the round of 16 by Argentina 28-0, not getting close to scoring in the game. The best they can finish is 9th now and it will start against Japan on Day 2, Japan played well and made the Fijians work hard for their win. Other teams in the hunt for 9th include Australia, Russia, and Kenya.

Pemberton Holmes
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