Canada’s rugby sev­ens women hope to im­press on home soil this week­end

Cape Breton Post - - Sports -

Af­ter dis­ap­point­ing fifth- and sixth-place fin­ishes the last two years on home soil, the Cana­dian women’s rugby sev­ens team looks to im­press this week­end in Lang­ford, B.C.

“We chose Lang­ford as the event that we wanted to tar­get,’’ coach John Tait said.

“This year I think we’re just a lit­tle bit more ma­ture as a group,’’ he added. “I think we’re a stronger (squad of) 12 than we’ve ever been. We’ve got more depth across the board even though we’re younger.’’

The first two edi­tions of the home tour­na­ment have been dis­ap­point­ing. Canada went 3-0-0 on Day 1 both times but then lost in the Cup quar­ter­fi­nal.

“Some hard lessons. Hope­fully we’ve learned from them,’’ said Tait. “I think Year 1 we were a bit over-ex­cited and it cost us in the quar­ter-fi­nal against Eng­land (in a 12-5 loss).’’

Tait blames him­self for last year’s quar­ter-fi­nal col­lapse against France, say­ing he took out “the spine of the team’’ some 30 sec­onds too early. The French ral­lied from 12-0 down in the last two min­utes to win 14-12.

Af­ter four of the six events on the World Se­ries cir­cuit, Canada stands third over­all with 64 points be­hind New Zealand (76) and Aus­tralia (66).

Canada, look­ing to be­come the first host na­tion to win an event on the women’s cir­cuit, is in a pool this week­end with No. 5 Rus­sia, No. 7 France and No. 11 Brazil.

De­spite the last-sec­ond loss in the Ja­pan fi­nal, Tait says Canada comes home in fine form.

Lead­ing 14-7 and then 14-12 with un­der 50 sec­onds re­main­ing, Canada’s Jen Kish made an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic mis­take at a Black Ferns restart. Af­ter the en­su­ing scrum, New Zealand’s Michaela Blyde scored in the cor­ner for a 17-14 win.

“We made a lit­tle hard work out of it and then New Zealand showed their class with the two late tries to steal it again from us,’’ Tait said of the Ja­pan fi­nal.

Still Tait says Canada is play­ing “prob­a­bly at a pace we’ve never played be­fore.’’

“It’s a chance to play at home and the girls are re­ally ex­cited to try and bring that form into Lang­ford,’’ he added. In this file photo, Canada’s Jen Kish tack­les Marie Ya­m­aguchi of Ja­pan dur­ing women’s rugby sev­ens ac­tion at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

CP PHOTO

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