Canadian women's rugby squad falls short against U.S., Great Britain at Sydney 7s
Canadian men open tournament with 24-19 loss to Argentina
The Canadian women's rugby sevens team suffered losses to the United States and Great Britain on Thursday to open the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series stop in Sydney, Australia.
The 10th-ranked Canadians mounted a comeback against the U.S. after trailing 14-5 at halftime, making it a two-point game with under two minutes left, but they were unable to get the ball back in the final moments and opened the tournament with a 14-12 defeat.
Olivia Apps scored Canada's lone try in a 19-5 loss to Great Britain.
The Canadian men's team opened its tournament with a 24-19 loss to Argentina later in the day. Phil Berna, Anton Ngongo and Brock Webster scored tries for Canada, while Webster also added a conversion.
Canada's men will next face Australia at 7:12 p.m. ET on Friday before a matchup against Great Britain at 12:55 a.m. ET on Saturday to wrap up pool play.
Watch live coverage of the men's and women's tournaments on CBCsports.ca, CBC Gem and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android.
WATCH | Women's World Rugby Sevens Series Sydney: Canada vs. United States:
Pamphinette Buisa opened the tournament scoring for Canada's women two minutes into the first half against the U.S. after breaking a tackle from Cheta Emba and accelerating down the left side of the field.
But Bianca Farella was assessed a penalty later in the half, allowing the Americans to seize momentum.
Kristi Kirshe scooped up a loose ball and weaved her way through the Canadian defence for her team's first try of the tournament.
Kayla Canett added the conversion to put the United States up 7-5.
WATCH | Women's World Rugby Sevens Series Sydney: Canada vs. Great Britain:
The Americans continued to apply offensive pressure throughout the opening half, moving the ball quickly across the field. They eventually broke through despite a solid defensive effort from Canada, as Emba powered her way through the defence for a try.
Canett kicked another conversion to give the U.S. a 14-5 lead at halftime.
The Canadians did a better job of breaking out of their end in the second half, and an American penalty created a key opportunity in the final two minutes. Alysha Corrigan scored a try for Canada with 1:30 remaining after receiving a perfect pass from Nakisa Levale, and Apps added the conversion to cut the American lead down to two points.
But the Americans were able to maintain possession and run the clock down for the win.
WATCH | Men's World Rugby Sevens Series Sydney: Canada vs. Argentina:
Great Britian led Canada 14-0 at halftime following tries from Jade Shekells and Heather Cowell. Grace Crompton added to Great Britain's lead before Apps scored a try for Canada late in the second half.
Great Britain's Megan Jones kicked two conversions in the match.
Canada's men fell victim to a furious Argentina comeback, conceding three late tries.
Trailing Canada 19-5 with under three minutes to play, Argentina appeared to have scored when speedster Marcos Moneta crashed over in the corner. But Josiah Morra caught the 2021 World Rugby's Sevens Men's Player of the Year as he crossed the try-line and, with help from captain Berna, prevented him from grounding the ball.
Rodrigo Isgro scored from the ensuing scrum to cut the margin to 19-12 with less than 90 seconds remaining. Isgro rose high to beat a Canadian and gather the restart, racing in for a converted try and a 19-19 tie.
Argentina won the restart again and laid siege on the Canadian try-line after a slashing run by Luciano Gonzalez. The ball went wide to Moneta for the converted try that completed the comeback with time expired.
Berna, Ngongo and Webster scored tries for Canada, which led 12-5 at the half. Webster added two conversions.
Agustin Fraga also scored for Argentina.
Canada started the Argentina game with good field position thanks to a contentious call that the Argentina kickoff didn't go the required 10 metres. Argentina was penalized after the ensuing scrum and Berna capped the Canadian attack by touching down under the posts.
Argentina responded with a Fraga try after a storming run by Gonzalez down the wing. But the South Americans found themselves trailing by seven points in the dying seconds of the half after Ngongo bulled over for a try following a string of Argentina penalties.
Another Argentina penalty early in the second half led to a try by Webster and a 19-5 Canada lead.
The Canadian women are looking to improve upon their 11th-place finish at last weekend's stop in Hamilton, New Zealand. The team finished ninth in Dubai before finishing eighth in Cape Town in December.
Canada's men finished 14th overall in New Zealand.
With files from The Canadian Press