Canada's rugby 7s teams compete for World Cup berths at Bahamian qualifier
Men's squad looks to build on encouraging weekend in Vancouver
Canada's rugby sevens teams' missions this weekend couldn't be more clear.
Both Canadian men's and women's squads will compete at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Qualifiers in Nassau, Bahamas with hopes of clinching a 2022 Rugby World Cup Sevens berth.
The men's side will look to build on the positives from the HSBC World Men's Rugby Seven Series in Vancouver last weekend, hopefully turning the three wins in six matches against some of the world's best opposition into some bit of region dominance.
To secure a spot in the World Cup, scheduled for September in Cape Town, South Africa, the Canadians need to make it to the final in the 15-team men's tournament in Nassau. The Canadian women's team needs to finish first in their six-team tournament in order to secure its spot in Cape Town.
"We know the task at hand is to qualify for the Sevens World Cup later this year," Canada's head coach Henry Paul said. "We'll approach Nassau with respect to the opposition whilst trying to replicate several pulsating performances the team produced in front of our passionate home crowd in BC Place last weekend."
In Vancouver, the sixth stop of the men's Seven Series season, Canada took a 26-21 win over Spain on Saturday to bounce back from losses to top-nations Australia (26-10), and South Africa (19-14) in the group stage.
Canada then defeated Japan (29-5) and Scotland (26-22) before falling to Ireland (17-7) in placement games for a 10th-place finish on Sunday.
It was a much improved performance than the previous weekend in Singapore, when the Canadian team lost all five games to finish tied for 15th – dead last – with Scotland.
'Our roster is full of exciting young talent'
The tournament in Nassau marks the first of two important weekends for the Canadian women. Beginning on April 30, Langford, B.C., will host the penultimate tournament in the women's HSBC World Rugby Seven Series season.
"Our roster is full of exciting young talent which will benefit from the experience of playing at this event, which is so important in our quest to qualify for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa," women's heead coach Jack Hanratty said.
Canada's life tends to be easier in continental play. In the 2019 RF Group qualifiers, the Canadian men downed Jamaica in the final to qualify for Tokyo 2020 - when they finished third in the group stage with one win in three games.
The Jamaican side is expected to be a contender in the men's competition once again, along with Mexico, who finished third in the tournament claimed by Canada in 2019, and Curaçao, who won the Bowl competition in October.
The men's team will hope to count on the likes of Jake Thiel and Brock Webster repeating some of their great performances from last week in Vancouver.
Jarvis Dashkewytch and Thomas Isherwood, who weren't rostered last week, are back in the squad for Nassau. Lucas Scheck is making his debut in a competition after joining the program in 2021.
Matches begin Saturday
The Canadian women begin their campaign at Thomas Robinson National Stadium on Saturday at 10:50 a.m. ET by facing Trinidad and Tobago. Matches against Mexico (2:12 p.m. ET), and Jamaica (4:50 p.m. ET) complete their first day of competition.
The Canadian men will face the British Virgin Islands at 10:06 a.m. ET and Trinidad and Tobago at 12:44 p.m. ET
On Sunday, Canada's women's team get back on the field at 11:56 a.m. ET to take on the Cayman Islands.
Knockout and placement games are scheduled for later Sunday.
Canadian men's roster
- Lucas Scheck — Cactus Lake, Sask.
- Jake Thiel — Abbotsford, B.C.
- Nick Allen — North Vancouver, B.C.
- Phil Berna — Vancouver
- Matthew Oworu — Calgary
- Thomas Isherwood —Okotoks, Alta.
- Brock Webster —Uxbridge, Ont.
- Cooper Coats —Halifax
- D'Shawn Bowen —Toronto
- Lachlan Kratz — Victoria
- Elias Ergas — Vancouver
- Anton Ngongo — Victoria
- Jarvis Dashkewytch — Tsawwassen, B.C.
Canadian women's roster
- Olivia De Couvreur — Ottawa
- Olivia Apps — Lindsay, Ont.
- Pamphinette Buisa — Gatineau, Que.
- Breanne Nicholas — Blenheim, Ont.
- Nakisa Levale — Abbotsford, B.C.
- Chloe Daniels — Sutton, Ont.
- Florence Symonds — Hong Kong
- Bianca Farella — Montreal
- Asia Hogan Rochester — Toronto
- Fancy Bermudez — Edmonton
- Elissa Alarie — Trois Rivieres, Que.
- Keyara Wardley — Vulcan, Alta.
- Krissy Scurfield — Canmore, Alta.