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Canada's women book a semi-final berth in the Vancouver Sevens and the men fall to South Africa – Sports

Canada's women book a semi-final berth in the Vancouver Sevens and the men fall to South Africa – Sports

VANCOUVER – Canada's women's rugby sevens team has booked its place in the semi-finals of the HSBC SVNS series that stops at BC Place.

Canada beat the United States 12-10 in a thrilling end to their quarterfinal match, surviving after the Americans missed a conversion chance after scoring in the final moments of the game.

The Canadians will play New Zealand in the semifinals on Sunday, while Australia takes on France in the other Final Four matchup.

Canadian coach Jack Henratty admitted that the match was closer than he wanted, but it showed the maturity of his team.

He added: “I don't know if my heart is still beating.” “I think there is incredible resilience.

“We've been in moments of dominance the last few years and we haven't been able to shake it off. We've been outmatched in rugby IQ and tonight we were able to finish it off.”

Chrissie Scurfield and Florence Simmonds scored for Canada in the final seconds of the first period.

But the United States refused to give up, despite two players going down at one point for yellow card warnings.

Ariana Ramsey scored twice, but Elif Kelter missed the conversion to seal the win for Canada.

Veteran Olivia Apps admitted the Canadiens made it difficult for themselves but showed resilience to register the win.

“It feels incredible. This is exactly where we wanted to finish this weekend,” she said. “I think we made it a little harder on ourselves than we needed to be…but I'm very proud of this team.”

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The Canadian men's team fell 20-14 in the ninth-place semifinal to South Africa, despite a spirited comeback attempt. They will face Spain in the 11th place match on Sunday.

Josiah Mora scored twice for Canada as Max Stewart made both conversion attempts.

“Joe is a world-class player. You give this guy a little bit of adversity and he rises to the occasion,” said head coach Shaun White.

“We want to see more fights, like (Moura’s) fight.”

But South Africa benefited from quick passing and a powerful kicking game.

Impey Visser scored twice in the first period, including one after a one-on-one play off a deep fastball in Canada's end.

Roscko Specman followed that up by trying to control the ball with his thigh after Selvyn Davids sent a kick skidding across the turf for a teammate to run over.

It was Canada's fourth loss in the tournament, after a 31-14 loss to Spain earlier in the day.

“We didn't do enough to win,” White said after the loss. “It seems like we're making the same mistakes we did in the last two games.”

Spaniard Josep Ceres opened the scoring, before Juan Ramos doubled the lead one minute later.

Josiah Mora pulled one back for the Canadiens in overtime of the first period, as the crowd serenaded the team with “Oh Canada” at halftime.

But the comeback was short-lived as Spain's Ramos scored a try early in the second half, eventually securing a comfortable win.

“Anytime you give up points with a player advantage it's disappointing, let alone right after halftime when the crowd is behind you,” White said.

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“We missed the target several times and Spain took full advantage.”

Frenchman Antoine Dupont also scored his first appearance in the sevens with a try in the 31-5 victory over Australia.

He followed that up with a second try to seal a 10-5 win over Ireland in the men's quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old Dupont missed this year's Six Nations to play in the Sevens as he bids to win Olympic gold in Paris this summer.

In the men's competition, the United States will play Argentina on Sunday in a semi-final match, while New Zealand will play France in another semi-final match.

In the women's opening match in Canada, Canada beat Spain 22-5.

After taking an early lead on two tries thanks to Fancy Bermudez and Florence Simmonds, Spain pulled one back to end the first half 10-5.

Charity Williams restored the lead midway through the second half after receiving a load from Simmonds to break down the wing.

The try was Williams' 452nd point in sevens competition.

“It's been a long time coming, it's been 10 years that I've been on this team, and this is a very big day for me,” she said.

Asia Hogan Rochester sealed the win with a try with just over a minute left.

It started with a crowd on the other side of the field before Hogan Rochester found an empty space.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2024.

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