Canada claim fourth position at Dubai Sevens

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HSBC sevens worls series

November 29, 2013, DUBAI, UAE (ISN)- Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team picked up 14 valuable IRB Women’s Sevens World Series points by finishing fourth in this weekend’s Dubai Sevens.

Without the likes of Jen Kish, Mandy Marchak and Ghislaine Landry due to injuries, Canada relied on veterans Ashley Steacy, Bianca Farella and Kelly Russell, along with youngsters Sara Kaljuvee, Emily Belchos and Nikki Case in the 12-team event. 

On Day Two, Canada defeated Spain in overtime with a beautiful solo effort from Kayla Moleschi before falling to New Zealand in the semi finals. The loss set up a 3rd/4th match against Russia. 

Farella and Karen Paquin each notched tries for Head Coach John Tait’s team, but it wasn’t enough as they would eventually fall 15-10 to the Russians to finish fourth place. 

All games for the Women’s Sevens World Series will be streamed live at wsws.irb.com

Canada 17-12 Spain

(Starting seven: Nikki Case, Julia Greenshields, Sara Kaljuvee, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)

With their captain unavailable due to injury, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team rallied late to beat Spain 17-12 in sudden-death extra time at the Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup Quarterfinal.

After learning they would be without skipper Ghislaine Landry, Canada needed someone else on the team to step up in her absence. Kayla Moleschi was happy to play hero.

With just 90 seconds left in extra time, Canada was awarded a scrum in the middle of the pitch. A clean ball came to Ashley Steacy, who rather than force an attack decided to go into contact. Moleschi saw space to her right, and rather than waiting for support, decided on a quick-pick from the back of the ruck. Using Bianca Farella as a decoy, Moleschi took the perfect angle through the Spanish defense going 40-metres for her first try of the tournament.

Meeting for the first time in Women’s Sevens World Series history, it was a hard fought match from both countries, with neither team ever leading by more than five points.

Canada opened the scoring just 45 seconds into the match, after a world-class offload from Karen Paquin on the touchline found Steacy running at pace for her first try of the tournament.

Spain would respond with two tries in the opening half to hold a 12-7 lead at the break.

Canada spent much of the second half looking for a breakthrough. While looking to generate anything on the attack, seldom were they able to find a breakthrough. Every time Canada gained territory, an error would cost them possession.

Their first sustained pressure came at the midway point of the second half. After controlling the ball well inside the Spanish 22, an unselfish Steacy popped to Farella for her 14th career WSWS try, evening the match at 12-12.

With 20 seconds left in the second half, Spain made a break for the Canada line. Identifying an overlap, Moleschi looped around just in time to make a game-saving tackle. Moleschi then stole the ball in contact and Spain was subsequently penalised, allowing the Canadians to clear.

Spain had another great opportunity to score as the hooter sounded, but it was Farella’s turn to save the day for Canada, chasing down an ambitious kick as it crossed the Canadian line.

Canada 5-19 New Zealand

(Starting seven: Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Jess Dovanne, Bianca Farella, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)

New Zealand continued their recent dominance over Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team with a 19-5 win in the Dubai Rugby Sevens Cup Semifinal.

While it wasn’t their strongest performance of the tournament, New Zealand was able to advance to their third straight Women’s Sevens World Series Cup Final.

The Black Ferns set the pace early, controlling the tempo of the match as Canada tried to put forth an attack. Just 90 seconds in, the defending World Cup champions got on the board with a try from Hazel Tubic to lead 7-0.

Canada looked to respond immediately, as Karen Paquin was away for the try but knocked it forward after crossing the New Zealand line. 

Canada was rewarded for their effort, as Ashley Steacy put down her second try of the day just moments later to bring the Canadians within two points.

Unfortunately, that would be the only score of the match for Canada.

New Zealand, who was riding a 16-match WSWS win streak, scored one more try in the opening half before adding another in the second half to give them their 17thstraight victory.

Canada 10-15 Russia – 3rd/4th Game

(Starting seven: Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, Jess Dovanne, Bianca Farella, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)

Victory was snatched on the final play of the game as Russia’s Baizat Khamidova dove over the try line to seal a 15-10 win over Canada. 

Khamidova opened the game’s scoring by showing her pace on the outside to get around Moleschi to take a 5-0 lead. Canada responded with a try from speedster Bianca Farella – her 4th try of the tournament – to level the game at 5-5 leading into half time. 

Karen Paquin opened the second half scoring with a burst of speed down the left touch line to give Canada their first lead of the match, but it was short-lived as Anastasiia Mukhariamova level the game at 10-10 minutes after. 

With time drawing to a close, Farella made a break towards the Russian line, but was dragged down by two defenders. Russia regained possession of the ball and Khamidova scored her second of the game to snatch third place.

What Head Coach JOHN TAIT said after the tournament:

“Spain is always a tough game, we lost our captain through concussion from the day before so Ashley Steacy stepped up and really led from the front on day two. We battled hard and it was a huge team effort and invaluable experience especially for our younger girls to play in a sudden death extra time game. Kayla is a tenacious player and when she broke through their line I knew she would finish it off for us.”

“New Zealand were in good form all the way to this point and we knew we had to be aggressive and limit mistakes to get a result. In the end we made too many errors and took too many penalties. I felt we had definitely stepped up our physicality with them and made them defend more then they had had to up until the final. I was proud that our girls didn’t back down to them and had we had a couple of calls go the other way at the breakdowns then the result might have been in our favour. We will beat them it is only a matter of time, the belief is there, now we must bring the execution to make it a reality.”

“Russia are the fastest team in the series and can score from any line break they get, from anywhere. We had the majority of the possession but didn’t turn that into points often enough. We still have a lot of work to do in improving our team defence as well as individual tackle technique. Most of our players come out of domestic leagues where they get away with being able to grab tackle instead of driving a shoulder on, this habit doesn’t cut it against this level of opposition.”

“I am pleased that we took enough series points in this one to still be in the race for the overall title in May. When you consider we had two fairly poor games in the pool stages and ended up having so many new players get quality minutes on the finals day, I think that experience  will serve us well in future tournaments.”

Women’s Sevens World Series Dubai Schedule: 

November 28 – Day 1

Canada 26-0 France
Canada 12-12 Brazil 
Canada 0-17 Australia 

November 29 – Day 2

Canada 17-12 Spain – Cup Quarterfinal
Canada 5-19 New Zealand – Cup Semifinal 
Canada 10-15 Russia – 3rd/4th Game

Canada’s Roster for Dubai Sevens – Name, (Club) Hometown:

Emily Belchos, (Markham Irish RFC) Barrie, ON
Nikki Case, (Yeoman Lions) Toronto, ON
Jessica Dovanne, (Velox RFC) Victoria, BC
Arielle Dubissette-Borrice, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON 
Bianca Farella, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC 
Julia Greenshields, (Sarnia Saints) Sarnia, ON
Sara Kaljuvee, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Pickering, ON
Ghislaine Landry, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Kayla Moleschi, (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC 
Karen Paquin, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Ashley Steacy, (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB

Unavailable Players:

Jennifer Kish, (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB
Mandy Marchak, (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB

Senior Women’s Sevens Staff:

Head Coach: John Tait
Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino
Performance Analyst: Ben Herring
Strength and Conditioning: Tyler Goodale
Athletic Therapist: Sandeep Nandhra
Manager: Meaghan Howat

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