SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Canada’s women’s sevens team has advanced to the Sydney Sevens cup quarterfinals after finishing day one with a 2-1 record in Pool A. It is Canada’s 22nd straight HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series cup quarterfinal.
Canada opened the tournament with a 26-5 win over France, improving to 10-2 all-time in the series. The Canadians improved to 2-0 on day one after a convincing 39-5 win over Papua New Guinea.
It was the first time the two teams had ever played each other in an HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens World Series event. Canada will now face Russia in the cup quarterfinals.
CANADA 26-5 FRANCE
After a sixth place finish at the first event of the season in Dubai, it was important for Canada to get off on the winning foot in Sydney as a win would position them nicely for advancing to the cup quarterfinals. Canada controlled much of the possession from the opening kickoff, limiting France’s attack with a number of textbook tackles throughout the match.
Megan Lukan opened the scoring for Canada after a strong defensive front caused a French player to send an illadvised pass towards Lukan who easily intercepted and touched down to give Canada a 5-0 lead. Julia Greenshields quickly followed with a try of her own after captain Ghislaine Landry did most of the legwork.
Former captain Jen Kish marked her return to the series with a try just before half as Canada entered the break with a 19-5 lead. Playing with the lead, Canada grinded down the French in the second half.
With ball in hand, Canada was able to waste time on the clock as France ran out of options to mount a comeback. A late Hannah Darling sealed victory for the Canadians.
CANADA 39-5 PAPUA NEW GUINEA
With both teams meeting for the first time ever on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series, Canada came away with a convincing 39-5 win over Papua New Guinea, who is playing in their first series event. Except for one minor breakdown on the defensive end, Canada will be happy with the result.
Papua New Guinea showed early signs of an upset, scoring in the opening minute after finding a hole in the Canadian defensive line. However, it provided a wakeup call for Canada, as those turned out to be the only points Papua New Guinea would score the whole match.
Canada answered back two minutes later through Charity Williams, who raced down the touchline for a try to put Canada ahead 7-5. A minute after that it was Megan Lukan with a try. Then it was Britt Benn with back-to-back tries in two minutes and all of a sudden Canada was up 24-5 at half time.
After Breanne Nicholas extended Canada’s lead to 29-5 with a try under the posts, Bianca Farella picked up her first try of the tournament to make it 34-5 Canada. It was Farella’s 65th career try, moving her into fifth all-time on the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series try scoring list. Ashley Steacy added a try in the final second to give Canada the lopsided win.
CANADA 10-31 NEW ZEALAND
After two fairly easy wins to start the day, Canada was always going to be in tough against the series leaders New Zealand and it was the Black Ferns showing their class throughout the match. Three first half tries from New Zealand put Canada with their backs against the wall heading into the second half trailing 17-0. Britt Benn brought Canada within two scores with her third try of the day but New Zealand quickly responded with two more tries to go up 31-5.
Charity Williams scored a try in the final minute.
Canada’s Sydney Sevens Training Camp Squad (Name, club, hometown):
Britt Benn – Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Hannah Darling – Peterborough Pagans (Warsaw, ON)
Bianca Farella – Town of Mont Royal (Montreal, QC)
Julia Greenshields – Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Jen Kish – Edmonton Rockers (Edmonton, AB)
Ghislaine Landry – Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Megan Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Kayla Moleschi – Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas – London St. Georges (Blenheim, ON)
Ashley Steacy – Lethbridge Rugby Club (Lethbridge, AB)
Natasha Watcham-Roy – Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)
Charity Williams – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Canada’s Sydney Sevens Day 1 Schedule (Thursday, February 2nd):
Canada 26-5 France
Canada 39-5 Papua New Guinea
Canada 10-31 New Zealand
Canada’s Sydney Sevens Day 2 Schedule (Friday, February 2nd):
Canada vs Russia at 7:06 pm ET / 4:06 pm PT