Canadians face tough road in rugby sevens at Tokyo Olympics


The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team will land in the deep end of the Tokyo Olympics, defeating Britain’s Rio 2016 finalist, before facing defending Olympic champion Fiji later today.

The Canadian men’s rugby sevens team will land in the deep end of the Tokyo Olympics, defeating Britain’s Rio 2016 finalist, before facing defending Olympic champion Fiji later today.

The games on July 26 will be the second and eighth of the day. Host Japan kick off the men’s competition against Fiji, who beat Great Britain 43-7 to win gold at the Rio 2016 Games.

The Canadian men finish their Group B match against Japan in the opener on July 27. The Japanese were fourth in Rio, beaten 54-14 by South Africa.

The two best teams from each of the three pools as well as the two best finalists at third pace qualify for the quarterfinals.

The Canadians, who won bronze in Rio, will start on July 29 against Brazil before facing Fiji. They finish the group B match the next day against France.

The Australians won gold in Rio, beating New Zealand 24-17. Canada won the bronze medal with a 33-10 victory over Great Britain.

The Olympic seven-way draw was previously announced. On Wednesday, the tournament program was unveiled.

The rugby sevens competition will last six days in total, with the men’s medals awarded on July 28 and the women’s medals on July 31. The match will take place at the Tokyo Stadium, which hosted matches for the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Modern football and pentathlon will also use the 48,000-seat venue.

Tokyo marks the first Olympic appearance for Canadian men.

The men qualified in July 2019, after going undefeated at the Rugby Americas North Sevens tournament in the Cayman Islands. With the United States already qualifying due to their position in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series rankings, Canada eliminated Bermuda (twice), Barbados, Mexico, Guyana and Jamaica by a combined score from 293-15.

Canada’s men placed eighth in the World Series standings after placing third in March 2020 at the Canada Sevens in Vancouver, the last tournament to take place before the Series was interrupted by the pandemic. New Zealand topped the series standings ahead of South Africa and Fiji.

The Canadians were tied with Australia in points behind the leader New Zealand in the overall standings. The Canadians finished on the podium in four of the five women’s events that took place before the close, with three second places and a third.

France, Fiji and Brazil, Canada’s first opponents in Tokyo, are ranked fourth, seventh and twelfth respectively.

The two Canadian teams have had little competition in recent months other than the Emirates Invitational Sevens, played over two weekends in Dubai in April. The women won the tournament on the first weekend while the men placed fifth. In the second tournament, both teams finished second.

The Canadian women’s team includes six players who were in Rio: Landry, Britt Benn, Bianca Farella, Kayla Moleschi, Karen Paquin and Charity Williams. And Kaili Lukan is the younger sister of Megan Lukan, who was part of the Rio team.

The women’s preparations for the Games were cut short by the team’s formal complaint under Rugby Canada’s harassment and bullying policy in January. Longtime coach John Tait resigned in April following an independent review that while the conduct described in the complaint reflected the experiences of the athletes, it did not fall within the definition of harassment or bullying. politics.

Australian Mick Byrne has taken over as coach. Former England rugby sevens star Henry Paul is in charge of the Canadian men.

New Zealand, the United States and Australia joined the Canadians in qualifying for the Tokyo peloton thanks to their performance at the World Series. Great Britain, China, Fiji, Kenya and Brazil joined host Japan via a regional qualifier while France and Russia qualified via the recent Olympic draft tournament in Monaco.

On the men’s side, Fiji, the United States, New Zealand and South Africa have qualified thanks to their performances at the World Series. Canada, Argentina, Australia, Great Britain, Kenya and South Korea joined Japan in regional qualifiers. Ireland qualified via the draft.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 7, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press


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