Canada’s women’s rugby 7s team welcomes Aussie push ahead of Olympic qualifier

Canada’s women’s rugby 7s team welcomes Aussie push ahead of Olympic qualifier

Canada’s women’s rugby sevens team opted for the school of hard knocks ahead of this weekend’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Langford, B.C.

And not the usual ones associated with a physical sport. What the team received from a series of exhibitions this summer against top-ranked Australia were lessons in tactics and play the organization believes will only help Canada in the long run.

“We’re really just striving to improve from our performance last year, and playing against the best teams in the world is really what we’re here to do,” said Olivia Apps, who will serve as captain when Canada plays in a five-team pool with Mexico, St. Lucia, Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The top two teams will meet in Sunday’s final with the winner earning a spot at next summer’s Paris Olympics. CBC Sports has live coverage beginning Aug. 19 at 1:30 p.m. ET.

“Every time we play against Australia it’s super competitive,” Apps said. “They’re really challenging on both sides of the ball and I’m really grateful that they’re here.”

Australia finished second in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this season, seven spots ahead of Canada. Also participating in the friendly series were Hong Kong and Japan.

Canadian coach Jack Hanratty said the games were key for his team ahead of this weekend’s qualifier because it provided a competitive atmosphere, but without the suffocating pressure of high-stakes tournaments. 

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…. to be continued
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