DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — South Africa's men and Australia's women won the Dubai Sevens in style Saturday, with both sides going unbeaten at the first stop of the 2022 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Both finals were one-sided
The Blitzboks thumped the U.S. 42-7 for their eighth Dubai title, with Ronald Brown named player of the final after scoring three tries and adding five conversions. Australia spoiled Fiji's first ever trip to a cup final, dominating in a 22-7 win.
The Canadian women finished eighth while the men were 11th.
Both Canadian teams have gone through extensive turnover since the Tokyo Olympics, where the men finished eighth and the women ninth.
The first of two Dubai events was played behind closed doors at the Sevens Stadium. The second event, which starts next Friday, will welcome spectators back.
South Africa continued the form it showed in September, winning both events of the pandemic-truncated 2021 men's season in Vancouver and Edmonton.
In Dubai, the Blitzboks beat Ireland, Japan, Britain, Australia and Argentina en route to the final. South Africa, which has won 18 straight games on the World Series, outscored its opposition 199-50.
The Australian women won all five of their matches, outscoring the opposition 163-39 with only France providing a challenge in a 24-22 loss to the Aussies. Australia's Charlotte Caslick was named player of the final.
France won the women's bronze, blanking Russia 40-0. Olympic bronze medallist Argentina won the men's bronze, defeating Olympic champion Fiji 19-12 to avenge their 26-14 semifinal loss at the Tokyo Games.
The Canadian women, who lost 28-26 to Fiji on a late try in pool play Friday, finished with a 1-4-0 record.
After completing play Friday with a 21-17 win over Ireland, they were beaten 24-7 by Britain and 17-10 by Russia before falling 17-7 to the U.S. in the seventh-place playoff. Olivia de Couvreur scored the lone Canadian try against the Americans with captain Breanne Nicholas adding the conversion.
After losing to Australia, Fiji and France on Day 1, the Canadian men were dumped 45-14 by Spain before dispatching Japan 22-14 in the 11th-place playoff after running up a 17-0 halftime lead..
Nicholas Allen and Theo Sauder each scored two tries for Canada against Japan while Cooper Coats added a conversion.
Due to the pandemic, the 2021 women's season was cancelled although the Canadian women took part in two mini-events — in Vancouver and Edmonton in September — with several top teams unable to take part because of travel restrictions.
New Zealand’s men’s and women’s teams, the 2020 Series champions, and the Samoan men aren't participating in Dubai due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2021.
The Canadian Press