Julianne Zussman scored a try with the last play of the game to snatch an 11-6 victory for Canada in their second Test with France in Amnéville on Tuesday and ensure the series ended all square at 1-1.
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 hosts France had won the first encounter 27-19 in Pontarlier on Saturday and both sides now head to England for one-off Tests, France first up on Saturday and Twickenham and then Canada on 13 November at the Twickenham Stoop.
In soggy conditions at the Stade Municipal, Canada took a slender 6-3 lead into half-time with two penalties from Jackie Tittley cancelling out Jessy Trémoulière’s effort for the home side.
Trémoulière tied things up within minutes of the restart but in the difficult conditions neither side was able to put points on the board until Zussman ran the ball in from the halfway line to the delight of her teammates.
“We never stopped playing, we created a great volume of play and we were rewarded at the end after multiple phases of play,” said Canada coach Francois Ratier.
Forwards coach Gary Dukelow was also pleased with the improvement from the opening match when Canada gave themselves a mountain to climb by going 12-0 down early on.
“We recognised from the first game that we had to win at the breakdown and we focused on that while preparing for this game. To beat the French you must at least match them in the scrum and we dominated.”
In the first match, France captain Marie-Alice Yahé had given her side the perfect start with a third minute try and before 15 minutes were on the clock the lead had grown to 12-0 with centre Shanon Izar touching down.
Canada did get on the board through wing Bianca Farella, who weaved her way through half the French defence to score the first of her two tries in the match, but the hosts hit back again with Izar’s second to lead 19-7 at half-time.
That quickly became 24-7 with Audrey Parra scoring a fourth try for France but Canada kept battling and were rewarded with tries from Sevens star Magali Harvey and Farella, leaving Ratier frustrated “because we could have won today”.
France now turn their attentions to facing England at Twickenham, a venue they became the first side to beat England with a 30-20 win in the Six Nations earlier this year. Canada then tackle their WRWC 2014 Pool A opponents England hoping to finish the year on a high.