By The Canadian Press
TOKYO — Canada’s hopes of earning another medal in women’s rugby sevens were dashed on Friday (Thursday, PST) when the team missed out on the quarterfinals by the slimmest of margins.
The Canadian squad, which features Williams Lake’s Kayla Moleschi, finished third in Pool B with a 1-2 record after lopsided losses to France and Fiji.
Russia (Pool A) and China (Pool C) also finished third in their pools at 1-2, but only two of three third-place finishers could advance to the quarters, so a series of tiebreakers was needed.
It’s a devastating result for the Canadian team, which hoped to reach the podium again after winning bronze in the inaugural Olympic appearance for women’s rugby sevens at the Rio Games in 2016.
Canada will face Brazil later Friday in the placing round semifinals.
The Canadian squad looked overwhelmed from start to finish in its final group play match, a 31-0 loss to France at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium earlier Friday.
It was Canada’s second straight loss in the pool stage.
After a decisive 33-0 victory over Brazil in their opening match Thursday morning, the Canadians were caught off guard by Fiji in their second contest, losing 26-12.
After the loss to the French side, Canada coach Mick Byrne cited both the intense heat and the team’s long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic as contributors to the disappointing outcome.
“I’m not making excuses. These are just facts of life,” Byrne said.
“I can’t be disappointed with (the team) because of the work they’ve done to get here today. I cannot be disappointed with them.”