The SA Select Women’s Sevens fought hard against Canada’s Maple Leafs in their gold medal match at BC Place early on Sunday morning, going down 33-0 against the unbeaten outfit.
Despite the defeat, SA Select Women’s Sevens coach Renfred Dazel and captain Marithy Pienaar said the Vancouver Rugby Festival served as solid preparation for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong in April.
The team won three of their six matches on the opening two days of the tournament at the UBC Rugby fields, and their points’ differential booked them a place in the gold medal match at BC Place – the home of the HSBC Canada Sevens – against the top team in the Elite Women’s division.
Dazel’s team’s best efforts, however, were not good enough against the home side that continued their fine form on the final day, which allowed the Maple Leafs to finish the competition with 187 points scored and only 15 conceded in their seven matches.
“This tournament served as fantastic preparation for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong next month,” said Dazel.
“The girls played out of their boots even though the score at BC Place didn’t reflect that. That said, we really cherished the opportunity to play on the main field at the Canada Sevens and especially in front of such a big crowd.”
Dazel said one of the main positives was the fighting spirit his team showed despite the Maple Leafs being in top form, while he singled out their defence as one of the areas that they have to improve before the World Series Qualifier.
“We entered the game with three youngsters in the starting line-up after losing two players on the second day due to concussion, so it was always going to be a tough task (in the gold medal match),” said Dazel.
“But the girls gave everything and played until the final whistle, which is pleasing. We need to work on our defence going forward, but fortunately we can fix that.”
Pienaar also took the positives out of the Vancouver Rugby Festival and said: “For us the main thing is to focus on the processes on the field, and as team, we feel we made a step-up on the final day compared to the first two days play.
“That said we will work harder to fine-tune the areas of our game that requires work when we get back onto the training field.
“If we can compare ourselves to the best constantly, it would be fantastic, and that is what we are working towards by trying to play our way back onto the World Series.”
The SA Select Women will have a week off to rest and recover when they return home, and will then have two-and-a-half weeks to prepare for the World Series Qualifier.