April 13th, 2024

Canadian women’s squad to compete for third at HSBC SVNS, men finish 12th

By Nick Wells, The Canadian Press on February 25, 2024.

Canada's Sophie De Goede grabs Great Britain's Abi Burton during Vancouver Sevens women's rugby action, in Vancouver, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER – The Canadian women’s rugby sevens squad will play for third place in the HSBC SVNS tournament at B.C. Place after dropping a 15-7 semifinal decision New Zealand on Sunday.

Canada coach Jack Hanratty felt his young side held its own against an experienced Black Ferns squad.

“I thought we matched them physically,” he said. “We have to look at instead of chasing a game, how we can dictate the tempo.”

The Black Ferns started quickly, hemming Canada in and looking for turnovers from rucks.

Michaela Blyde scored twice in the first half to send New Zealand out to an early lead before Krissy Scurfield ran nearly the length of the field to put Canada on the board.

But New Zealand put the game away early in the second half with Portia Woodman-Wickliffe scoring the try.

The experience of playing a historically dominant rugby sevens squad in the later stages of a tournament is good preparation for Canada ahead of the Olympic Games, Hanratty added.

“If we’re going to be Olympic medal contenders this year, if we lose a semifinal we can’t lay down the chips, we have to make sure we bounce back,” he said.

Canada will take on Australia in the third-place match. France will play New Zealand in the final.

In men’s action, the U.S. plays Argentina in one semifinal while New Zealand squares off against France in the other contest.

The Canadian men’s rugby sevens squad finished 12th at the HSBC SVNS at B.C. Place on Sunday after losing 17-12 to Spain in sudden death overtime.

Canada went winless in the tournament on home turf, also losing to Spain in group stage action Saturday. It was the third time in four events this season the Canadian men have recorded a last-place finish.

Elias Hancock opened the scoring for Canada after Thomas Isherwood won a line-in, off-loading to Jack Carson.

Spain countered with Juan Ramos scoring before Carson regained the lead for Canada at the end of the first half.

But the Spanish side tied the score thanks to Francisco Cosculluela before securing the win in overtime.

Once again, Canadian head coach Sean White was happy with the fight shown by his team.

“That’s the response we’re looking for,” he said. “We wanted more grit.

“We’re creating opportunities, we’re just not capitalizing at the moment.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2024.

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