May 26th, 2024

Canadian teams learn draw for final HSBC SVNS regular-season stop in Singapore

By Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press on April 18, 2024.

Canada's Krissy Scurfield, right, takes down New Zealand's Risi Pouri-Lane as Canada's Olivia Apps, left, and Caroline Crossley watch during Vancouver Sevens women's rugby semifinal action, in Vancouver, on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

Fifth-ranked Canada has been drawn with No. 1 New Zealand, No. 7 Ireland and No. 12 Spain in Pool A in women’s play at the Singapore Sevens.

The draw for the May 3-5 tournament at Singapore National Stadium took place Thursday at Singapore Changi Airport.

The 12th-ranked Canadian men, who are facing a relegation battle, find themselves in a tough neighbourhood again in Pool A alongside No. 1 Argentina, No. 5 New Zealand and No. 6 Australia.

Singapore is the last of seven regular-season events on the slimmed-down sevens circuit, each featuring men’s and women’s competition, plus a grand final with promotion and relegation at stake.

The men’s and women’s team with the most cumulative points after seven rounds claim the title of HSBC SVNS 2024 League Winners, while the top eight-placed teams earn their place in the new “winner takes all” grand final in Madrid May 31 to June 2 when the men’s and women’s champion will be crowned.

The relegation bracket in Madrid, featuring the bottom four teams in the SVNS standings and the top four from the World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger series, will determine the remaining four HSBC SVNS core teams.

The rebuilding Canadian men have collected a minimum one-point in five of the first six events. They have now have lost 20 straight games since defeating France 33-7 on Dec. 10 to finish seventh in Cape Town.

But Singapore holds a special place in Canadian rugby sevens history. The Canadian men, under then-coach Damian McGrath, won the tournament in 2017, their first Cup win in 140 events on the circuit.

The Canadian women, whose best result of the season so far was a third in Vancouver, are coming off a sixth-place finish in Hong Kong. They have already confirmed their place in the Madrid grand final along with Australia, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States. The final spot will be decided in Singapore with eighth-place Britain currently holding a two-point lead over Brazil.

The Canadian men were 12th in Hong Kong, beaten 26-17 by Britain in the 11th-place playoff.

Argentina, Australia, Fiji, France, Ireland, New Zealand and South Africa have already qualified for the men’s grand final. The U.S. currently eighth, will look to join them with a good performance in Singapore.

New Zealand’s men and women both lifted trophies in Hong Kong.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X platform, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.

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