Canada's women keen to make up for Dubai
Canada women's Sevens coach John Tait tells us why his side are desperate to make up for the disappointed of Dubai this weekend in Houston.
By their own high standards, Canada under-performed in Dubai, finishing sixth overall and they are keen to make up for it this weekend in round two of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series.
"We have clear goals in Houston. The first is to perform in each game to a high standard and the second is to get into the top four to ensure a favourable seeding at the World Cup later this year," insisted Tait.
"We didn't accomplish either of these in Dubai but a positive we took from it is that although we turned over a lot of ball, we still managed to be within a score of winning all of our matches."
The competition in Houston, which kicks off at the BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday, sees Canada matched with nearest rivals USA in their pool as well as Dubai finalists South Africa and newcomers Argentina. Tait is predicting a tough few games for his team on the opening day.
"Obviously it is always a tough match against the USA and we've had some great battles in Las Vegas and Amsterdam last year and were lucky enough to come away with wins. They are a well-coached team and have some dangerous threats with the ball in open play.
"South Africa can be a difficult team to play against with the speed they have on the outside, but we will look to keep the possession against them and not allow their speedsters too much ball. Argentina is a first time match-up for us so we will just look to concentrate on what our strengths are and play an up tempo game with them."
More access to players
Like his USA counterpart Ric Suggitt, Tait has had much greater access to his team in recent months with around 20 players having moved to Canada's National Training Centre of Excellence in Langford. The players receive Sports Canada Athlete Assistance by way of a bursary to help offset their expenses, but most are juggling their training with part-time work and studies.
"It's been great to get the team together in one place more often," Tait said.
"The support the players get here allows them to train more and concentrate on their development by supplementing their income with some rent money. With a country as big as ours and with limited rugby resources it is necessary for us to train together as much as possible in order to compete with countries who have better resources."
And Tait believes that in the future, keeping the squad together will make a massive difference.
"The biggest difference it makes for the entire support staff and myself is having the daily interaction with the athletes to help monitor and plan around their development. Trying to do this remotely in the past, no matter how dedicated the individuals, has seen limited results on and off the field so it is an exciting time for us."
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