The Canadian men’s and women’s rugby teams made their first forays in more than a year out of their training venues at Westhills Stadium and Goudy Field, and they made the trip count with both squads making the Cup finals Friday in the Emirates Sevens at Dubai.
The Canadian teams are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Canada defeated Japan 29-12 in the men’s quarter-finals and France 29-12 in the semifinals before losing 26-19 to Argentina in the final. Canada opened Thursday with 19-14 and 24-12 victories over Spain and Uganda and a 21-10 loss to Kenya.
The Canadian women beat Brazil 60-0 before dropping the final 17-12 against France. It was the second loss to the French following a 29-10 setback earlier in the day. Canada beat Kenya 22-5, Japan 28-0 and the U.S. 19-12 on the opening day Thursday.
The Canadian women won the first Emirates tournament held last week while the Canadian men were fifth.
“It was two weeks of good rugby,” said Canadian men’s player Harry Jones, in a post-game media scrum.
“The first week it was a bit shaky getting the rust off. It was the first real rugby the boys have played in over a year. The second week looked a lot better in just tightening up a few of the things. There’s still lots to work on. There were some really good teams here. We can’t complain. ”
The off-field fan experience, so much a part of sevens rugby, was missing. But the tournaments got the job done on the pitch for the Canadian teams that were itching for game pace, which simply can’t be emulated in training.
The teams now return to Langford and training following two weeks of quarantine. Next up for the men are the Olympics in July. The world third-ranked women’s team has two tournaments in Paris next month before the Tokyo Summer Games.