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Langford-Based Canadian Teams Continue to Improve in Rugby Sevens

Langford-Based Canadian Teams Continue to Improve in Rugby Sevens

The Langford-based Canadian men’s and women’s rugby teams are showing glimmers as the days get closer to the 2024 Summer Olympics. The women’s team has already qualified and is preparing for Paris while the men’s team is readying for the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament next year.

The journey continued with the Canadian women sixth and Canadian men seventh as the HSBC World Series Cape Town Sevens concluded Sunday in South Africa.

Both Canadian teams reached the quarter-finals. The Canadian men lost 33-0 to Argentina in their quarter-final match-up Sunday against the eventual Cape Town tournament champions before beating France 33-17 in the consolation round as Victoria players Lachlan Kratz and Jack Carson scored two tries each. Kratz also hit on four of five converts to finish with 18 points in the game.

Canada had gone 2-1 in pool play with notable victories over Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist New Zealand and always-tough Samoa.

“Could not be more proud of the resilience and attitude in this group,” Canadian head coach Sean White of Victoria said in a statement.

“These wins are not due to chance or luck. They’re a reflection of the daily training environment the players have created back home [at Starlight Stadium]. Down to 10 men in that last game versus France, we had players who have been backs for years moving into the forwards and getting the job done when it matters the most. A strong step forward for this group. Stay tuned.”

The Canadian women’s team was defeated 41-0 by defending Tokyo Olympics champion New Zealand in the quarter-finals but were competitive in a 19-17 loss in the last minute to Tokyo Olympics bronze-medallist Fiji.

The Canadian women got two tries against Fiji from University of Victoria Vikes players Krissy Scurfield, the second Vikes player in the tournament along with Carissa Norsten. Caroline Crossley of Oak Bay also scored a try against Fiji as did Charity Williams, the latter the last remaining player on the team from the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze-medallist squad.

The Canadian women placed fourth last weekend in the season-opening HSBC World Series Emirates Dubai Sevens,

“Over the last two stops we were able to prove that we can compete with the world’s best, as we strive to be one of the world’s best. Overall I am happy with some of the performances. What we need to continue to strive to work on is consistency,” Canadian head coach Jack Hanratty said in a statement.

“[Dubai and Cape Town] were the first two steps of a long campaign.”

The Canada women’s team earned its spot in the 2024 Paris Olympics by winning the North American and Caribbean qualifying tournament held over the summer at Starlight Stadium. Canada followed up by taking the silver medal last month in the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. Nine players from the Pan Am Games team were in Dubai and Cape Town, including Scurfield and Norsten.

The Canadian men’s team, 12th last week in Dubai, had taken eight of the 2023 Santiago Pan Am Games bronze medallists to the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments. The Canada squad, preparing for the last-chance qualifier next year for the Paris Olympics, featured Island players Kratz, Carson and Will Percillier.

The next stop on the 2023-24 HSBC World Series season will be the Perth Sevens in Australia from Jan. 26-28. The Canada Sevens runs Feb. 23-25 at B.C. Place.

Langford-based Canadian sevens teams continue to improve – Victoria Times Colonist

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