Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Talent Runs Deep in Canada Women's Sevens, Darling Seen as Star in the Making

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Talent Runs Deep in Canada Women's Sevens, Darling Seen as Star in the Making

Article excerpt

Talent runs deep in Canada women's sevens

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Depth, an issue for the Canadian men's rugby sevens squad, has not been a problem for Canadian women's coach John Tait recently.

After missing some players for the season-opening event in Dubai, where Canada finished a disappointing sixth, Tait had more than he needed in Sydney. And he believes he has a star in the making in 20-year-old Hannah Darling.

Tait took 14 down to Australia, dropping two players to get to the 12-woman tournament squad. He could have taken 15, calling Caroline Crossley "a bit unlucky" not to make the travelling squad.

After finishing runner-up in its pool to powerful New Zealand, Canada tightened its defence on Day 2 and dispatched Russia 26-5 and Olympic champion Australia 12-7 before downing the Americans 21-17 in the final for its second Cup win in the last three tournaments.

Tait pointed to squad depth as a key factor.

"It's one of the big things that helped us with the result (in Sydney)," he said. "We were able to really manage the minutes of some of the younger players and get them on the field -- at crucial times -- pretty fresh for Day 2 considering how hot it was. It was good to be able to spread that kind of workload across the 12 over the two days. It made a big difference for us when we got in those tight minutes against Australia and the U.S.A."

As an example, Tait used veteran Ashley Steacy off the bench on Day 1 and started her on Day 2. It meant he had one of his best and most experienced defenders fresh for key games, helping create turnovers that kickstarted the Canadian offence.

Bianca Farella started Day 1 in the forwards then came off the bench on Day 2 with Darling getting the start.

"Different lineups -- some of them were matchup-driven but a lot of it was just trying to balance the workload because the heat and humidity was so strong down there, we knew we couldn't overplay seven or eight girls. …

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