Canada rugby sevens woman take gold in Pan American Games.

By Machuki Sundaa

Canada celebrated a successful campaign at the 2019 Pan American Games with the women winning gold and the men grabbing silver

In a fine display of tact and skill, Canada beat the USA 24-10 to defend their title in the women’s event, while Asia Hogan-Rochester carried the day with a hat-trick of tries that cemented the win.

Hogan-Rochester was one of the new faces that made the team and is aiming for a spot in the senior squad for the 2020 Olympics.

“I just got on the team and there are a lot of girls that have been pushing and working towards that [Olympics] but that 12- person roster is definitely something I am interested in,” said Hogan-Rochester was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, I am still developing.”

Women’s sevens coach Morgan Williams praised her charges for their team spirit.

“The girls just really wanted it,” she said. “They played together as a 12 and they have been very tight all week. I could see it before the game, they were up, they were dancing I hadn’t seen that energy in previous games.

“I knew they were going to come out and do something special.”

Meanwhile, the men were unable to sustain the momentum they had built coming into the final, relinquishing the title to Argentina 33 – 10.

Head coach Henry Paul was quoted by Reuters as saying: “From within the group it was: ‘You know what? At least this is not the Olympics’. As a coach you just ask the guys for effort and I thought we had a lot of effort there, we just didn’t react fast enough.

“I think the early try from us really woke them up,”

Despite settling for silver, team captain Nathan Hirayama commended his side for their performance.

“I’m extremely proud,” he said to CBC Sports. “A lot of the young boys got a lot of the playing time this weekend, which is fantastic and I think they played awesome.”

Both squads had new faces from the teams that won gold in 2015. Just two women were back this year to defend the title, captain Kayla Moleschi and Sara Kajulvee while the men’s featured four old faces – Hirayama, Harry Jones, Sean Duke and Admir Cejvanovic.

Main photo: Rugby Canada

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