Canada Women win 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens

Canada women triumph at the 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens
KITAKYUSHU, JAPAN - APRIL 21: Ghislaine Landry of Canada passes the ball during the Cup semifinal match between Canada and USA on day two of the HSBC Women's Rugby Sevens Kitakyushu at Mikuni World Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

A last gasp try, in the final minute of play from ‘Captain Fantastic’ Ghislaine Landry, gave the Canadian women their first HSBC Sevens Series title since the Sydney Sevens 2017. The Canada women held high the 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens trophy, above all others.

Reaching the Cup final, Landry canceled out Amy Wilson-Hardy’s try for the English, to win the Japan leg of the World Series. The final score was the lowest in recent times [7-5]. It rounded out one of the most shocking tournaments of the recent HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, as the script was completely flipped.

The famed New Zealand women were beaten twice, and it allowed others the unique opportunity. Ghislaine Landry and her Canada team took best advantage, succeeding in becoming winners on Japanese soil. “It’s huge, we know that [Olympic qualification] is what it is all about. That is our main goal this season and to get a Cup final on top of that is a good feeling,” Ghislaine Landry explained to worldrugby.org.

“It was such a fight, time is up and the girls kept their composure and to be able to finish that off feels pretty great. Everything we threw at them they had an answer for, so testament to England, they had a great weekend and gave us everything they had in that final. Sevens is such a hard game and in the last play of the last game it is a bit of a battle of the mind, and we came out on top in that.”

Canada Women win 2019 HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens

Leading up to the Canada victory, series leader New Zealand lost their 37-match unbeaten run. Firstly held by Russia 17-17, only to lose it all against the resurgent French side 29-7.

Australia with the return of their star players still struggled and lost in the Cup Quarters to the English so did the Kiwis to USA. Both teams might be struggling with injury worries in the squad but, they both gave no excuses as they lost to better teams on the day.

Tournament winners Canada; with the experience of Landry, Bianca Farella, Charity Williams, and Breanne Nicholas, stood their ground against their much younger and less experienced English side.

James Bailey should be credited for the resilience showed by his young side whipped by the United States on Day One to get their act together to reach the finals. Emma Uren, Abbie Burton, Celia Quansah all stood up to the task to support Amy Wilson-Hardy, Megan Jones, Alex Matthews, and Holly Aitchson – who was ‘on fire’ over the weekend.

Holly Atchinson
PLayers of England celebrate after the Cup semifinal match between England and France on day two of the HSBC Women’s Rugby Sevens Kitakyushu at Mikuni World Stadium on April 21, 2019 in Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

The United States women finished third, New Zealand had to settle for fifth spot – their thrilling 34-26 victory over the Aussies, ending a poor weekend for the ‘Seven Sisters’. The Aussie girls may be disappointed, although when star Ellia Green crossed over for her 100th try in the Series, all nations would have shown respect, to the speedsters efforts.

Ireland pipped Russia 15-14 to claim seventh spot with China settling for 11th place, denying the hosts Japan a victory 7-0. Fijiana finally found their rhythm on Day Two. Overcoming Japan 28-17 in the Challenge Trophy semifinals, before walloping Los Leona’s 41-21 to win the Challenge Trophy final.

Former Flying Fijians Seremaia Bai was quick to congratulate the Fijiana girls for their effort in Japan.

Battle for Olympic Qualifications heats up

As the dust settled in Kitakyushu, most teams now know what is expected of them in the last two rounds. With Olympic qualifications up for grabs, the competition heats up with changes to the current Top four.

New Zealand still leads with 72 points, Canada moves to second, with USA slipping to third place. Defending Olympic champions Australia, drifting backward on fourth spot. With such a huge reward on the line, France, Ireland, and runners up at the HSBC Kitakyushu Sevens England, are breathing down their necks.

On the other hand, the bottom half has its own battle brewing. Just six points separating the bottom three sides. Spain sits on 16, Fiji on 13 with China 10, that is with two rounds to go. A finish inside the top four at Langford or Biarritz in June, could boost any of those sides.

Important results are still to be found. Sevens Series qualifiers Brazil will replace the bottom team this season, so the above three teams must work hard, to survive to next year.

The ‘Last Word’ on Kitakyushu Sevens

The losses for Australia and New Zealand just proves how competitive and unpredictable the Series is becoming. Like in the Men’s Series, it will ultimately be good for the game.

Kudos to World Rugby for finally removing geo-block from most countries social media and online services, to freely watch the Livestream feed of the HSBC Women’s Sevens Series.

Plenty of new stars emerged over the weekend, with some continuing their growth. They cannot all make the World Rugby ‘Dream Team’ but LWOR will acknowledge their valiant efforts.

Eva Higgins of Ireland, brilliant young rover. Dhys Faleafa in her début outing for the Kiwis but telling the world  I’m here to stay. Yume Hirano of Japan, a tireless worker for her team.

Emma Uren, the English lass is ‘poetry in motion’ when on stride. Young, determined and definitely a future star of the game.

Asinate Savu continues to return back to her usual best. Watch her in the last two tournaments, as Fijiana fights for survival along with China and Spain.

________________________________________________________________________

We look forward to the next leg in Langford, Canada. What mystery awaits us? Tune into the World Rugby feed or your local broadcaster, to miss out on a single minute of this thrilling HSBC Women’s Sevens Series, 2018/19.

 

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.