Langford-based Canadian rugby team crashes out of Olympics

In an absolute stunner, the 2016 Rio Olympic bronze-medallist Canadian women’s rugby sevens team has crashed out of the 2020 Tokyo Games without even reaching the quarter-finals.

Throwing off a year of upheaval in their Langford base — from a COVID outbreak to a coaching change — wasn’t so easy after all. World No. 3 Canada was defeated 26-12 by Fiji and 31-0 by France in pool play Thursday. Canada opened with a 33-0 victory over Brazil on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough.

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The Canadians were shockingly error-prone and their defence lethally porous.

A players’ revolt in Langford this spring led to the departure of head coach John Tait of Mill Bay, who guided Canada to the Olympic bronze medal at Rio 2016. Mick Byrne, a well-travelled 62-year-old Australian, assumed the role of interim Canadian head coach through the Olympics.

The quarter-finals were in the wee hours this morning with the semifinals at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. tonight. The medal round is in the wee hours Saturday.

Not that Canada has to worry about that anymore. Their task is to rebuild, amid the emotional rubble in Langford, for Paris 2024.

Elsewhere, Canadian judoka Shady El-Nahas had a chance to win Canada’s third judo bronze medal, but fell just short after losing his bronze-medal match in the men’s 100-kilogram division.

The 23-year-old from Mississauga defeated Israel’s Peter Paltchik by ippon to advance to the medal round, but lost to Jorge Fonseca of Portugal by waza-ari.

“One mistake and it ruins your whole day. That’s what ­happened,” El-Nahas said.

Canada’s women’s basketball team bounced back from an initial loss against Serbia to pull off a commanding 74-53 win against South Korea.

Bridget Carleton led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds, while her Minnesota Lynx teammate Natalie Achonwa added 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kayla Alexander chipped in with 10 points.

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