Rugby sevens action returns

With the debut of rugby sevens at Rio 2016 in the books, Canada’s teams are now back together for the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series.

The first tournament of the series kicks off in Dubai, December 1-3, 2016. The Canadian women’s squad for Dubai features nine returning Rio 2016 bronze medallists including Britt Benn, Hannah Darling, Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry, Megan Lukan, Kayla Moleschi, Ashley Steacy, Natasha Watcham-Roy, and Charity Williams, with Jen Kish sitting out this tournament due to injury. The nine Olympians are joined by Julia Greenshields, Sara Kaljuvee, and Breanne Nicholas.

Related: Women’s rugby win historic Olympic bronze

The only Olympians not returning to the World Rugby Sevens circuit this season are Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell, who’ve decided to represent Canada in fifteens.

With planning for the next Olympic cycle already underway, this new core team brings a great deal of experience but also a youthful contingent providing depth to reach Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

The Canadian women are coming off one of their most successful seasons in history, finishing third in the series last season, and capping off their performance with a memorable Rio 2016 bronze medal. In Dubai, their pool C matches will be against Brazil, England, and Spain.

2016-17 Women’s Sevens Schedule:

Dubai December 1-2
Sydney February 3-4
Kitakyusyu April 22-23
Langford May 27-28
Clermont  June 24-25

The men’s squad selected for Dubai features 11 experienced returnees, including Phil Berna, Justin Douglas, Mike Fuailefau, Nathan Hirayama, Harry Jones, Pat Kay, John Moonlight, Luke McCloskey, Matt Mullins, Liam Underwood and Adam Zaruba. They are joined by newcomers Karsten Leitner and Caleb Jordan.

Canada’s men finished 13th in the series last season, and failed to qualify for Rio 2016. However, this revamped group is focused on their ultimate goal of qualifying for Tokyo 2020. Olympic champions, Fiji, will be Canada’s first opponent of the season. They are also joined in pool A by Argentina and Wales.

2016-17 Men’s Sevens Schedule:

Dubai December 2-3
Cape Town December 10-11
Wellington January 28-29
Sydney February 4-5
Las Vegas March 3-5
Vancouver March 11-12
Hong Kong April 7-9
Singapore April 15-16
Paris May 13-14
London  May 20-21

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