Canada breezed through the 2019 Rugby Americas North Olympic qualifier to confirm their place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Going to the Cayman Islands, Canada were tipped as tournament favourites being the only elite team in the competition with the exception of Jamaica, the defending champions whom they hammered 40-5 in the final of the regional qualifying event.
Interim coach Henry Paul’s confidence in his charges paid off, as they dominated their opponents, winning all six matches and scoring 293 points overall while conceding three tries.
They join their female counterpart in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, which will be welcome news to Rugby Canada.
After the event, The Canadian Press quoted an elated player Harry Jones as saying: “A lot of us have been grinding for this for a very long time. There’s a lot of boys back home back as well that should be here too.
“We have five or six boys that are injured and not able to be here. They’re on that field with us.”
— Rugby Canada (@RugbyCanada) July 7, 2019
Canada’s journey has not been a walk in the park having released two coaches since failing to qualify for the Olympic via the HSBC World Sevens Series, in which the top four teams qualified for Tokyo – Fiji, United States, New Zealand and South Africa.
“I’ve seen the disappointments in the past from team Canada,” said Paul to The Canadian Press. “Not anyone’s fault, I just think things worked against them. But this time we tried to do things differently.”
With Argentina winning the Sudamerica rugby sevens earlier, Canada became the second men’s team to book a place in 2020 Tokyo through the Olympic qualifying tournaments.
Main photo: Rugby Canada