It was a day of double good news for Canada’s men’s rugby sevens team in London on Saturday.
Canada’s Adam Zaruba runs in a try during the rugby union sevens pool match between Canada and Japan on the first day of the London 2019 World Rugby Sevens Series event at Twickenham Stadium in west London on May 25, 2019.
BEN STANSALL /
The Canadians won two of three pool matches on day one at the London Sevens, held at the famous Twickenham Stadium, defeating Argentina and Japan.That means they’ll get to play in the cup quarter-finals for just the second time on the season; this is their first event under the direction of interim coach Henry Paul, who replaced Damian McGrath after the popular Englishman was dismissed with some surprise earlier this month.Canada’s opponent Sunday in those quarter-finals is quite fitting: the United States, who this weekend have secured Olympic qualification for Tokyo 2020.
USA’s Steve Tomasin (R) is tackled by Wales’ Luke Terharne during the rugby union sevens pool match between USA and Wales on the first day of the London 2019 World Rugby Sevens Series event at Twickenham Stadium in west London on May 25, 2019.
BEN STANSALL /
It’s been an incredible season for the Americans, who have sat in first place since the season’s second tournament in South Africa. By qualifying for the cup round in London, they guaranteed that they won’t slip any lower than fourth when the season comes to an end next weekend in Paris.The top four teams on this year’s season will secure spots in Tokyo; also securing spots this weekend are Fiji, the defending gold medallists from Rio, and New Zealand. Fourth-placed South Africa are strong favourites to take the final spot, with England just barely in contention.The Americans qualifying directly opens the door wide open for the Canadians to grab the North American entry. That spot will be determined in a July tournament, to be played in the Cayman Islands; as the only team in the region other than the Americans with a fully professional squad, Canada are almost 100 per cent locks to win that event.The Canadian women’s team is expected to qualify directly; they currently sit third overall on the women’s series, which plays its final even next month in Biarritz, France.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org