The Canadian men and women sevens rugby squads got through their competitions unscathed and with varying degrees of difficulty Saturday in a crucial North American Caribbean Olympic qualifying tourney in Langford, B.C., just outside of Victoria.
Canada’s women’s team secured a berth in Sunday’s semifinal by crushing Mexico 80-0, punctuating one-sided wins over St. Lucia and Jamaica and outscoring its opponents 192-0 on the afternoon.
The men won each of their games but will need a victory over St. Lucia on Sunday to advance to the semifinals.
CBC Sports has full coverage throughout the weekend.
The men opened the day with a 38-0 drubbing of Barbados in front of a lively crowd of 3,352 at Starlight Stadium, but that cheering fell silent when an upstart Mexican team kept pace with the hosts, forcing Canada to find a last-minute try to secure a 21-12 victory.
St. Vincent & The Grenadines pulled out of the tournament, forcing some schedule shifts that reshaped the women’s afternoon into a round-robin, with Jamaica, St. Lucia and Mexico joining Canada.
The Canadian women won’t have to contend with the powerful U.S. team that is already Paris-bound, after its top-four finish in this season’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Canada’s No. 14-ranked men, however, will have to get past the 10th-ranked U.S., which came closer to booking a ticket in Sunday’s semifinals with lopsided (62-0 and 40-0) victories over Bermuda and Mexico, respectively.
Second- and third-place finishers qualify for one-last invitation to Paris, in an Olympic repechage tournament to be held next year.
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