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Canmore rugby star's explosive play helps Canada get bronze

Canmore rugby player, Canada take bronze over top-ranked team
Canada's Krissy Scurfield runs in a try during the 2024 HSBC SVNS Series in Vancouver (Feb. 23-25). RUGBY CANADA PHOTO

VANCOUVER – If the recently won rugby sevens medal by Canada over the top-ranked team says anything, it’s that anything can happen.

The national women’s team, with star-in-the-making wing Krissy Scurfield of Canmore, defeated Australia 19-14 to win bronze on Sunday (Feb. 25) at the HSBC SVNS Series from Vancouver, in what was a good preparation for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games.

With lightning-quick speed, Scurfield is one of the league’s top try scorers this year. She’s leading Canada with 13 tries and is tied for ninth for most overall this season.

In Vancouver, she added four more tries against top-competition, including a tone-setting score in the opening minute of the bronze medal match. Scurfield received a pass and brushed off Australia’s Maddison Levi with a right-hand fend in the opening seconds before sprinting 65 metres down the pitch and flipping in for the try.

“I saw [teammate] Chloe Daniels, one of the best playmakers in the world in there, and I honestly wanted her to go for a kick, but then the gap opened up for me," she said. "She gave it right in front of me. Then I just knew I had to run about [50] metres to the try line, so gave it all I got.”

Jack Hanratty, head coach of the women’s sevens national team, said the Vancouver series was a “good time” to have pressure be on the team, with the home crowd eyes on them.

He said it was “really special” to deliver on expectations with the bronze, and if the team wants to be considered medal contenders for the 2024 Paris Olympics then they have to be able to get on the podium at HSBC SVNS Series.

In an August 2023 interview with the Outlook, Scurfield said medalling at the Games is "very achievable."

“We have to put the work in each and every day to get that medal around our neck," she said.

Team Canada started the Vancouver SVNS with a 26-14 loss Friday (Feb. 23) to France before they bounced back with a 38-0 victory against Great Britain.

The next day, the Canadian women went undefeated, beating Spain (22-5) and then quarterfinals opponent USA (12-10). It was only the second time in Scurfield’s career Canada had advanced to the semis in a HSBC SVNS Series tournament.

However, Canada matched up against the powerhouse Kiwis out of New Zealand in a 15-7 losing effort on Sunday (Feb. 25). New Zealand went on to win the tournament, with a 35-19 victory over France.

Canada took the top-ranked Aussies in the bronze medal match. The team never trailed in the match enroute to the podium, the first of Scurfield’s career. Following the tourney, Scurfield was named to her second consecutive Dream Team, which is the top seven players of the tournament.

After the tournament, she received high praise from her coach.

“I think she could be the best player in the world. I really mean that,” said Hanratty to the Outlook

“Her raw athleticism is incredible and she does everything at 100 miles an hour … I think her ceiling is – we don’t know what it is yet because of the pure athleticism and determination, the person she is, I think it should be a really exciting time for your hometown because Krissy is just riding high at the moment.”

Athletically there are a few things that make Scurfield a special player. Not only does she have jet fuel in her boots, but she hits like a truck, too.

“We talk about our athletes being playmakers, being speedsters, being power, but Krissy is speed and power,” said Hanratty. “If she needs to make a big impact tackle she can do it and she can also finish. It’s incredible to have both those skills.”

He added one of Scurfield’s biggest strengths recently is poaching or stealing the ball from the opposing player – a crucial skill in the 14-minute long match.

Based on the strong season, Australia is currently leading the series with 72 points. The top eight teams will participate in a playoffs at the Grand Final to determine the season winner.

Canada is tied in fourth with 48 points with the United States.

The next SVNS tournament is this weekend (March 1-3) in Los Angeles.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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