DUBAI CITY, United Arab Emirates — Canada's women won two of three games Saturday to advance to the Cup quarterfinals of the Emirates Dubai 7s.
The tournament is the season kickoff of the rebranded HSBC SVNS, formerly known as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
The Canadian women bounced back from an opening 29-0 loss to France by beating the U.S. 15-10 and Spain 38-12 to finished runner-up to the French in Pool C.
Carissa Norsten scored the winning try in extra time to lift Canada past the Americans. Kristy Scurfield and Charity Williams also scored for Canada.
Williams, Norsten, Caroline Crossley, Florence Symonds, Piper Logan and Asia Hogan-Rochester had Canada's tries in the win over Spain.
The Canadian women will face Ireland in Sunday's quarterfinals while defending Series champion New Zealand plays Brazil, France faces Fiji and Australia takes on the U.S.
The Canadian men had a much rougher day, albeit against elite opposition.
Canada finished last in Pool A after losing 26-21 to reigning Series champion New Zealand, 35-14 to defending Dubai title-holder South Africa and 24-0 to Samoa.
The Canadian men pushed the All Blacks to their limit in the opening game, however, New Zealand needed a late converted try by Fehi Fineanganofo for the win after Canadian tries by Josiah Morra, Jake Thiel and Matt Oworu. Cooper Coats kicked three conversions for Canada, which led 14-12 at the half.
Kalin Sager and Lockie Kratz scored tries in Canada's loss to South Africa.
The slimmed-down sevens circuit features seven regular-season events, each featuring men's and women's competition, plus a grand final with promotion and relegation at stake.
Vancouver is the fourth stop of the season, scheduled for Feb. 23-25 after Dubai, Cape Town and Perth, Australia. The teams then go to Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore before wrapping up in Madrid May 31 to June 2.
The men's field has been cut to 12 core teams from 16 to match the women's setup as well as the Olympic competition.
Canada retained its core team status in dramatic fashion, defeating Kenya 12-7 in the relegation playoff final in May in London thanks to a last-minute try by Alex Russell. The Canadian men were forced into the London playoff after finishing 14th in the season standings.
The Canadian women finished ninth overall last season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2023
The Canadian Press