Content sourced from World Rugby and Rugby Canada
Kitakyushu, JP – April 21, 2019: An undefeated Canadian Women’s Sevens team managed to pull out a win on the final play of the Cup Finals against England, edging the game by 7-5 to top the podium at the Kitakyushu Sevens in Japan. This was the team’s first tournament win since Sydney in the 2016/17 Season and fourth since the inception of the World Sevens Women’s Series in 2012/13.
The scoreline was the lowest of any final in the history of the series, but the crowd was far from bored as England and Canada battled it out for glory. England were in their first Cup Final since 2016 and had held a 5-0 as the clock slowly ticked down. However, Canada remained defiant, keeping the ball alive into extra time, displaying excellent teamwork and awareness. Captain Ghislaine Landry, playing in her 30th series tournament, spied a gap and hit the boosters, catching the tiring England defence off guard and charged over the line to score a try. She had to compose herself immediately in order to take the vital conversion kick, which she slotted home with ease before embracing her teammates.
Canada’s victory has moved them up to second place in the series standings with 66 points, now only six behind New Zealand who finished fifth in Kitakyushu. It puts them on a massive high as the team flies back to home soil and prepares for the Canada Women’s Sevens at Langford on May 11-12. The team have yet to win their home event, making it to the final in 2016/17 only to be denied by New Zealand.
With the top four teams in the series to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the significance of this success was not lost on Landry, HSBC Player of the Final, with Canada now sitting 20 points clear of France with only two rounds remaining.
“It’s huge, we know that [Olympic qualification] is what it is all about. That is our main goal this season and to get a Cup final on top of that is a good feeling,” Landry said.
“It was such a fight, time is up and the girls kept their composure and to be able to finish that off feels pretty great. Everything we threw at them they had an answer for, so testament to England, they had a great weekend and gave us everything they had in that final. Sevens is such a hard game and in the last play of the last game it is a bit of a battle of the mind and we came out on top in that.”
Coach John Tait added: “Our goal for this season was to come top four and take one of those Olympic qualifier spots so we took a massive step towards that this weekend and that is just what we are going to keep focusing on.
“We will look to perform better, I don’t think we hit our stride fully in this tournament and that is encouraging as we won. If we can put our attack together with some of the defence we played I think that is a lot of positives to come.”
The penultimate round of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series 2019 takes place in Langford in Victoria, Canada, on 11-12 May.
Get your tickets for the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens now at https://www.canadasevens.com/womens/tickets/
Canada vs. Spain
Canada came out on top in their first match of the day against Spain, winning 26-17.
Striking first for Canada was Kaili Lukan, getting the pass on the wing from Bianca Farella and running it in for the try and Ghislaine Landry adding on the conversion. Spain scored twice before the halfs end, putting them up by 3 at the break.
Showing off her incredible pace in the second half, Charity Williams was unstoppable running in for Canada’s second try of the match. Britt Benn followed that up with a try of her own after some excellent ball movement from Canada. At the final play of the match Spain’s line out was picked off by Farella and she ran it in for the try. Landry added on two conversions in the second, giving Canada the victory.
Canada vs. China
Canada won in dominate fashion against China in their second game of the tournament, taking the match 42-19.
Starting off the scoring was Karen Paquin who made her first return to the National Sevens squad since Rio 2016. Charity Williams showed why she is such a deadly force, getting the ball on the outside and easily beating her defender for the try. It was then Keyara Wardley, who started for Canada to win her first cap and slipped through the line to score her first series try. Despite a surge of pressure from China late in the half, Canada was up at the break with Landry making all three conversions.
After Williams second try of the match, Bianca Farella subbed in and went right to work–scoring back to back tries to widen Canada’s lead. Breanne Nicholas added on the three conversions to give Canada the win, 42-19.
Canada vs. Australia
Canada picked up a big win against Australia to come out first in their pool, winning 17-14.
Canada’s leading try scorer Bianca Farella opened the scoring early in the match to set the tone. Karen Paquin showed her dominance at the ruck turning the ball over and eventually getting it back in her hands for a try. Canada led by three at the break.
A Canadian error put the ball in Australian hands and they capitalized to put them in the lead. It was a heads up play by Kaili Lukan, seeing no support on the Australian ruck, grabbing and going over the try line. The score pushed Canada past Australia and the convert by Landry gave Canada the match 17-14.
Canada vs. Russia
Canada came out on top in a close match against Russia, winning 17-14.
Captain Ghislaine Landry showed off her skill on Canada’s first possesion of the game. A fumbled Russian ball was kicked ahead by Landry, who picked it up off the bounce and ran it in for a try. Following that up was Charity Williams who broke through two tackles and powered over the try line to score.
In the second half, Caroline Crossley started the drive for Canada off the restart, finding Britt Benn who charged ahead a hit Karen Paquin on the inside for the try. Russia put themselves within 3 but a costly yellow card in the dying seconds of the match secured the game for Canada.
Canada vs. USA
Canada delivered the first loss of the weekend to USA, defeating them 24-12 to move on to the cup finals.
Starting things off was Canada’s top scorers showing their skill. A perfectly kicked grubber by Ghislaine Landry was scooped up by Bianca Farella and ran in for the score. Following that up was a quick try by Julia Greenshields, getting the pass from Karen Paquin. Landry made both conversions to put Canada up at the break.
In the second Farella notched her second try of the match, moving quickly off of a USA penalty to score. Then it was all the captain Landry as she had a great step to get past the USA line and burn it over 50m down field for the try. The very physical match ended in favour of Canada, 24-12.
Canada vs. England- Cup Finals
Canada took down England in absolute thrilling fashion to win gold at the Kitakyushu Sevens, taking the match 7-5.
It was a hard fought battle with a series of errors in the first half giving possession to England. Some strong defensive covers by Canada but England managed to break through and get on the board in the first half.
In the second, Canada came smashing ahead but the English line stayed strong and made some big try-saving stops. On the final play of the match, Kaili Lukan found herself with ball in hand on the far wing. A skip pass looked like it might have been knocked on by Britt Benn but there was no call. Ghislaine Landry scooped it up and darted in for a try under the sticks. Landry showed why she’s the all-time leading scorer, making the conversion to give Canada the win.
Landry came out of her 30th tournament the HSBC Player of the Final. This cup win in Japan marks Canada’s first since 2017.
Canada will now head into their home tournament at the HSBC Canada Women’s Sevens in Langford, BC on May 11 & 12th. Get your tickets now to see second-ranked Canada battle it out to secure Olympic qualification and top the podium once again–this time on home soil: https://www.canadasevens.com/womens/tickets/