'Freaking historic': Canada wins bronze in women's rugby 7s

The Canadian women's rugby sevens team beat Great Britain 33-10 to win the bronze medal on Monday at the Rio Olympics.

Australia tops New Zealand for sport's 1st Olympic gold

Canada's women's rugby players rejoice after scoring against Great Britain. (Philippe Lopez/Getty Images)

By Benjamin Blum, CBC Sports

The Canadian women's rugby sevens team beat Great Britain 33-10 to win the bronze medal on Monday at the Rio Olympics.

Karen Paquin scored the opening try and Canada led throughout the match. Ghislaine Landry had two tries and Bianca Farella and Kelly Russell had one each.

Landry regained her kicking form in the match, converting four of five kicks to finish with 18 of Canada's 33 points.

Britain cut Canada's lead to 26-10 with Jasmine Joyce's second-half try, but Landry cemented the victory with a try and conversion to put Canada back ahead 33-10.

Later, top-seeded Australia defeated longtime rival New Zealand 24-17 to win the first gold medal in Olympic women's rugby.

'I feel like a superhero'

With the bronze victory, the Canadians avenged a 22-0 loss to Britain in their final preliminary round game and also earned a successful finish to the tournament after dropping a 17-5 semifinal decision to Australia early Monday.

Canada has claimed a medal in every sevens event at the Olympic Games, World Cup, Sevens Series circuit overall and Pan Am Games since 2012 for a total of seven medals in seven attempts.

The medal is also Canada's first Olympic rugby medal in the women's and men's game. Men's 15-a-side rugby was contested at the Olympics intermittently until 1924.

"I feel like a superhero. I know 11 of my other teammates feel that way too," a beaming captain Jen Kish said. "What a freaking historic moment for us. Now I know what our Canadian women's soccer team felt like when they got bronze. It's just an ultimate superhero feeling. It's great."

The Canadians came into the semifinal on the heels of a 15-5 quarter-final victory over France and a 2-1-0 pool record that included easy wins over Japan and Brazil.

Canada entered the tournament as a medal contender after winning last summer's Pan American Games and finishing third on the world circuit this season. The Canadians were second in the World Series in 2014-15.

"There's a lot of games over this tournament that we didn't play the rugby that we are capable of," Landry said. "We're pretty disappointed with that, but [the bronze game is] a performance that we can be proud of and it's good rugby.

"I'm glad people got to see the chance to see that, because that's what we can do on a regular basis. We just weren't able to do it this tournament overall."

Women's rugby is making its Olympic debut, while men's rugby returns for the first time since 1924, when the U.S. won the 15-a-side tournament.

With files from The Canadian Press


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