Canada’s women produced a display full of pace, power and commitment to beat England 26-7 and claim the first IRB Women’s Sevens Challenge Cup, in Dubai.
The eight-team tournament, played alongside the men’s at the second round of the HSBC Sevens World Series, was the first IRB-sanctioned women’s Sevens event and has been heralded a key landmark in the evolution of the women’s game en route to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The Canadians were far too strong for their neighbours and great rivals USA, cruising to a 36-0 win in their semi final, and then withstood England’s early pressure before posting a convincing victory.
England had won a close-fought battle with Australia in their semi final, although the Wallaroos did recover to claim a 22-5 victory in the third-fourth play-off match against USA. The reigning World Champions’ blend of pace and skill was too much for USA as they claimed Bronze.
Spain followed up victory against China to beat a highly competitive South African side 28-0 and win the Plate. Earlier, China edged Brazil 17-15 to finish in seventh place overall.
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The tournament represents a key delivery of the IRB Women’s Rugby Plan which was announced this week and makes a commitment to staging a world class Women’s Sevens event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
The IOC’s decision to include Rugby Sevens as an Olympic Sport for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games has provided a significant impetus to the Women’s Game, which is already enjoying record participation around the world.