Canadian men, facing rugby sevens relegation fight, lose opening match in Hong Kong

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HONG KONG — The Canadian men lost their opening match at the Cathay/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens on Friday, beaten 17-7 by Argentina.

Josiah Mora, playing in his 100th HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series game, scored the lone try for Canada with Brennig Provost kicking the conversion.

The Canadian men, who came into the tournament in 14th place after seven of 11 stops on the World Series, find themselves in a tough Pool A with No. 2 Argentina, No. 4 Fiji and No. 6 Samoa. Argentina is coming off a win at the Canada Sevens in Vancouver.

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Canada finds itself in a relegation fight at the business end of the sevens season.

The World Series is reducing the number of men's core teams to 12 from 16 next season to align with the women's competition and the Olympic field.

The 15th-ranked core team following the 10th round May 12-14 in Toulouse, France, will be relegated. The teams ranked 12th, 13th and 14th at the end of Toulouse will enter a four-team relegation playoff together with the Challenger Series 2023 winners at the final round May 20-21 in London.

The relegation playoff winner will become the 12th core team on the 2024 Series, while the other three teams will enter their respective Regional Sevens Championships in order to qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series.

The eighth-ranked Canadian women lost a 5-0 nail-biter to No. 7 Britain in their opener in Hong Kong, which features the women’s Series for the first time. Heather Cowell scored the game's lone try in the 10th minute with the British defence keeping Canada out in the final minutes.

The Canadian women rebounded with a 22-5 win over host Hong Kong, with tries from Julia Greenshields, Breanne Nicholas, Krissy Scurfield and Taejah Thompson (her first in World Series play).

Canada closes out Pool A play against No. 1 New Zealand.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023

The Canadian Press