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Canadian rugby 7s women bounce back with rout of Great Britain, men fall to Fiji

VANCOUVER — Canada's women's rugby sevens team rebounded from an opening match loss to a resounding 38-0 win over Great Britain at the HSBC SVNS stop at B.C. Place on Friday.
Argentina's Santiago Alvarez, left, and Marcos Moneta, right, tackle Canada's David Richard as Josiah Morra watches from behind during Vancouver Sevens rugby action, in Vancouver, on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VANCOUVER — Canada's women's rugby sevens team rebounded from an opening match loss to a resounding 38-0 win over Great Britain at the HSBC SVNS stop at B.C. Place on Friday.

Krissy Scurfield opened the scoring on a breakaway in the first half while Charity Williams had two tries.

Williams scored her second try while performing a somersault after breaking clear of her defender and Piper Logan added to the rout with just over a minute left in the match.

The result means Canada needs to beat Spain on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Canadian lost to France 26-14 to start the tournament earlier on Friday.

"We were disappointed with the result earlier," said coach Jack Henratty after the win.

"We want to be in the top five, the top six teams in this competition. We hold ourselves to that standard."

On the men's side, Canada lost 12-10 to Argentina in their opener followed by a 22-12 loss against Fiji.

Canada shot out to an early lead from Max Stewart against Fiji, only for the Flying Fijians to strike back seconds later from Pilipo Bukayaro.

Canada again took the lead after Thomas Isherwood found a gap in Fiji's defensive line and ran home the try.

Fiji regained the lead and carried it through the second half of the game, capitalizing on a missed pass to score.

"It's a bit of a tough one to swallow," Isherwood said. "We need to finish our tackles."

Head coach Sean White said his team came in with a clear game plan and nearly succeeded in putting it into action.

"We talked about being bold and taking our chances," White said. "We're a team that's looking to learn how to win. I don't think we're going to beat teams in the top three, four, five without being bold."

Against Australia, Canada briefly took the lead courtesy of a try from Jack Carson, assisted by a behind-the-back pass from Vancouver native Phil Berna, but missed both conversion attempts on their tries.

The match marked Berna's 50th rugby sevens tournament, with the Vancouver native speaking earlier in the week about how fortunate he feels to be playing in front of a hometown crowd.

Canada’s best result in Vancouver came back in 2020, when they took home bronze. They have not reached the cup quarterfinals at B.C. Place since 2021.

Argentina has won the last two tournaments in Vancouver, and are aiming to become only the fifth team in SVNS history to win three or more consecutive cup titles in the same country.

The South American side are nearly perfect across 12 games at B.C. Place, with a draw against France in their opening pool match in 2022 denying them a perfect record.

Argentina broke the deadlock with 43 seconds left in the first half with Santiago Mare scoring the try.

Canada responded earlier in the second half after Alex Russell converted after a Canadian breakaway.

But Argentina retook the lead near the end of the match for the victory.

The Canadian men will take on Spain on Saturday.

The women entered the tournament in sixth place, having lost in the quarterfinals of the Perth sevens series stop while the men sit in 11th.

The top ranked Australian women's side is unbeaten in two games at the tournament, besting Japan 12-10 and Fiji 26-12.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press