Paquin Brings New Energy to Women's 7s Team - Canada Win First Series Gold Since February 2017: FULL MATCH VIDEOS
What a difference a year makes, from second last place in 2018 to first place in 2019 at Kitakyushu. The return of Karen Paquin is one of the big factors, it's her first tournament back since the Rio Olympics. Canada had just come off a 5th place finish in Sydney. She filled a role vacated when Jen Kish hung up the boots, a physical player with pace who can lift the team, score tries and play awesome defence. The last time Canada won a tournament was February 2017 in Sydney when Jen Kish was wearing the #7 on her back. This tournament it was Karen Paquin proudly wearing the #7 when Canada struck Gold.
Ghislaine Landry continues to be the star of the team, creating solo tries out of nothing, having another senior leader on the team seems to allow her to focus more on the rugby. Charity Williams did her job well, burning defenders with speed when a try was needed. Britt Benn came through at key times in crucial games. Julia Greenshields provided good linking play on attack. Bianca Farella scored a load of tries and provided a constant attacking threat. It's always a team game, often it's the weak link in the chain that gets exploited, this tournament Canada didn't have many weak links. Unlike other teams who came roaring out of the blocks putting up big numbers early on, Canada started slowly and built continually, nothing flashy but getting the job done. Well Done!
Next up is the home stand at Langford on May 11-12. Canada are now in 2nd place, closing in on NZ who came 5th in the tournament. Canada are only 6 points out of first and solidly in that top four group for Olympic qualification, that group is currently led by NZ 72 points, Canada 66 points, USA 64 points, Australia 56 points. France are chasing the pack at 46 points with two touraments left.
Canada v Russia QF
Landry put Canada on the board first with a solo effort, she took advantage of Russian error, toed the dropped ball through, picked it up and raced in for the try, 5-0 with 2 minutes gone. Charity Williams scored next, playing scrum half she just picked up the ball from the back of the scrum and angled for the corner, it's a special call we've seen before when coach Tait feels there's a possible mismatch in speed on the field. Russia were within metres of getting a try to close the half but Karen Paquin was the difference, racing back to help with the tackle on the breakaway runner then getting on her feet and winning the ball at the breakdown. Canada preserved their 10-0 halftime lead.
Paquin continued on form scoring Canada's first try of the second half for a 17-0 lead. Strong running by Britt Benn set Paquin up who ran an excellent support line to split the defence. Russia closed it to 17-7 with four minutes left. Russia scored again on a one on one outside battle and sub Kaili Lukan was well beaten. It was now a tense 17-14 match with 2 minutes left. Canada won the kickoff and maintained possession, a desperate lunge for the ball by the Russian defender who tried to intercept a pass but knocked it on led to a subsequent yellow card. Canada now had the player advantage and a minute to finish out the match. They ran down the clock and kicked it out for a tense win.
Canada v Russia Full Match
Canada v USA SF
The first few minutes of the Canada v USA match was physical and scrappy with both defences laying out big hits with high intensity at the breakdown. A turning point early on occured when a USA player received a yellow for a high tackle on Charity Williams. Canada were charging the gaps and playing straight ahead rugby instead of side to side and it was forcing the Americans to make their tackles. Canada would score two tries during the player advantage and were up 14-0 when the sin binned player came back on with a minute in the half. Coach Tait made a bold move at that time replacing Karen Paquin with rookie Keyara Wardley in the scrum. The USA player returning from the bin, Alev Kelter, put a big hit on Crossley which turned the ball over and USA clawed back one try to go into the half down 14-7.
Canada started the second half strong with Farella the recipient off a quick tap penalty by Julia Greenshields. Farella found space on the outside and Canada increased their lead 19-7. The Americans who started the tournament strong were looking tired now and making mistakes. Paquin was now back on with 4 minutes left in the match. It was Landry though who sealed the deal with a weaving solo run that went end to end, the tired American legs couldn't keep up and there was no catching her. It was now 24-7 with less than 3 minutes left and Landry was given a rest on the bench for fresh legs to come on. USA scored a consolation try but Canada claimed the win.
Canada v USA Full Match
Canada v England Final
Canada were down 5-0 with time expired and Landry scored a try off a bizarre play where a pass seemed to bounce of Britt Benns hands, onto the ground and was scooped up by Landry who darted in for the try. We'll post the full match video when it's made available by CBC.
Canada v England Highlight
Canada v England Full Match
Canada Into the Cup QF with a 3-0 Record on Day 1 - Face Russia Next: FULL MATCH VIDEOS
Canada started the tournament slowly with a shaky performance against Spain where they trailed 10-7 at the half. Canada were inflicting damage on themselves with turnover errors, a sure try negated with a failed last pass by Farella, Moleschi gifting a try to Spain with an errant pass inside the 5 metres. Was the curse of Kitakyushu 2018 striking again? That's when Canada failed to make the Cup round and came out with 2 series points. They barely finished 4th in the series that year.
The second half was better, the cavalry arrived, Karen Paquin, Charity Williams and Breanne Nicholas subbed on. Williams immediately had an impact and scorched a defender on the outside. Paquin was providing some much needed intensity to the defensive effort. It was her imposing presence in the front of the lineout which created the last try as it was Spain's turn to gift a try to Canada. Canada narrowly escaped with a 26-17 win.
