Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Women's Recap of Hong Kong 7s, Look at Guangzhou 7s, and What's Going on with Eagles Women?

Hong Kong 7s also hosted a women's invitational tournament last weekend as a warm up for the iRB Women's Sevens World Series stop in Guangzhou, China this weekend. Canada won the championship, continuing their dominant play and commitment to developing their 7s side. The women's invitational also featured France, Hong Kong, Brazil, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Papua New Guinea, Japan, China, Singapore, Kenya and South Africa. South Africa had played on a few of the iRB WSWS stops last year, even advancing to the Dubai 7s finals, but has been absent from the tournaments on the 2013-2014 circuit. It's great to see them back in the mix, especially taking 3rd over a skilled and discipline Japan side.

Photo: Ian Muir on Rugby Canada website

Notably absent despite the opportunity to have our team with 2 new crossover athletes in the mix, veterans missing, and the chance to better acclimate to time/climate changes: the USA.

Our women's sevens team has not been playing well this iRB series and by opting out of these tournaments is only falling further behind when it comes to development and cohesion. Our squad for China has 2 players completely new to rugby 7s and time on the pitch to give them the decision making opportunities facing opposition, the timing on runs is key. We saw this issue with our other crossover Jessica Javelet in Atlanta. She is mighty fast and a relentless defender, but there were times her raw ability couldn't make up for her lack of rugby experience when it came to angles and timing.

Plus the Guangzhou 7s roster lacks the leadership of longtime veteran Christy Ringgenberg. Wouldn't a warm up tournament be just thing to work the kinks out and help identify player roles? Especially when our pool includes Canada, Russia and France? Barring a tremendous upset (Canada and Russia sit in 3rd and 4th place respectively), this looks to be another weekend where the USA hopes for point differential magic to make the Cup round.

The Series only looks to get more challenging as the European sides will be at full strength with 6 Nations done; Ireland should benefit the most from having more rugby players available for selections. We also see 2009 World Cup winner Nicole Beck return to Australia's team, New Zealand has Honey Hireme returning  and three players added to England's squad for this weekend. Fiji is a bit of an unknown but this iRB feature indicates they will soon be a team on par with their championship winning men's side. Brazil has also been pegged as a future threat by no less than 7s star Ben Gollings.

I'm hoping the Women's Eagles 7s team can find winning form in their pool play rounds this weekend and clearly advance to the Cup. The team is full of hard working, dedicated athletes that are fit and capable of play. I just wish that our women had more games under their belts and more development opportunities on par with our men's programs.

Further frustrating in regards to the lack of equality is that the Boys' High School All Americans competed in Rosslyn Park 7s in England over the weekend. This is after sending two sides to the Las Vegas Invitational. I have never seen a girls' equivalent program, much less even one HSJAA girl's 7s team, compete anywhere. Additionally, USA Rugby is hosting a Men's All Star tournament in June and sending squads to a Men's World Club Sevens in August; I'd imagine 2 Collegiate All American sides will be entered once again at the Serevi Rugby Town Sevens in Glendale, CO in August as well. Women don't have these chances.

When you click on the USA Rugby website today (April 1st, 1pm CST if you're keeping track) every story is about the men save one photo of girls playing in a post about the NCS series. Every single game/result on the webpage is about men's rugby. All the headlines and "latest results" are men's rugby. There's a feature on D1A rugby - men's collegiate - even though women's colleges are also in season. Girls high school rugby is in season. Our women's national team is in season. You would have no idea that our women are competing in the World Cup THIS YEAR with a Can-Am tournament preceding it, and you wouldn't know to dig for the hidden and infrequently updated Final in '14 blog unless you're a real women's rugby diehard. There are articles about the men's 7s performances from this weekend but nothing on the main page about Guangzhou 7s this weekend.
If girls and women are going to #tryonrugby and compete strongly in future Olympics/World Cups, we need to give them as many opportunities to play as possible and this *still* is not happening. We need more press and support from our national office to bring awareness of the women's game to the forefront. The only way to get better at rugby is to play more rugby, and the only way to increase knowledge of our women's game is to showcase it with the media as best we can.

Here are the Hong Kong 7s results and the recap from Rugby Canada:

