Rugby Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canada’s rugby sevens teams nominated to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The men’s rugby sevens team qualified for Tokyo 2020 by winning the regional qualification tournament, the Rugby Americas North Sevens. Team Canada achieved a perfect 6-0-0 record at the tournament which took place in Cayman Islands in July 2019. The women’s team earned their ticket to Tokyo in June 2019, when they secured the bronze medal at the World Rugby Sevens Series stop in Biarritz, France and finished third in the 2018-19 series standings.
“It’s an honour to compete for Canada at Tokyo 2020,” said co-captain of the men’s team, Nathan Hirayama. “We travel the world representing Canada but this will be my first Olympic Games and we’re excited to get to Tokyo. It’s been an unprecedented year but we’ve been training hard and look forward to competing.”
“The opportunity to go to another Olympic Games with this team is very exciting” added captain of the women’s team, Ghislaine Landry. “For the last five years, we’ve been training hard and hunting down podium finishes. I’m proud of our team and I know we are heading into the Games with a ton of talent and huge potential.”
Canada’s men’s and women’s sevens teams last competed this past April in Dubai. Played over two weekends, the Emirates Invitational Sevens was an important high performance preparation event in advance of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both teams had exceptional showings. The women’s team won the tournament in the first weekend while the men’s team finished in fifth place. In the second tournament, both teams advanced to the Cup Finals and finished in second place.
Both teams returned home from Dubai to the Al Charron National Training Center in Langford, B.C. to prepare for the Games while training under strict COVID-19 protocols.
Rugby sevens made its Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Team Canada won the first-ever Olympic bronze medal in women’s rugby sevens at those Games. Six players who were on that bronze-medal winning team will be returning to play in Tokyo this summer. Canada’s own Ghislaine Landry was the number two scorer in the entire Rio 2016 Olympic tournament with 41 points (5 tries, 8 conversions). The Canadian men did not qualify for Rio 2016, and therefore will be making their Olympic debut in Tokyo.
The women’s team is also the reigning Pan American Games champions from Lima 2019, after defending the gold medal won at home at TORONTO 2015. Team Canada’s men’s team won the silver medal at Lima 2019.
“Rugby sevens captured our hearts and imaginations during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and maybe even took some by surprise,” said Team Canada’s Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission, Marnie McBean. “Now these teams are packed with veteran players and we, as spectators, know to eagerly anticipate the speed and agility that these athletes will display in Tokyo. We’ve already talked about it in our house – I can’t wait for our six-year-old to watch rugby on TV!”
Both the men’s and women’s Olympic tournaments begin with the 12 teams divided into three pools of four for a preliminary round robin. The top eight teams advance to the knockout stage, beginning with the quarterfinals. The semifinal winners play in the gold medal game while the semifinal losers play for bronze. Men’s rugby sevens will take place July 26 to July 28 (Days 3 to 5) and women’s rugby sevens is slated for July 29 to July 31 (Days 6 to 8). Both tournaments will be played at the Tokyo Stadium.
The athletes and coaches nominated are:
Phil Berna (Vancouver, B.C.)
Connor Braid (Victoria, B.C.)
Andrew Coe (Markham, Ont.)
Justin Douglas (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Mike Fuailefau (Victoria, B.C.)
Lucas Hammond (Toronto, Ont.)
Nathan Hirayama (Richmond, B.C.)
Harry Jones (West Vancouver, B.C.)
Patrick Kay (Duncan, B.C.)
Matt Mullins (Belleville, Ont.)
Theo Sauder (Vancouver, B.C.)
Jake Thiel (Abbotsford, B.C.)
Conor Trainor (Vancouver, B.C.)
Henry Paul (Auckland, NZ) – Head Coach
Elissa Alarie (Trois-Rivières, Que.)
Olivia Apps (Lindsay, Ont.)
Britt Benn (Napanee, Ont.)
Pamphinette Buisa (Gatineau, Que.)
Bianca Farella (Montreal, Que.)
Julia Greenshields (Sarnia, Ont.)
Ghislaine Landry (Toronto, Ont.)
Kaili Lukan (Barrie, Ont.)
Kayla Moleschi (Williams Lake, B.C.)
Breanne Nicholas (Blenheim, Ont.)
Karen Paquin (Quebec City, Que.)
Keyara Wardley (Vulcan, Alta.)
Charity Williams (Toronto, Ont.)
Mick Byrne (Noosa Beach, Australia) – Head Coach
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
The latest Team Canada Tokyo 2020 roster can be found here and the qualification tracker can be found here.