24 Sevens: Canada-Black Ferns rivalry becomes a trilogy in episode four

As episode four of 24 Sevens is released, World Rugby takes a look back at Canada’s attempt to topple New Zealand at the HSBC Sydney Sevens 2020.

Canada Women were able to resume team training last week as the squad’s gaze begins to refocus on the rearranged Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Restrictions remain in place in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19, and, as players adjust to their new routines, they will know the importance of harnessing some of the momentum they had built up prior to the pandemic.

New Zealand were undoubtedly the team of the truncated 2019-20 season, winning four HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series events in a row. But Canada were right on their heels.

The Canadians headed into the HSBC Sydney Sevens at the beginning of February having competed in two of the previous three World Series Cup finals.

Canada’s path to gold was blocked in both Dubai and Hamilton by the Black Ferns Sevens, but those results had helped the North Americans close the gap in the standings on second-place Australia.

And there was little time to dwell on the result in Hamilton as the World Series headed straight to Sydney where, as episode four of 24 Sevens shows, the players were keen to enjoy some well-deserved down time.

“The back-to-backs are a bit tough on the body, so it’s nice to come out,” Brittany Benn said as she visited an animal sanctuary.

“We work hard and sometimes it’s just nice to get off the pitch, out of the hotel and catch some sun, since we don’t get the rays back home during this month much, and just spend some time with the girls and have a good time while we are out here.”

Spending time with koalas and kangaroos clearly had a restorative impact on the squad, as Canada kicked off the Sydney Sevens with a 33-10 win over Brazil and 20-14 defeat of Fiji.

Day two began with continental bragging rights as Bianca Farella, Ghislaine Landry and Charity Williams all crossed the whitewash to secure a 21-7 victory against the USA.

‘We’re just a great big family’

That result set up a semi-final against Australia, and the Canadians showed little sign of fatigue at Bankwest Stadium. 

Keyara Wardley scored two second-half tries to add to scores from Landry, Farella, Kaili Lukan and Karen Paquin as the hosts were beaten 34-0 in a statement win.

A second successive Cup final appearance, and third in four World Series events, was theirs but standing between them and glory would yet again be New Zealand.

The Black Ferns Sevens progress had been sealed with victories over Japan, Russia, England and France, and it looked as though the team was as in sync as ever during a stellar season.

“We’re just like a great big family, our management are like Mums and Dads to us, our team-mates are like sisters,” Stacey Fluhler said on 24 Sevens. 

“We live and breathe rugby every single day with each other, so to connect with each other every single day and have a really strong culture, I think that helps our success on the field. Because obviously off it we have that trust we have that connection — and we just love each other!”

Canada began the game strongly with Williams’ try levelling the scores at 7-7 in the seventh minute. But New Zealand would flex their collective muscle in the second half to seal a 33-7 victory.

Are you still catching up on 24 Sevens? Go back to the beginning of our behind the scenes take with episode one >>

Last updated: Jun 15, 2020 8:08:32 PM
Women's Rugby World Cup trophy
Women's Rugby World Cup News Tournament News Women in Rugby mz-advisory women-news-2021 RWC2021
Date set for Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw
Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw will take place in Auckland on Friday, 20 November, 2020
Emily Scarratt breaks French line
Women's News Tournament News Women in Rugby women-news-regions
Women’s Six Nations: What’s to play for
With the Women’s Six Nations 2020 set to resume, we take a look at what’s at stake for the competing nations.
Photo of Andrea Di Giandomenico,  Italy Women head coach, talking to his players after the 2020 Women's Six Nations match between Wales and Italy at Cardiff Arms Park
Women's Men's Rugby World Cup News Women in Rugby women-news-2021 RWC2021
Six Nations, Autumn Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup qualifiers: Steyn and Franco on Italy’s return to international rugby
Braam Steyn and a youthful-looking Azzurri side are ready to cause an upset as international rugby resumes. Giada Franco and her Azzurre teammates have it all to play for as RWC 2021 qualification looms. Here both players reveal their preparations for an exciting series of fixtures.
Photo of the Women's Six Nations Trophy
Women's News Women in Rugby
Take our Women's Six Nations quiz
How much do you know about the northern hemisphere’s premier women’s international competition?
Ireland v Wales - Guinness Six Nations
Women's News Tournament News Women in Rugby women-news-2021 RWC2021
Ireland plotting Six Nations, Autumn Nations Cup and Rugby World Cup qualification success
Andy Farrell and Adam Griggs face a busy few months as Ireland’s men and women each compete on two fronts.
RWC 2017 - New Zealand v Hong Kong, Portia Woodman
Women's News Awards Women in Rugby
Vote for the World Rugby 15s Players of the Decade
Rugby fans across the world have up until 25 October, 2020 to vote for their World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Players of the Decade.
Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu
Women's News Women in Rugby women-news-regions women-news-power
Heather-Latu makes history as first woman chair of Oceania Rugby judiciary
Taulapapa Brenda Heather-Latu speaks about her love of rugby and the honour of becoming the first woman chair of Oceania Rugby’s Judicial Committee.
World Rugby Awards Special Edition - Voting
Women's Sevens Men's News Awards Women in Rugby
World Rugby Awards Special Edition: Fans’ Choice voting now open!
Voting will remain open until 25 October, as supporters are given the opportunity to have their say on six Fans’ Choice categories at a special virtual edition of the World Rugby Awards.
Beth Onesemo at a Pacific Region meeting
Women's News Women in Rugby women-news-regions women-news-power
Beth Onesemo striving for gender equity in Samoan rugby
The World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient, who serves on the Samoa Rugby Union board, believes attitudes are beginning to change for the better.
World Rugby logo - one to use for generic releases
Women's Sevens Men's News Women in Rugby mz-advisory women-news-power
Players, female leaders and greater global representation on interim World Rugby committees
Rassie Erasmus, Melodie Robinson, Conrad Smith and Bryan Habana are among a host of leading players and coaches who have been appointed to World Rugby interim committees.