Canadian rugby sevens women go 2-1 on the first day of competition in Paris

PARIS — Canada will face the U.S. on Saturday in a Cup quarterfinal at the Paris Sevens that will decide which team has bragging rights in the final HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series standings.

The Canadian women came to Paris, the last stop on the circuit, tied for fourth in the season table with the U.S. on 44 points. Australia topped the table with 74 points, ahead of New Zealand at 70 and France at 54.

Canada has finished third in the World Series four times in the last five seasons. It was runner-up the other year.

The Canadian women reeled off two good wins before falling 31-14 to a clinical Australian side Friday on Day 1 of the Paris event.

The Americans lost their final match 14-5 to the host French, setting up the North American showdown. The two teams met in the quarterfinals last time out in Langford, B.C. with the U.S. downing Canada 28-26.

The men’s portion of the Paris tournament kicks off Saturday, with ninth-ranked Canada in a group with No. 2 South Africa, No. 11 Scotland and No. 15 Russia.

The Canadian women opened with a convincing 31-5 win over No. 6 Russia before beating No. 10 Fiji 21-12.

But it proved to be a different story against Australia.

The Canadians launched a lengthy attack to start the game but eventually gave the ball away and the speedy Emma Tonegato made them pay. More Canadian mistakes led to a pair of tries by Emma Sykes and Canada trailed 19-0 at the half.

Another Tonegato try upped the lead to 24-0 before Charity Williams put Canada on the board with Sykes sent to the sin-bin for a hair pull during the buildup to the try.

Dominque Du Toit added to the Aussie lead before Sara Kaljuvee bulled her way over to make the final score 31-14.

Captain Ghislaine Landry saw limited action after sustaining an apparent knock in the first half.

Earlier Landry scored two tries to lead the way against Russia with Caroline Crossley, Kayla Moleschi and Britt Benn adding singles.

Canada got two tries from Bianca Farella — upping her World Series career total to 98 — and one from Breanne Nicholas in the win over Fiji.

In the other Cup quarterfinals, it’s New Zealand versus Spain, Australia versus Fiji and France versus England.

Australia, New Zealand and France each posted three wins on the day to win their pools.

This season Canada was fourth in Dubai, third in Sydney, Australia, 11th in Kitakyushu, Japan, — where injuries played havoc — and fifth in Langford.

The men’s best finish this season was a fourth in Cape Town, losing to host South Africa in the bronze-medal game in the second stop of the Series.

They placed 11th in Dubai, 13th in Sydney, 11th in Hamilton, New Zealand, 10th in Las Vegas, 14th in Vancouver, 10th in Hong Kong and 10th in Singapore (where it won the previous season).

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