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Canada's men's, women's rugby teams qualify for World Cup

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The Canadian Press
8/26/2012 6:50:56 PM
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OTTAWA -- Both the Canadian men's and women's rugby sevens teams made it their goal to qualify for the 2013 World Cup next June in Moscow.

Both succeeded Sunday.

The women needed to win the final game at the North American Caribbean Rugby Association championship at Twin Elm Rugby Park, which they did, dismantling Trinidad & Tobago 46-0.

The men, meanwhile, only needed to qualify for the final to book their ticket to Russia, but they did one better by winning that championship game with a 26-19 triumph over the United States.

The U.S led early on a converted try by Luke Hume before John Moonlight scored a try for Canada. The try was unconverted however and Canada still trailed 7-5. Two converted tries later though, one by Conor Trainor and a second from Moonlight, and the Canadians led 19-7 at the half.

"It's tough when the last game is 10-minute (halves as opposed to seven) and after a long weekend it's pretty tiring, but we did what we needed to do," Moonlight said.

"My first try was great work by the boys moving it wide. We don't look at it as individuals. The best thing about us is we always look at things as doing them together."

Together is what they needed to be as the U.S. got second-half tries in short order from Carlin Isles and Peter Tiberio, but the second one wasn't converted and the game was tied heading into the dying minutes.

Sean Duke picked up a ball deep in the Canadian end and began the long run that ended in the eventual winning score.

"The field looked gigantic when I first got the ball," Duke said.

"Someone just kind of popped it quickly to me through a guy's arms -- I was a surprised it even went through -- and then I took a few hard steps forward and just played the sweeper from there. I didn't have a lot left. Just enough to get over."

Earlier in the afternoon Canada downed Jamaica 31-0 in their semifinal match right after the United States took care of Mexico 33-7 in that semifinal.

For the women, the two-day event was more like a glorified practice as they ran over their opposition winning all six games by a combined 284-0 scoreline. The closet game was a 39-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago Sunday morning in the final round-robin game.

Canada defeated Mexico 42-0 earlier Sunday afternoon in the second of two semifinals, while Trinidad & Tobago downed Jamaica 22-5 in the other semifinal to advance to the championship game. Canada also became Caribbean champions with that win.

"The big one is that we're going to the World Cup," Canadian coach John Tait said.

"That's good because now we can start making our plans for the next 10 months to make sure that we have a successful campaign and go in strong."

The Canadians took a little longer to get going in the final. They were several minutes into the first half before team captain Jen Kish scored her first of three tries.

"Fatigue builds up over the course of the weekend and when you get into the finals you tend to try and feel each other out, even when you're a favourite like we were," Tait said.

"You play a little apprehensively but I'm not surprised based on the youth we have on the squad."

Five players made their international debut for Canada over the weekend and Tait was pleased with how they integrated. He added they still need to work harder to improve heading towards next June.

"We made five new caps and they stepped into the squad quite seamlessly with little preparation time and did quite well. We did what we set out to do. There are lots of areas we can improve that we could have done better at this weekend. Other teams would make us pay for the mistakes we made."

Julianne Zussman, Arielle Dubisette-Borrice, Mageli Harvey, Bianca Farella, Kayla Moleschi and Julia Greenshields also had tries in the Canadian victory.

Canada Rugby (Photo: Jeff Hull)

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(Photo: Jeff Hull)
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