Canada v Spain
In other first round action the USA were looking ominous, they crushed England 43-7. Australia blanked China 47-0, NZ 43-0 over Japan. Second round action revealed changes in form, England rebounded to blank Ireland 31-0 and the wheels feel off the NZ victory bus. They drew with Russia and then were defeated by France. They barely made the Cup round with a 1-1-1 record.
Canada faced China and were cruising to victory with 3 early tries then fell asleep on defence to allow China back in the match with 2 scores. It was a narrow 21-14 scoreline for Canada at the half. The defensive lapse was troubling considering the teams that were coming up. The subs came on again Britt Benn and Bianca Farella and Canada answered with 3 more tries, two of them by Farella. Canada allowed one last try for a 42-19 win. Newcomer Keyara Wardley scored her first try on the series but also exhibited some defensive frailties on China's first two tries. Karen Paquin also scored her first try since coming back to the 7s and there were no frailties in her game as she was imposing herself with confidence.
Canada v China
The final round match was against Australia, and after looking at the common scores against opponents from Round one and two, Australia were looking the more on-form team. Canada hit early however with tries by Farella and Paquin, Australia answered with two of their own and it was 14-10 for Australia with 5 minutes left. It was all on Canada's shoulders now. The Australian kickoff didn't go 10 and Canada kept possession, patiently moving the ball downfield before Landry knocked the ball on. Four minutes left with an Australian scrum at their 22. Brittany Benn made a huge play tracking the outside runner one on one, making the tackle, getting back on her feet, winning the breakdown and the penalty. That was the BCRN turning point. Canada went on attack but were not able to break the stiff Australian defence, Benn put a grubber down that trickled to within inches of the goal line, Australia recovered but with support not there the ball carrier was isolated. Kaili Lukan reached over the fallen player picked the ball up and extended her arms to score the try. Canada had to defend for a minute but Australia eventually knocked the ball on for a satisfying Canada win. Canada now face Russia in the Cup QF already surpassing their 2018 effort at Kitakyushu.
Canada v Australia
Canada Team Annnounced for Kitakyushu, Japan on April 20th: Karen Paquin Makes Comeback
April 8th 2019
The big news is the return to the national 7s team of Karen Paquin. On her social media account she had this to say today.
I'm absolutely delighted to hit the field again with the girls. The privilege to wear the #mapleleaf and be part of this team is as humbling as ever. Massive #thankyou to all those who helped me through injury and retraining. It's been a tough one. #RugbyCA #RoadToRecovery
She hadn't really shown up in our story database since the 2017 World Cup. She did show up in the 2018 East and West XVs camps, attending the West camp. Mention of her was made last year in the Langford 7s article when reviewing the try scoring stats. She was 3rd highest try scorer for Canada at that time despite being away from the 7s program since 2016. Ghislaine Landry tops the list for Canada at 105 tries, Bianca Farella at 88 then comes Karen Paquin at 53. Those stats don't include this season.
Having someone of Karen's presence and try scoring ability back on the pitch will be a big boost for the program. from Rugby Canada
LANGFORD, BC (April 8, 2019) – National Senior Women’s Sevens head coach John Tait has named his roster that will travel to Kitakyushu, Japan for the fourth stop on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series on April 20-21st, 2019.
Canada is coming off a fifth-place finish in Sydney and are currently tied for third with Australia. Last year saw a disappointing performance in Kitakyushu for the team, finishing outside the top eight—the only time doing so in their history.
Canada will be gunning for a podium finish that would put them in good position to claim a ticket to Tokyo 2020—awarded to the top-four finishers at the series end.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been in a really long time. This is probably the toughest selection we’ve had since Rio,” said head coach Tait.
Captaining the squad will be veteran Ghislaine Landry who leads the points-scoring race this season with 106 points through the first three events. Joining her at the top of the rankings is Bianca Farella who sits second in tries scored with 18 to date—only two behind New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde.
Making her return to the lineup for the first time since Rio 2016 is Quebec City-native Karen Paquin. Coming back from injury, Paquin returned to action for the first time in March on a midseason development tour with the Maple Leafs.
Kitakyushu comes just ahead of Canada’s hometown series in Langford, BC on May 11-12th, a tournament that has recently been renewed into the 2019/2020 season.
Canada will face off against Spain, China, and Australia on day one of competition in Pool B. Fans can watch every minute of competition LIVE on CBC Sports.
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. Ghislaine Landry, Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)- Captain
8. Kaili Lukan, Unattached (Barrie, ON)
9. Kayla Moleschi, Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
10. Breanne Nicholas, London St. Georges RFC (Blenheim, ON)
11. Karen Paquin, Castaway Wanderers / CRQ (Quebec City, QC)
12. Keyara Wardley, Okotoks Lions (Vulcan, AB)
13. Charity Williams, Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Canada’s Kitakyushu Schedule:
Canada vs. Spain- (April 19th)10:14pm ET/ 7:14pm PT
Canada vs. China- (April 20th) 12:58am ET/ (April 19th) 9:58pm PT
Canada vs. Australia- (April 20th) 4:04am ET/ 1:04am PT