March 1st, 2024

Canada places seventh as Irish women earn first-ever title on rugby 7s world circuit

By The Canadian Press on January 28, 2024.

PERTH, Australia – Canadian Jake Thiel, left, attacks the Britain defence on Day 3 of the HSBC Perth SVNS rugby sevens tournament in Perth, Australia, in a Sunday, Jan. 28, 2024, handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-World Rugby, KLC fotos, Mike Lee, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

PERTH, Australia – The Canadian women’s rugby sevens team finished the HSBC Perth SVNS on a winning note Sunday, defeating Fiji 26-5 to place seventh.

Ireland lifted the trophy for the first time on the rugby sevens world stage, downing series leader Australia 19-14 in the women’s final at a sold-out HBF Pack.

Argentina won the men’s title for the second straight event, beating Australia 31-5. The Pumas opened the 2024 season by finishing runner-up in Dubai before winning in Cape Town and have reached the final in eight of the last nine events (with a 4-4-0 record in those championship games).

Britain took the women’s bronze medal with a 24-10 win over the U.S., while Ireland’s men claimed bronze with a 24-7 decision over double Olympic champions Fiji.

It was another tough weekend for the Canadian men, who finished 12th after losing 12-5 to Britain.

The Canada men stand 11th overall while the women are sixth going into the HSBC Vancouver SVNS, the fourth stop of the season scheduled for Feb. 23-35 at B.C. Place Stadium.

The Irish women went 5-1-0 in Perth, losing only to New Zealand in pool play (21-14). Ireland downed the U.S. and Japan in the group stage before dispatching Fiji 14-12 in the quarterfinal and Britain 31-7 in the semifinal to reach the championship game.

The victory has been “a long time coming,” said Irish captain Lucy Mulhall.

“It means a lot and we’ve been on a long journey,” she added. “This is massive for women’s Irish rugby. We’ll be sure to celebrate.”

The performance moved Ireland into fourth place in the women’s overall standings after three events with 38 points behind Australia (58), New Zealand (46) and France (44). The Canadian women have 32 points, four behind the U.S.

Argentina tops the men’s table with 58 points ahead of Fiji and Australia (both on 44) and South Africa and Ireland (both 42). The Canadian men have 10 points, one point ahead of bottom-placed Britain.

Krissy Scurfield, Olivia Apps, Charity Williams and Asia Hogan-Rochester scored tries in Canada’s win over Japan in the seventh-place playoff. Chloe Daniels kicked two conversions and Hogan-Rochester booted one for Canada, which led 12-0 at the half.

The Canadian women lost 7-0 to Britain in the earlier Cup quarterfinal.

Jack Carson scored a late consolation try for the Canadian men against Britain, which led 10-0 at the half, in the 11th-place playoff.

While the Canada men lost all five weekend outings, they can take solace from a comeback that came just short in a 26-21 loss to New Zealand in the ninth-place semifinal.

Trailing 19-0 at the half, Canada pulled ahead 21-19 on converted tries by Jake Thiel, Kalin Sager and Matt Percillier. But Fehi Fineanganofo’s last-minute converted try gave the All Blacks the win

The Canadian men will face Argentina, Fiji and Spain in Pool A in Vancouver. The Canadian women will play out of Pool D with Britain, France and Spain.

The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series has been rebranded as the HSBC SVNS this season. The slimmed-down sevens circuit features seven regular-season events, each featuring men’s and women’s competition, plus a grand final in Madrid with promotion and relegation at stake.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2024.

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