Canada’s women’s sevens team made amends for a Cup Quarterfinal loss by capturing the Plate title at the Canada Sevens with a 21-5 win over Spain.
The fifth place finish is certainly not what the Canadians had hoped for on home soil, but the resolve shown after a disappointing Cup Quarterfinal left the team feeling confident heading into their final series event next month in France.
Canada bowed out of Cup competition earlier in the day with a heartbreaking 14-12 loss to France in the quarterfinals. The Canadians had led 12-0 with two minutes to play, but conceded two late tries as France stunned the hosts.
“We just lost one game and probably played only two real bad minutes the whole tournament,” said head coach John Tait. “But that’s the beauty of sevens, the key moment when you come apart can be your undoing.”
Canada was in the same position at last year’s Canada Sevens where they finished 3-0 on Day One before bowing out in the Cup Quarterfinals, losing two of their three matches on Day Two.
Tait said he didn’t need to deliver a message to his team after the loss to France.
“There’s no need to kick them when they’re down,” said Tait. “We all made mistakes in the Quarterfinal (against France) across the board. I made some mistakes, but it’s all in hindsight. We just have to move on and learn from it and we’ll be a little bit better for the experience.”
While Tait didn’t want to harp on his team after the loss to France, captain Jen Kish did say teammate Ghislaine Landry pulled the team aside.
“(She) pulled us together and said ‘we need to leave it where it was and focus on the next match and we’ll revisit it after the tournament,’” said Kish. “That’s exactly what we did.”
Now that the tournament is over, Canada will have time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t, but none of the players seemed to dwell on Sunday’s only loss.
“Each one of these tours is a stepping stone towards the Olympics,” said Britt Benn. “It’s figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t work.”
“It’s how you turn around from it and come back with a positive mindset.”
Canadian veteran Kelly Russell, who has been with the team for a decade, echoed Benn’s comments.
“It’s a learning process but to win it we’ve got to be on every second of the game,” said Russell. “We’re training hard these days, we’re going full at it, and it’s just mental. We have the skills, we have the gameplan, the systems, but we’ve got to be able to execute every second.”
CANADA 12-14 FRANCE
Canada were in control for much of the match, but
Bianca Farella opened the scoring for the hosts as Canada staked an early 7-0 lead.
Dominating possession for much of the first half, Canada added to their lead through a Kayla Moleschi try and took a comfortable 12-0 lead into the second half.
Nothing suggested France were going to stage a last minute comeback, but as often seen in sevens rugby, the game can turn on a dime.
France cut the lead to 12-7 then scored again after the hooter had sounded to tie the match 12-12. France’s Shannon Izar then nailed a difficult conversion to give France the win at the death.
With his team dominating the pace of play and controlling much of the match, head coach John Tait made three substitutes with his team leading by twelve the final two minutes.
“We were up two scores with two minutes left and we turned the ball over three times and missed three tackles and that’s unfortunately enough to let the team back in it to decide it in the end,” said Tait.
“Hindsight’s 20/20, we would have left those girls in a little longer but we just judged it off how they played yesterday and the bench did a good job and today we just didn’t get the same finish from them.”
It is an all too familiar feeling for head coach John Tait and his team, who went a perfect 3-0 on day one in Langford last year, before falling in the Cup Quarterfinals.
“We will use the way we finished last year, we had a similar outcome and ended up losing our final game of the day,” said Tait. “We just want to finish with some decent performances.”
CANADA 27-0 RUSSIA
It was another dominating performance from Canada, who pitched their fourth shutout in five matches at the Canada Sevens with a 27-0 win over Russia.
There was no letdown after a disappointing loss to France earlier in the day as the Canadians jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with a Charity Williams try in the opening minute.
Canada continued to mount pressure on the Russians, with consistent phase play that kept the Russians on their back foot.
Karen Paquin and Megan Lukan added two more first half tries as Canada took a 17-0 lead into the break.
It was much of the same in the final seven minutes with Paquin adding her second try of the match while Britt Benn capped off the win with a try of her own.
CANADA 21-5 SPAIN
After suffering a Cup Quarterfinal loss early on Saturday, Canada finished the Canada Sevens in winning fashion claiming the Plate title with a 21-5 win over Spain.
Canada fed off the energy of the hometown crowd, jumping out to a 14-0 halftime lead thanks to trys from Ghislaine Landry and Hannah Darling.
Having held most of the possession in the opening half, Canada padded their lead two minutes into the second half through a try from Britt Benn.
With the game all but sealed, Spain scored a late try to ruin the shutout for the Canadians, who held four of their six opponents off the scoresheet this weekend.
Canada’s Roster (name, club, hometown):
Britt Benn – (Guelph Redcoats) Napanee, ON
Hannah Darling – (Peterborough Pagans) Warsaw, ON
Bianca Farella – (Town of Mont Royal RFC) 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 Mack – (Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK
Kayla Moleschi – (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell – (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Charity Williams – (Markham Irish) Toronto, ON
Unavailable for selection due to injury:
Elissa Alarie – (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue Rugby Club) Trois-Rivieres, QC
Magali Harvey – (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Emmanuela Jada (Guelph Redcoats) Guelph, ON
Ashley Steacy – (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB
Natasha Watcham-Roy – (Hull Volant) Gatineau, QC
Canada’s Coaching Staff:
John Tait – Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino – Assistant Coach
Meaghan Howat – Manager
Sandeep Nandhra – Athletic Therapist
Tyler Goodale – Strength & Conditioning
Canada’s Langford Sevens Day 1 Schedule:
Canada 38-0 Japan
Canada 26-0 Ireland
Canada 5-0 England
Canada’s Langford Sevens Day 2 Schedule:
Canada 12-14 France (Cup Quarterfinals)
Canada 27-0 Russia (Plate Semi Finals)
Canada 21-5 Spain (Plate Final)
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