Skip to main content


Canadian women lose Hong Kong 7s quarterfinal while men's losing streak grows

Canada's Carissa Norsten Canada's Carissa Norsten - The Canadian Press

HONG KONG — After winning their pool with three straight wins, the Canadian women ran into a New Zealand buzz saw Saturday in the Cup quarterfinal at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

New Zealand, which stands second in the overall standings after winning the last two stops on the HSBC SVNS circuit, raced to a 21-0 lead before Shalaya Valenzuela scored a late try for Canada. But that's as close as the Canadians would come in dropping a 26-5 decision.

Canada had defeated the No. 4 Americans (12-5), No. 11 Japan (24-5) and No. 12 Spain (14-7) to finish atop Pool C at Hong Kong Stadium.

New Zealand came in as defending champion but finished second in Pool A after a 26-21 upset loss to France.

No. 1 Australia and No. 2 New Zealand meet in one women's semifinal while the No. 4 Americans play No. 3 France in the other.

The Canadians, who came into the tournament fifth overall after five events, will face Fiji on Sunday in the fifth-place playoff.

It was another tough day for the rebuilding Canadian men, who are 12th and last in the standings after collecting a minimum one-point in four of the first five events.

Canada, featuring four Series debutantes on its roster, finished last in Pool A after losses to No. 3 Fiji (45-5), No. 4 France (31-0) and No. 5 Australia (31-0). The Australian team featured Michael Hooper, who won 125 test caps including 69 as captain with the Wallabies 15s side.

Canada found itself in the ninth-place playoff, amazingly against Series leader Argentina.

The high-flying Pumas, who have won three tournaments with one runner-up finish this season, came to Hong Kong with a 20-point lead in the overall standings. But they fell into the consolation bracket after losing 14-10 to the U.S. and 22-0 to New Zealand in pool play.

The Argentines, who lost Series try-scoring leader Marcos Moneta to injury in the U.S. loss, had reached the Cup final in seven of the past eight events dating back to Singapore last season.

The Canadian men showed some good defence against the Pumas but still lost 21-0.

Matteo Graziano opened the scoring, capping an Argentina attack from a scrum near the Canadian try-line that was triggered by a Canadian handling error.

Alfonso Latorre took advantage of a missed Canadian tackle to score from distance early in the second half and Luciana Gonzalez went over in the final minute to complete the win.

The Canadian men have lost 17 straight games since defeating France 33-7 on Dec. 10 to finish seventh in Cape Town. They will look to end that run when they take on No. 9 Britain in the 11th-place playoff.

The men's semifinals are No. 2 Ireland versus No. 4 France and Australia versus No. 6 New Zealand.

After Hong Kong, the teams go to Singapore before wrapping up the season in Madrid from May 31 to June 2.

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.

The men’s and women’s team with the most cumulative points after seven rounds will claim the title of SVNS 2024 League Winners, while the top eight-placed teams earn their place in the new "winner takes all" Grand Final, where the men’s and women’s SVNS champion will be crowned.

Canada's men are headed for a second straight relegation battle to retain their core status on the circuit. After Singapore, the bottom four teams in the SVNS standings and the top four teams from he World Rugby HSBC Sevens Challenger competitions.

The relegation competition in Madrid will determine the remaining four HSBC SVNS core teams.

The results in Hong Kong mean Ireland, Fiji, France, Australia and New Zealand have joined Argentina in confirming their places at the grand final in Madrid. South Africa can also secure a spot in Spain if its beat Fiji in the fifth-place playoff.

Canada, the U.S., Ireland and Fiji have joined Australia, New Zealand and France in confirming their places at the women's final in Madrid. The eighth and final spot will be decided in Singapore.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2024