Pan Am newsmakers of the day: Canadian rugby sevens teams

It was a golden day for Canada’s men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams at the Pan Am Games. The women beat the U.S. 55-7 in their final, then the men defeated Argentina 22-19 to complete the sweep.

Men's, women's sides win gold

Canada's gold medal-winning rugby sides celebrate together in front of a partisan crowd in Toronto. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)

It was a golden day for Canada's men's and women's rugby sevens teams at the Pan Am Games. The women beat the U.S. 55-7 in their final, then the men defeated Argentina 22-19 to complete the sweep.

The end results were the same, but how each team got there could not have been more different.

For the women, it was a dominant performance from start to finish. They ended with a perfect 6-0 record and shut out their opponents for the first four games. The only points they gave up in the tournament came in their two games against the U.S.

But even those games were never in question. The first was a 34-12 win in the final round-robin game, but by then the gold-medal final was already set as a rematch. Heading into both games, the Americans were billed as Canada's toughest test as the U.S had also not allowed opponents to score against them.

Instead, Canada scored early and often in the gold-medal match to come away with the lopsided victory.

Having already qualified for the 2016 Olympics by finishing second in the World Sevens Series, Canada used the Pan Am Games as a momentum builder on the road to Rio. Outscoring your opponents 285-19 is a pretty good way to gain confidence heading into an Olympic year.

Next up, the team is off to Rio to get used to the climate and area ahead of the Olympics.

Comeback kids

The Canadian men entered their tournament as the defending champions, but the path to a second gold was far from clear. All three victories in the medal round were comebacks.

In the quarter-finals, Canada found itself trailing in the final seconds against Chile before scoring a try and conversion to tie the game at 12-12 and force overtime. Phil Mack scored a try in sudden death to set up a meeting with the U.S. in the semis.

Canada lost a chance to qualify for Rio to the Americans in June. This time around, the Canadians broke a 19-19 tie to win 26-19 and set up a repeat of the 2011 final against Argentina.

Again, Canada battled back for the win after being down 19-17. Harry Jones carried a couple of Argentine defenders with him over the try line to give Canada the 22-19 victory. 

Next up for the men's side is trying to qualify for the Olympics to join the women and try to make it another double gold in rugby sevens' first appearance in the Olympics.


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