Canada leaves Gold Coast without rugby 7s medal — and looking for consistency
Canadian women fall short in rally from 19-point deficit, lose bronze-medal match to England
GOLD COAST, Australia — The Canadian women's rugby sevens team will leave the Commonwealth Games without a medal after falling 24-19 to England in the bronze-medal match on Sunday.
The English ran out to an early 12-0 lead while Canadian captain Ghislaine Landry was in the sin bin with a yellow card.
Landry was emotional after the game, wiping away tears as she told reporters her teammates refused to quit.
"We're disappointed, the first minute of the game, they go up two tries, and for the girls to claw back like that, it's a heck of an effort," Landry says, her voice breaking. "You can be proud of that."
Down 19-0, Bianca Farrella came on in substitution to get the Canadians on the scoreboard before the end of the first half, but still trailed by 14.
Canada came close to tying the game near the end of the second half but a dropped pass attempt by Charity Williams allowed the English side to escape with the win, and the podium result.
"I'm proud of the way the girls showed some character to come back and to have a shot at winning at the end," Tait says. "We won't let one tournament define who we are."
Different start, same finish
Their semifinal match against Australia had the opposite type of start for the Canadians — but the same result. Landry opened the scoring with a try and conversion to put her team ahead 7-0 in the early going.
The Canadians made another charge down the pitch after that, but a Natasha Watcham-Roy drop just metres from the try line let Australia off the hook.
The hosts scored two quick tries and converted on both to take a 14-7 lead into half, adding three more in the second half to take a 33-7 win.
After falling to host nation Australia in the Women's Rugby Sevens semi-final, <a href="https://twitter.com/cgc_jcc?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@cgc_jcc</a> will play for bronze later today. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GC2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GC2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoldCoast2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoldCoast2018</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoldCoastGoldRush?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoldCoastGoldRush</a> <a href="https://t.co/j4DGkv7aAY">pic.twitter.com/j4DGkv7aAY</a>—@DAZN_CA
"[Australia] performed for 14 minutes and we only performed for four or five," Landry says. "Overall these teams are too good to give them too many opportunities. Defensively we broke down."
Tait says his team couldn't keep their composure in the most crucial games of this tournament.
"We just didn't play well enough in the pool match against New Zealand and the semifinal against Australia," he says. "We had a really poor first half against England. A couple missed kickoffs and going down a man really hurt us."
No time to dwell
The team won't have much time to think about their result on the Gold Coast — after marching in the closing ceremony, they're back in action in the Seven Series in Kitakyushu, Japan beginning on Friday.
After that, their eyes will be focused on getting ready for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Chief among their goals before then is establishing a consistent, full-game effort.
"We just gotta keep building," Landry says. "When we keep the ball and go forward, good things are happening. It's just the composure to do that for 14 minutes.
"We know we're capable of it but it's also a matter of showing up on game day and putting it together."
Tait says the core of the team is set, but they need to make sure they've learned the lessons he Commonwealth Games have taught them.
"We've got the right group here," he says. "We'll probably add a couple players between now and Tokyo but the base of the team is there.
"What we can do is learn from the failures we've had this weekend and make sure we don't repeat them."