Canadian rugby sevens women qualify for Cup quarterfinals in Perth tournament
PERTH, Australia — The Canadian women's rugby sevens team has made the Cup quarterfinals of the HSBC Perth Sevens, bouncing back from a narrow 14-12 loss to Britain to defeat South Africa 26-7 on the first day of play Friday.
Canada's men went 0-2 on the day, beaten 24-7 by South Africa and 29-5 by Argentina.
The Australian event is the third of eight stops on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, which has been rebranded as the HSBC SVNS this season. The next event is the Feb. 23-25 HSBC SVNS Vancouver at B.C. Place Stadium.
Britain’s women upset Series leader Australia 19-12 in a later Pool A game that saw the Australians reduced to six women after Teagan Levi’s red card. The teams were tied at 7-7 when Levi was sent off, two minutes before halftime, for making head-on-head contact in the tackle.
It marked Australia's first defeat on the circuit this season after title wins in Dubai and Cape Town. It was also the first-ever win for Britain over Australia in World Series play. Britain replaced England, Scotland and Wales beginning with the 2023 Series.
Britain previously participated in the Series in 2021 in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
While the British women top Pool A with a game against winless South Africa to come on Day 2, Fiji and France lead the Pool B standings after both won their opening two games. Three-time champion New Zealand also kicked off its defence with an unblemished record.
Friday’s results mean Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United States have secured their quarterfinal places with a game to spare and Brazil, Japan, South Africa and Spain miss out on the women's side.
Asia Hogan-Rochester's try, which saw her split the British defence, gave Canada an early lead in its opener against Britain and the Canadians went ahead again at 12-7 after Krissy Scurfield's converted try midway through the second half. But Isla Norman-Bell's conversion of a late try by Ellie Boatman gave Britain the win.
Scurfield scored two tries and Charity Williams and Hogan-Rochester added singles as Canada downed South Africa. Florence Symonds also saved a try, running down a South African from behind.
Canada finishes pool play Saturday against Australia.
The Canadian men lost 24-7 to South Africa in their opener with Josiah Morra scoring Canada's lone try. Jack Carson scored in a losing cause against Series leader Argentina, which won the event in Cape Town and was runner-up in Dubai.
Argentina's win over Canada featured a late try by Gaston Revol, leaving the veteran Puma just five points short of the 1,000-point milestone in SVNS history.
The Canada men wrap up pool play Saturday against winless Spain.
The Canadian women went to to Perth fifth in the overall standings after placing fourth in Cape Town and sixth in the Series-opening stop in Dubai. Britain stands ninth and South Africa 11th.
The Canadian men stood ninth after finishing 12th in Dubai and seventh in Cape Town.
The slimmed-down sevens circuit features seven regular-season events, each featuring men's and women's competition, plus a grand final with promotion and relegation at stake.
After Vancouver, the teams go to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore before wrapping up in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.
The Canadian women finished ninth overall last season with sixth place in both Vancouver and Hong Kong their best showing.
The men's field has been cut to 12 core teams from 16 to match the women's setup as well as the Olympic competition.
Canada retained its core team status in dramatic fashion, defeating Kenya 12-7 in the relegation playoff final in May in London thanks to a last-minute try by Alex Russell. The Canadian men were forced into the playoff after finishing 14th in the season standings.
The Perth tournament is taking place at HBF Park, where Canada beat Ireland 2-1 at the FIFA Women's World Cup last summer.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2024.