2014 HKWR7 Schedule

Pool Stage Fixtures & Results
DateTimeMatch No.StageFixture
Fri08:301PoolACanada 19 - 5 Hong Kong
Fri08:502PoolBBrazil 19 - 0 Papua New Guinea
Fri09:103PoolCFrance 35 - 0 Kenya
Fri09:304PoolDIreland 31 - 0 Singapore
Fri09:505PoolAKazahkstan 12 - 7 Hong Kong
Fri10:106PoolBSouth Africa 29 - 0 Papua New Guinea
Fri10:307PoolCChina 24 - 7 Kenya
Fri10:508PoolDJapan 36 - 7 Singapore
Fri11:109PoolACanada 33 - 0 Kazahkstan
Fri11:3010PoolBBrazil 7 - 19 South Africa
Fri11:5011PoolCFrance 19 - 19 China
Fri12:1012PoolDIreland 12 - 27 Japan
Knock Out Stage Fixtures and Results
DateTimeMatch No.StageFixture
Fri13:3013B-SFHong Kong 50 - 0 Singapore
Fri13:5014B-SFKenya 12 - 5 Papua New Guinea
Fri14:1015P-SFKazahkstan 24 - 14 Ireland
Fri14:3016P-SFChina 19 - 12 Brazil
Fri14:5017C-SFCanada 38 - 0 Japan
Fri15:1018C-SFFrance 19 - 5 South Africa
Fri15:5019B11/1Singapore 5 - 22 Papua New Guinea
Fri16:1020B-FHong Kong 33 - 7 Kenya
Fri16:3021P-7/8Ireland 7 - 20 Brazil
Fri16:5022P-FKazahkstan 12 - 7 China
Fri17:1023C-3/4Japan 10 - 28 South Africa
Fri19:5224C-FCanada 24 - 0 France

And the recap from Rugby Canada:

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - Submitted by Bryan Kelly
Canada's Women's Sevens Team electrified a near-sold out Hong Kong Stadium on Friday night by defeating France 24-0 to capture back-to-back Hong Kong Invitational Sevens Championships. 

GAME ONE: Canada 19 - 5 Hong Kong

Canada's Women's Sevens Team opened the 2014 Hong Kong Invitational with a 19-5 victory over the hosts, Hong Kong. Canada jumped out to an early lead when Ghislaine Landry broke through three would-be tacklers to score under the posts. After an Ashley Steacy conversion, Canada led 7-0.

Captain Jen Kish was next to touch down, as she took a pass from Bianca Farella and ran 60 metres to further Canada's lead. Steacy added another conversion.

In the second half, Farella finished off a Canadian scoring play to bring the score to 19-0. Hong Kong, supported by a loud home crowd, got on the board with a late try, but Canada's defense held on to open the tournament with a win.

GAME TWO: Canada 33 - 0 Kazakhstan

Canada continued their dominant efforts in their second game of the Hong Kong Invitational by defeating Kazakhstan 33-0.

Tries were scored by Mandy Marchak, Kayla Moleschi, Nikki Case, Karen Paquin and captain Jen Kish, while Ashley Steacy added four conversions.

GAME THREE: Canada 38 - 0 Japan

John Tait's Canada side has advanced to the Hong Kong Invitational Sevens Finals after defeating Japan 38-0 in the semi-finals.

Mandy Marchak and Karen Paquin each scored two tries and Ashley Steacy added another in the dominant victory.

CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: Canada 24 - 0 France

Canada won their second consecutive Hong Kong Invitational Sevens Title by defeating France 24-0 in front of a nearly sold-out crowd at Hong Kong Stadium. The game took place during a break in the action during the Men's HSBC Sevens World Series tournament.

Captain Jen Kish scored first for Canada under the posts after taking a brilliant offload from Kayla Moleschi. Ashley Steacy slotted the conversion before adding her own try in the left corner.

Speedster Bianca Farella burned two defenders to further Canada's lead with another try before Hanna Darling, who was playing in her first tournament for Canada, iced the victory with a tally of her own.

Canada will now move on to Guangzhou, China for next weekend's Women's Sevens World Series stop. 

Make sure to follow Rugby Canada on Social Media for up-to-the-minute information.

Hong Kong Sevens kick off times

Friday, March 28
Canada 19 - 5 Hong Kong 
Canada 33 - 0 Kazakhstan

Canada 38 - 0 Japan

Cup Final
Canada 24 - 0 France

All games from the Hong Kong Sevens will be streamed LIVE at http://en.hirugby.com/hirugby-live-streaming/

Canada’s Women’s Roster for Hong Kong and China Sevens:

Nikki Case, (Yeoman Lions) Toronto, ON
Hannah Darling - (Peterborough Pagans RFC/Shawnigan Lake School) Warsaw, ON
Bianca Farella, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
Julia Greenshields, (Sarnia Saints) Sarnia, ON
Sara Kaljuvee (Toronto Scottish RFC) Ajax, ON
Jennifer Kish, (Edmonton Rockers RFC) Edmonton, AB (Captain)
Ghislaine Landry, (Toronto Scottish RFC) Toronto, ON
Mandy Marchak, (Capilano RFC) Winnipeg, MB
Kayla Moleschi, (Williams Lake Rustlers) Williams Lake, BC
Karen Paquin, (Club de Rugby Quebec) Quebec City, QC
Kelly Russell, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
Ashley Steacy, (Lethbridge Rugby Club) Lethbridge, AB

Canada’s Women’s Sevens Staff

Head Coach: John Tait
Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino
Performance Analyst: Ben Herring
Physiotherapist: Adrienne Stinson
Strength and Conditioning: Tyler Goodale
Manager: Meaghan Howat 

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