(ISN) – ATLANTA, GEORGIA – Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team captured third place at the Atlanta Sevens after a 28–17 win over Russia. This is Canada’s sixth straight third place finish at a World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series and the tenth straight tournament they have finished in the top four. The top four teams at the end of the season will automatically qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Earlier in the day Canada beat France 24-12 to advance to the Cup Semifinals where they lost to series leaders New Zealand 24-22 in an exciting match that was worthy of a final. With their third place finish, Canada earned 16 points to move into a tie with Australia for second place in the overall series standings.
What head coach John Tait said:
“I was really proud of the way we responded as a group. We had an honest look at the way we performed on Day One and made a commitment to be better as a team today. I was especially pleased with the way we came out and attacked New Zealand in the Cup Semi Finals. Hard to lose a close one, but they just got that extra possession on us and we missed a couple of tackles against two world class finishers. We gained some breathing space in the top four and now will look to build off this again in Langford and take another step towards Rio Qualifying.”
CANADA 24-12 FRANCE
(Starting seven: Britt Benn, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Mandy Marchak, Kayla Moleschi, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)
Try scorers for Canada: Bianca Farella (2), Brittany Benn & Ghislaine Landry
Conversions: Ghislaine Landry (2)
Canada couldn’t have asked for a better start as Bianca Farella scored a try less than 30 seconds into the match to give Canada an early 5-0 lead. It was the 44th series try of Farella’s career, moving her back into fourth place all-time.
Less than two minutes later Canada struck again, this time through Brittany Benn who was starting in place of injured captain Jen Kish. Benn fended off two French defenders before racing to the try line for her first ever series try.
Farella would add another first half try and Canada took a 19-7 lead into the break. France brought the match to a one-score game after touching down in the ninth minute, but Canada’s resilient defence didn’t allow another score the rest of the way. Ghislaine Landry added some insurance in the final minute with her 18th try of the season.
CANADA 22-24 NEW ZEALAND
(Starting seven: Britt Benn, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Mandy Marchak, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)
Try scorers for Canada: Ghislaine Landry (2), Ashley Steacy (2)
Conversions: Ghislaine Landry
In a rematch of last year’s final, both teams traded scores until the very last whistle with a missed conversion the only difference between the two teams. Canada could not have asked for a better start, as two big hits led to a try from Ghislaine Landry and the Canadians were up 5-0 early.
Just a minute later, the defending champions flexed their own muscle with a try and the match was tied 5-5. Two minutes later, Canada’s Brittany Benn found Landry with a great offload in contact and the Toronto native was off for her second try of the half to give Canada a 12-5 lead.
However, just as the hooter was sounding for the end of the first half, New Zealand’s Portia Woodman raced down the touchline and the match was drawn even 12-12 at the break. A Black Ferns try in the ninth minute put Canada down temporarily, but thanks to some stingy defence and a penalty awarded just outside of the New Zealand try line, Canada were able to score through Ashley Steacy. The conversion attempt hit the post, leaving the match tied 17-17.
New Zealand then scored a converted try with just under a minute remaining in the match to go up seven points. Canada continued to press and as the hooter sounded, New Zealand was issued a yellow card to go down to six players. Taking advantage of the overlap, Steacy found space on the outside to score a try in the corner leaving Mandy Marchak with a difficult angle for the conversion which came up just short.
CANADA 28-14 RUSSIA
(Starting seven: Elissa Alarie, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin, Kelly Russell and Ashley Steacy)
Try scorers for Canada: Ghislaine Landry (2) & Karen Paquin (2)
Conversions: Ghislaine Landry (3) & Ashley Steacy
Coming off an emotional loss to New Zealand, there was no letdown in Canada as they followed up the heartbreaking defeat with a convincing win. After Russia opened the scoring, Canada scored the next 28 points in a dominating 10 minute stretch which took up the better part of both half’s.
Karen Paquin was a menace on defence, laying out two punishing hits. She also showed off some offensive flair on the attack, scoring two tries. Ghislaine Landry also scored two tries and was successful on three conversions to finish the match with 16 points. Landry is now second in series scoring this season with 151 points.
Atlanta Sevens Schedule
Day One – March 14, 2015
Canada 28-0 Brazil
Canada 31-14 China
Canada 10-26 England
Day Two – March 15, 2015
Canada 24-12 France
Canada 22-24 New Zealand
Canada 28-14 Russia
Canada’s Roster for Atlanta Sevens – Name, (Club) Hometown
Elissa Alarie – (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Brittany Benn – (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Bianca Farella – (Town of Mount Royal) Montreal, QC
Julia Greenshields – (Sarnia Saints) Sarnia, ON
Jennifer Kish – (Edmonton Rockers) Edmonton, AB
Ghislaine Landry – (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
Mandy Marchak – (Capilano) Winnipeg, MB
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
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (Hull Volant) Gatineau, QC
Canada’s Coaching Staff
Head Coach: John Tait
Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino
Therapist: Sandeep Nandhra
Strength and Conditioning: Dana Agar-Newman
Manager: Meg Howat
Analyst: Callum Morris