Canada’s women’s sevens team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Dubai Sevens after finishing a perfect 3-0 on day one of the Dubai Sevens, the opening leg in the 2016-17 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series
Canada opened the Dubai Sevens with an important 26-19 win over Olympic hosts Brazil. Julia Greenshields scored in the third minute to give Canada their first try of the 2016-17 season, while the conversion from captain Ghislaine Landry gave the Canadians a 7-0 lead. After Brazil cut the lead to 7-5, Natasha Watcham-Roy touched down with a try while Landry added her second conversion of the half. A minute later it was Kayla Moleschi scoring Canada’s third try of the half and the Olympic bronze medalists held a 19-5 lead at the break. That’s when the Brazilians turned the match on its head, scoring two second half tries in three minutes to make it a 19-19 game with two minutes two play. However, Charity Williams scored in the final minute to give the Canadians a much needed win.
Canada came out much more polished in their second match of the day, winning comfortably 27-7 over Spain. Bianca Farella opened the scoring with a try in the second minute after a nice show of hands from the Canadians. Canadian captain Ghislaine Landry added another score just before half to give Canada a 10-0 lead at the break. Unlike the first match of the day, there would be no letdown from the Canadians in the second half.. Canada used a clean restart to find Charity Williams whose pace on the outside was too much for the Spanish defence and Canada found themselves up 15-0 just moments into the half. While Spain planted some doubt in the minds of Canadians after a converted try cut the lead to 15-7, it was Canada answering with back-to-back tries from Julia Greenshields.
That victory setup a match with England for top spot in the pool. After going down 5-0 early in the match, Canada dominated play from that point on. Canada quickly took over the lead through a converted Hannah Darling try while Kayla Moleschi tacked on another try just before half to give the Canadians a 12-5 lead at the break. With Canada continuing to play strong defense, they were able to catch England on the counter. Moleschi’s touched down with her second try of the match and then it was Breanne Nicholas, picking up her first career World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series try with a great individual effort deep inside the England 22-metre line. With Canada’s win secured, England added a last-second try.
While some rust was showing in their opening match against the Brazilians, Canada looked quite polished by the end of the day, controlling a talented England squad to come away with a pool-clinching 24-12 win. It is the 21st straight tournament Canada has advanced to a series quarterfinal. They play Russia on Friday.
“It was a bit of a rough start in the morning but we’ve been building over the three games so that’s good,” said Captain Ghislaine Landry.“We talked about what we didn’t do well this morning and we wanted to build over the day and that’s what we did. A little bit of pride in our defense, we were pretty disappointed with the way we were tackling in that first game and that was a big one.”
“A lot of these girls have been in the program for a couple of years and just getting the opportunity to get on the field is great. A lot of them have a ton of skills and they’ve been competing against our top players so they’re good athletes.”
“We have a bit of a rivalry with (England) and every game is anybody’s, so it feels good to come out and put on another performance.”
Canada’s Roster for Dubai Sevens (Name, club, hometown):
Britt Benn – Guelph Redcoats (Napanee, ON)
Hannah Darling – Peterborough Pagans (Warsaw, ON)
Bianca Farella – Town of Mont Royal (Montreal, QC)
Julia Greenshields – Sarnia Saints (Sarnia, ON)
Sara Kaljuvee – Toronto Scottish (Ajax, ON)
Ghislaine Landry – Toronto Scottish (Toronto, ON)
Megan Lukan – Unattached (Barrie, ON)
Kayla Moleschi – Williams Lake Rustlers (Williams Lake, BC)
Breanne Nicholas – London St. Georges (Blenheim, ON)
Ashley Steacy – Lethbridge Rugby Club (Lethbridge, AB)
Natasha Watcham-Roy – Hull Volant (Gatineau, QC)
Charity Williams – Markham Irish (Toronto, ON)
Canada’s Coaching Staff:
Meaghan Howat – Manager
John Tait – Head Coach
Sandro Fiorino – Assistant Coach
Morgan Williams – Assistant Coach
Canada’s Dubai Sevens Schedule:
Day 1 – December 1
Canada 26-19 Brazil
Canada 27-7 Spain
Canada 24-12 England
Day 2 – December 2
Cup QF – Canada vs Russia at 12:22am ET/9:22pm PT