Canada’s Women’s and Men’s Sevens Teams both opened with big wins and closed with tight losses on day two of HSBC Canada Sevens 2023.
Five different players scored for Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team in their final Pool C match against Brazil, starting with Chloe Daniels in the fifth minute of play. A try and a conversion from Olivia Apps put Canada up 12-0 at the break. Bianca Farella further increased Canada’s lead early in the second half, which was followed up by tries from Fancy Bermudez and Piper Logan and two more conversions from Apps. This was Logan’s first career World Rugby Sevens Series try. Brazil scored their only try of the game in the final minute of play, with Canada taking the win 31-7.
“We just came in with a different intensity,” Bermudez said of Canada’s game plan. “We wanted to play aggressive and excited, and we wanted to get the crowd up.”
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team faced Chile in their last game in Pool D. Josiah Morra hit a milestone 200 career World Rugby Sevens Series points with his first of two tries in the third minute of play. Matthew Percillier also scored twice, his third and fourth tries of the tournament, and Lockie Kratz kicked four clean conversions. Up 28-0 in the thirteenth minute, Chile got on the board with a try from Baltazar Jana and conversion from Luca Strabucchi. Canada responded with another seven points in the final minute of play to win 35-7, with Thomas Isherwood offloading the ball to Jake Thiel for the try.
“We knew we had to fix some of the errors from yesterday’s matches,” said Morra. “After having a tough loss against Ireland, we came together as a whole and knew we had to bounce back for the home crowd, but also for ourselves. We were able to do that and bring it to Australia and thankfully we were able to take every opportunity we were given, [which we did] also today against Chile.”
Finishing third in Pool C, Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team qualified for the quarter finals and faced New Zealand, the winner of the last three World Rugby Sevens Series stops. New Zealand struck twice in the first half to go up 10-0, but Canada effectively held them at bay for the remainder of the game. Keyara Wardley scored for Canada in minute eleven, as the team continued to pressure New Zealand in the final minutes. New Zealand won by a score of 10-5, but the crowd gave the Canadians a standing ovation as they left the field.
“We’ve had four games now and I think we’ve underperformed in one and we’ve been a score away in two others,” said Head Coach Jack Hanratty. “New Zealand is the best team in the world, and we love playing against them because it means that we have to elevate what our normalcy is. Today I thought we really looked after the ball in the New Zealand game considering just how much pressure they do put on defence.”
“It was a super gutsy performance, we put all we had out there,” said Krissy Scurfield. “Our biggest takeaways are just that we’re building, and that’s a huge confidence boost, that we can stay in such a tight game against a high ranked team.”
Canada’s Men’s Sevens Team finished third in Pool D, meeting Spain in the ninth place quarter finals. Jack Carson struck first for Canada with a conversion from Lockie Kratz, but Spain responded with three tries and two conversions, leading 19-7 by minute nine. Percillier and Morra continued to make an impact on the field for Canada, with Percillier offloading the ball to Morra for Canada’s second try. With a conversion from Isherwood, they closed the gap, but Spain took the win 19-14.
“We didn’t stick to our game plan in the beginning, we sort of let them in the game,” said Alex Russell. “It’s a pretty crazy game, sevens. You can go from feeling like you’ll be in the top bracket to suddenly now you’re playing for thirteenth place. It’s part of the job and now we’ve got to learn from our mistakes and move on and look ahead to the next game. We’ve showed real growth, we’re really building as a team. We’ve just got to fine tune those little details, and I’m confident we can pull it all together.”