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Canadian women win all three matches on Day 1 of Dubai Rugby Sevens

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Bianca Farella scored four tries and Julia Greenshields added three more as Canada won all three of its games Thursday on Day 1 of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens.

Greenshields collected her three in Canada’s 38-7 opening win over Fiji. Farella, who scored one try against Fiji, recorded a hat trick in a 29-7 victory over Spain.

Britt Benn and Kaili Lukan then scored their second tries of the day in a 21-14 win over France that gave the Canadians first place in Pool C. 

John Tait’s team will face Ireland in the Cup quarterfinals Friday. The Irish (2-1-0) finished runner-up in Pool A, giving New Zealand a good run for its money before going down 24-17. 

New Zealand and England went unbeaten in winning the other two groups.

The other Cup quarterfinals are New Zealand versus Russia, U.S. versus France and England versus Australia.

The Canada-Ireland winner will face the England-Australia victor in the semifinals.

Canada is coming off a third-place finish in Glendale, Colo, the first stop of the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series. The Canadian women went 5-1 in Glendale, losing 28-19 New Zealand in the Cup semifinal before beating France 28-0.

The Canadian men, whose pre-season preparations were interrupted by a labour dispute with Rugby Canada, open their season Friday in Dubai in a pool with Australia, England and Japan.

The Canadian women finished fourth in the overall standings in a disappointing injury-plagued 2017-18 season. Tait’s team had placed third in four of the previous five campaigns. Canada was second in 2014-15.

The Canadian men were ninth last year. Their previous best finish on the circuit was sixth.

A top-four finish this season means automatic qualification for the 2020 Olympics. Failure to do that means having to go to a regional qualifier.

The Canadian women won bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics. The men failed to qualify.

The Canadian Press