Canada Finish 5th in Sydney: Remain in Top Four in Series Standings
It wasn't the tournament Canada wanted, knocked out of the Cup semis due to day 1 losses to Russia and Ireland but they bounced back on Day 2 to win the 5th place battle after losing to eventual winners NZ but defeating Russia and France. The result leaves them tied for the 3rd/4th spot with Australia but most importantly ahead of 5th place France. The top 4 after the series get automatic qualification to the Olympics. The USA sit in 2nd place after winning Bronze at Sydney, NZ remain well ahead in 1st, winning all three tournaments this season. Next up is Kitakyushu in April where Canada met with disaster last year, coming next to last, a performance they'll have to avoid in an Olympic qualifying year.
The match reports from Rugby Canada are appended below.
Canada vs. New Zealand
Canada fall to New Zealand in the cup quarterfinals, 17-7. An all out battle, Canada played with excellent defense but the pressure and support play by New Zealand was too much to handle.
Canada's captain Ghislaine Landry scored the lone try for Canada in the match after an expert play, chipping the ball forward and chasing it down, to start the offensive drive. She was then able to break the NZ line to score as well as adding on the conversion.
Canada vs. Russia- 5th place semifinals
Canada beat Russia 12-5 in the 5th place semifinals.
Some great ball movement to start things off as Caroline Crossley finds Ghislaine Landry who hits Bianca Farella and blazes past the Russia defense to score Canada's first try. An offensive drive deep in the Russian end is capped off by Kaili Lukan who dots down for a try just before the break.
Disciplined play in the second half by Canada guided them to the victory over Russia 12-5.
Canada vs. France
Canada end Sydney in 5th place with a win against France, 19-17.
After a French try, Ghislaine Landry kicks a beautiful ball that is scooped up by Bianca Farella who touches it down for the try. France led Canada 12-7 at the break.
Landry notched her third try of the tournament, powering through with the score. But it was Farella who pushed Canada past France, digging deep to run in her second try of the match and winning it 19-17 at the last minute.
Canada Finish 3rd in Pool After Losses to Ireland & Russia: Face New Zealand in Day 2 Quarter-Final: FULL MATCH VIDEOS
Hopefully this isn't a repeat of last year's Kitakyushu where Canada were present in body but not in mind and where they finished second to last only gaining 2 series points. That result almost cost them a top 4 finish in the series, this is an Olympic qualifying year so a top 4 finish is essential.
Again it's the third tournament of the series where Canada struggles, this time it's Sydney not Kitakyushu. Canada were fortunate to be one of the best 3rd place finishers in the pool, so they don't get relegated to the bottom four, they stayed in the Cup round but drew undefeated NZ in the first round. On current form it's not looking promising they'll get by NZ which would put them in a 5th place semi-final, possibly facing Russia again. If coach John Tait can turn the team around to defeat NZ it would be an amazing accomplishment.
Where did it go wrong? Canada started with promise against Fiji winning 36-12, Fiji would go on to beat Russia. Canada were up two tries against Ireland in their second match, then gave up an easy try before half and then just shut down for the rest of the day.
Breanne Nicholas was Canada's top player to that point, she was responsible for both of Canada's early tries against Ireland but was inexplicably subbed off at half and never played in the last match. If it wasn't an injury then it was a poor player management decision by coaching staff. It was a tackle by Nicholas that caused a turnover on the first try against Ireland and she dotted the ball down for the second try. Another questionable sub decision in the last match was bringing Olivia App on, the only sub used, who was subsequently run over by Alena Mikhaltsova on the way to the winning try. Not a great day for the Canadian team but the tournament can be salvaged by a win over NZ on Day 2 or finishing 5th which would give the team a respectable 12 points and still well placed in the top four.
Below are match reports from Rugby Canada and the available match videos from CBC Sports.
Canada 36 - Fiji 12
Canada come out on top in their first match against Fiji, winning 36-12.
Bianca Farella scored twice in the match, giving her 14 in the series so far. Julia Greenshields added on another and Ghislaine Landry gave Canada two more.
Britt Benn had two of her own tries as well, with Em Chown scoring the last try of the match for Canada. Landry and Breanne Nicholas were good on the conversions.
Canada 14 v Ireland 15
Canada lose in an incredibly tight game to Ireland, 15-14.
The captain Ghislaine Landry started things off for Canada, scoring a try off the Canadian scrum. Then it was Breanne Nicholas off an inside ball from Britt Benn. Ireland scored twice before the half ended. With Landry's two conversions Canada led 14-10 at the break.
Ireland fought their way back, scoring the final try of the match after much offensive pressure. A late drive from Canada was stopped short due to a penalty, leaving Ireland victorious 15-14.
Canada 7 v Russia 12
Canada get upset in their final match of day one, losing 12-7 to Russia.
