Surrey’s Julia Sugawara wins World Cup silver

PARIS, FRANCE — Four years ago, the national rugby team finished a "disappointing" sixth place. This year, the team made it to the final.

Canada lost 21-9 to England in the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup on Aug. 17 in the French capital.

Julia Sugawara, Semiahmoo Secondary graduate and Team Canada veteran, made the World Cup team for the third consecutive time.

Sugawara, who plays club with Burnaby Lake, said the national team has a lot to be proud of.

"It feels bittersweet at the moment, but as time passes, it feels better and better," Sugawara wrote in an email to the Now. "It was tough to be so close to taking the cup and not win the match, but we achieved so much just getting to the final."

Prior to leaving for the tournament, Sugawara said she wanted to "bring home a souvenir" from France.

"I think I would have preferred that big shiny drinking vessel that was hanging around our pitch during the last game, but I’m ecstatic to have gotten to play in a world cup final and receive that silver medal," wrote Sugawara.

"That game will be one of my best memories of playing rugby, despite its outcome. I am so thankful to all the fans at home that cheered for us, sent us messages and supported us throughout this whole journey," Sugawara added.

Being the best second-place team in the tournament after the round robin, Team Canada qualified for the semifinal, where they played the hosts in a nailbiter.

Canada led late in the game, but France scored a try and had the opportunity to tie the game with a conversion.

"Once she missed (the conversion) and we saw how little time was left and how close we were to winning, we were determined to play smart and continue to keep them off the scoreboard until that whistle," Sugawara wrote.

Despite getting a tie in their round-robin game, Team Canada was unable to keep up with England.

Prior to this tournament, Canada’s best finish at the world cup was fourth.

kyle.benning@gmail.com

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