Canadian women take Vegas 7s title
Published Monday, February 14, 2011 7:00 am
by Jeff Hull, Rugby Canada

Canada's women's sevens squad won the Las Vegas Invitational with a 17-12 victory over the Netherlands. Quebec's Megali Harvey scored a crucial try to break a 12-12 tie and give Canada the title. Ghislaine Landry of Montreal and Vancouver's Mandy Marchak also scored tires for Canada in the victory, that saw the women play in front of 25,000 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

As Canada and The Netherlands took the field in front of tens of thousands of fans at Sam Boyd Stadium, the passion that both teams were going to bring to this battle was obvious.  As a display of the talent present in women's world rugby, this contest did not disappoint.

Rugby sevens is a game that most associate with open and fluid play; and while this match would have its share of impressive running, it became clear early on that the result was going to be decided by the team that could dominate possession.  The players seemed to sense how crucial each possession would be, and both teams began committing two, three or even four players to rucks, leaving huge amount of  potentially open space, for the victor of the gruelling battles.

The first break came mid-way through the first-half as Ghislaine Landry sliced through the Dutch defence, and touched down under the posts.  She was able to convert her own try, and Canada led 7 - 0, in what would be a see-saw battle to the very end.

The Netherlands would soon add their own score, off of a Canadian missed tackle, but it was not long after that Canada's Captain Mandy Marchak would respond.   After a series of fiercely fought rucks, which brought Canada to within ten meters of the enemy line, Marchak was able to touch down to make the score 12 - 7 heading into half-time.

The Netherlands scored first in the second-half, which is when the forward battles around the breakdown began to become unusually viscous.  The two teams traded turnovers, and bodies began to litter the pitch at Sam Boyd Stadium.  Then, with only seconds remaining in the match, a Canadian backline move found Quebec's Magali Harvey, who had played a sensational match.  The young winger touched down in the corner, to make the score 17 - 12.   Canada were tournament champions.

This is surely a statement of the power and ability possessed by Canada's women rugby players, and the systems that produce them.

We spoke to Canada's Captain Mandy Marchak after she had collected the championship trophy for her team.

"This was an incredible week for Canada's women's program.  It wasn't just us (the team that won the title), people need to know that there were close 50 girls behind, who worked just as hard this week and improved just as much.

I'm so proud of everyone here!"

Canada Tries: Landry, Marchak, Harvey
Canada Cons: Landry

Final Score: Canada (17) - The Netherlands (12)

Canada Line-Up:
1. Mandy Marchak (c)
2. Brittany Waters
3. Kelly Russell
4. Ashley Patzer
5. Cheryl Phillips
6. Ghislaine Landry
7. Magali Harvey
8. Andrea Burk
9. Barbara Mervin
10. Jen Kish
11. Laura Stoughton
12. Shannon Kane

Head Coach: John Tait
Manager: Kristy Martin Hale
Strength Coach: Maria Gallo
Therapist: Laura Libby
Therapist: Nicole Ainsworth

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