Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team clinched their best finish yet on the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Series on Sunday, finishing sixth and collecting 10 points, which puts Canada at eighth overall in the women’s standings with two tournament stops remaining.
The boisterous crowd continued to help bring BC Place to life on Sunday. Over 66,700 people experience HSBC Canada Sevens 2023 over the course of the three days.
Canada’s women’s squad got a second chance against Ireland in the fifth place semi final to open the day, having lost 28-7 to the Irish on Friday to open the tournament. Ireland opened scoring, but Canada went to work, scoring four in quick succession. Fancy Bermudez and Olivia Apps added points for Canada before the break, and Keyara Wardley scored her third try of the tournament two minutes in to the second half. Bermudez scored yet another to further increase Canada’s lead. Despite Ireland stealing a final try in extra time, Canada took the win 24-12.
“A bunch of my old teammates and old rugby club are here cheering me on, so that gives me a little bit of feel, knowing where I came from and where I am now,” said Bermudez. “A couple years ago I was in the stands watching so it’s an unreal feeling being on the field now. We wanted to come [into this game] with some grit and some fight, and we weren’t happy with how the first game went, so we wanted to give them a battle.”
“We were so close to a semi final berth and to beating the best team in the world last night and sometimes the energy of that can almost pull you down in your next performance,” said Head Coach Jack Hanratty, referencing Canada’s tight 10-5 quarter final loss to New Zealand. “We had to rally and come back and the biggest credit that I give the players is how professional they were last night, how proud they were of their performance—but we don’t want to be known for pride, we want to be known for results, and coming back and beating Ireland this morning was a really important result.”
Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team closed the tournament in the fifth place play-off against Fiji. After surrendering the first try, Canada immediately responded with a try from Bianca Farella, who faked a pass to cut through Fiji’s defence. A clean kick from Apps gave Canada a 7-5 lead, but Fiji rebounded, with a 17-7 score in their favour at the break. Piper Logan’s quick footwork helped Canada gain ground in the second half, with Apps scoring to close the gap. Wardley scored her second of the game in minute twelve to tie it 17-17, pulling away from Fiji’s defence to the delight of the raucous crowd. Fiji managed to get one more try in the final minute, winning 22-17.
New Zealand won their fourth women’s World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in a row, winning 19-12 over Australia.
It was a roller coaster of a weekend for Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team, who, after beating Australia and Chile, just barely lost out on making the quarter finals after a three-way tie in Pool D that was decided by point differential. After losing to Spain on Saturday night, Canada met South Africa in what would be their final game of the tournament, the thirteenth place semi final.
In a high tension game, Lockie Kratz scored nine of Canada’s 14 points, with a try and conversion in the fourth minute of play to tie the game 7-7 and a conversion off a try from Jake Thiel in the ninth minute to tie the game 14-14. South Africa scored three more tries in the second half however, taking the win 31-14.
“It’s why you love and hate the game at the same time, the points spread matters,” said interim Head Coach Sean White. “I don’t think we’re happy with where we are, but we can certainly be proud. If we inspired one more kid to pick up a ball or one more parent to sign their kid up to play, I think we’ve done a good job here. Our highs are really high right now and our lows are quite low. We’ve just got to find that even keel. I think we showed what we’re capable of, it’s just about that repeat performance.”
“The feeling on Friday was absolutely electric, just wish it had fallen the other way,” said captain Phil Berna. “We have a re-instilled belief that we have all the parts, the parts are here, we just have to put it together on a bit more consistent basis.”
The men’s final was won by Argentina, the second year in a row that the Argentinians have claimed the cup in Vancouver, winning by a score of 33-21 over France.
Canada’s sevens teams will be back in action over March 31 to April 2 at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team will then play in the HSBC Singapore Sevens over April 8 to 9.