Canada's lone try was scored by Bianca Farella after an amazing effort by Charity Williams who chased down a bumbling ball and freed Farella for the long run into the Russian end. Landry added on the conversion.
Some uncharacteristic mistakes worked against the Canadian team and they were not able to fight their way back into the match.
Canada will move on to the Cup Quarterfinals tomorrow against New Zealand at 8:50pm ET/ 5:50pm PT.
John Tait Names 13 Players for Sydney 7s Feb 1st to 3rd: One Potential New Cap
There's one potential new cap on the team, Keyara Wardley. The team travels with 13 but only dresses 12 for the tournament so being selected is only part of the process. Keyara is from Vulcan, Alberta and part of the Foothills Lions rugby club. This is an excerpt from an October 2018 article in the local Okotoks news
after Keyara returned from the Youth Olympics in Argentina where Canada won Bronze.
"There's three of us on this team that are currently centralized on the women's program. For me, after this year I'll be done with U18, so my next step will be to make it on the top 12 squad for the world series women's team. We train everyday and there's only 12 players that will make it onto a tour so everyday you have to grind it out. It's a lot of hard work, but definitely what I want to be doing so I don't mind putting up that competition. The next tour will be in Dubai at the end of November, so my fingers are crossed for making that tour."
She first shows up in our records in 2016 as part of Canada's entry into the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens in Trinidad & Tobago. Also on that team were Caroline Crossley and Breanne Nicholas who already had experience on the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series along with Olivia Apps, Pamphinette Buisa, Emma Chown, Sophie de Goede, Ashley Gordon, Nakisa Levale, Kaili Lukan, Denise Roy, Erika Scott. from Rugby Canada
LANGFORD, BC (January 21, 2019) – Canada’s Women’s Sevens head coach John Tait has selected the 13 players that will be travelling to Sydney, AUS for the next stop of the 2018-2019 HSBC Women’s World Rugby Sevens Series, February 1-3, 2019.
Captaining the team will be Ghislaine Landry, who led Canada to bronze and silver medal to open the season in Glendale and Dubai respectively. Landry currently sits atop the series with most-points scored overall, notching 73 in the first two series stops.
Following closely behind in the standings is Bianca Farella who also returns to the lineup for Canada. The 26-year-old Quebec native has 12 tries in her 12 matches played in the 2018-2019 series so far.
Canada will face Fiji, Ireland, and Russia in pool play—all teams they’ve already seen throughout the series.
“We’re pretty familiar with the opposition and what they’re capable of. All three offer some challenges,” said head coach John Tait.
“We’ve just got to go out and make sure we get that mental edge and get a good start.”
The only change in the lineup, Keyara Wardley has the chance to win her first cap for Canada in Sydney. Wardley helped lead Canada to a bronze medal at the Youth Olympics this past fall.
With Olympic qualification on the line, Canada is heading into Sydney in second place and will be looking to continue their winning ways throughout the rest of the series.
“We have a belief in this squad that we can always be on the podium. This year with the Olympic qualification we made the goal simple, we’ve got to be top four in every tournament.” added Tait.
A strong performance in Sydney is a crucial step in their pursuit of Tokyo 2020, as the team looks to add on some more points and remain at the top of the pack.
All matches will be streamed LIVE cbcsports.ca. Follow @cbcsports on Twitter and Instagram for any broadcast updates.
Canada’s men and women’s sevens team will compete at home in BC in the HSBC Canada Sevens tournament. The men will compete in Vancouver, March 9-10th and women will be in Langford May 11-12th.
Single day and tournament passes for Vancouver on currently on sale and are available at https://www.canadasevens.com/tickets/
Tickets for the women’s event are set to go on sale soon. Stay tuned to the Rugby Canada and Canada Sevens channels for updates.
Canada’s Roster for Sydney:
1. Olivia Apps, Lindsay RFC (Lindsay, ON)
2. Britt Benn, Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
3. Emma Chown, Aurora Barbarians (Barrie, ON)
4. Caroline Crossley, Castaway Wanderers (Victoria, BC)
5. Bianca Farella, Town of Mount Royal RCF (Montreal, QC)
6. Julia Greenshields, Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
7. Sara Kaljuvee, Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
8. Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
9. Kaili Lukan, Unattached (Barrie, ON)
10. Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
11. Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
12. Keyara Wardley, Okotoks Lions (Vulcan, AB)
13. Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Sydney Sevens Schedule:
Day 1- January 31, 2019
Canada vs. Fiji- 5:22pm PT/ 8:22pm ET
Canada vs. Ireland- 8:06pm PT/ 11:06pm ET
Canada vs. Russia- 10:50pm PT/ 1:50am ET
Broadcast Details- https://www.cbc.ca/sports/rugby