Canada defend Pan Am rugby sevens eves title, concede men’s - GulfToday

Canada defend Pan Am rugby sevens eves title, concede men’s

Rugby

Canada’s women celebrate winning the Pan American Games Rugby Sevens gold medal match against the US in Lima on Sunday. Reuters

LIMA: Canada’s women defended their Pan Am Games rugby sevens crown on Sunday while the men’s team were dethroned by a rampaging Argentina.

Winger Asia Hogan-Rochester tore through the US with three tries to lead a young squad to a convincing 24-10 win over their arch-rivals.

But moments later, Argentina brought the men’s team’s reign to a shuddering end with a 33-10 victory that left the Canadians walking off the field, thinking about next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Canada began the gold medal contest smartly with Josiah Morra scoring the opening try but it was all downhill from there as Argentina, sparked by two tries from Luciano Daniel Gonzalez Rizzoni, stormed to 21-5 halftime lead, then piled on the punishment.

Like the men, the Canadian women got on the scoreboard first with a Hogan-Rochester try but never lost control as the US had no answer to Canada’s speed and resolve.

“The girls just really wanted it,” said coach Morgan Williams. “They played together as a 12 and they have been very tight all week. “I could see it before the game, they were up, they were dancing I hadn’t seen that energy in previous games.

“I knew they were going to come out and do something special.” Both Canadian squads had new looks from the teams that swept gold on home turf in Toronto four years ago. Just two women were back for a crack at a second gold while the men’s side had only four returnees.

Playing in her first international tournament, Hogan-Rochester’s three-try performance undoubtedly caught the eyes of national selectors.

“I just got on the team and there are a lot of girls that have been pushing and working towards that (Olympics) but that 12-person roster is definitely something I am interested in,” said Hogan-Rochester. “The Olympics are every athlete’s biggest dream. There’s still a lot of work to do, I am still developing.”

Reuters