Canada signalled their intentions to be among the title contenders at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 with an emphatic nine-try, 51-7 victory over neighbours USA at Shawnigan Lake School on Tuesday.
The first of two matches between the North American rivals making up the Can-Am Series are being held as part of Canada’s two-week selection camp to help coach Francois Ratier with preparations for the World Cup, which is being held in France from 1-17 August.
Canada started strongly and never looked in danger after second row Kayla Mack beat two defenders to score the opening try, continually able to get the ball away from the contact point quickly and utilise the space they created out wide.
The back three caused problems all day for the Women’s Eagles with their creative lines and angles of attack creating the gaps to score with full back Julianne Zussman claiming a hat-trick, wing Magali Harvey a brace and replacement flyer Jessica Dovanne two tries.
Mandy Marchak scored Canada’s other try with the Women’s Eagles only response a try late in the second half from Meya Bizer. It will take a massive turnaround in fortunes to prevent Canada from lifting the trophy on Saturday at Westhills Stadium in Langford.
“We stuck to the game plan. We wanted to move the ball and we wanted to win at the contact areas. We did that today, so I am pleased by the result,” admitted Ratier. “More, I am pleased with the performance; we are going to try and be consistent and do it again on Saturday.”
Moving on to next match
Canada captain Kelly Russell added: “The game went really well for us, it was great work for the girls with the vision on the field and attacking the gaps. We didn’t want to play a congested style of rugby and we wanted the game to flow and get it out wide and we were able to do that.
“Our defence was great, there are still a couple of things to find tune, especially getting lower at the breakdown point and particularly at the maul, but for the most part we got our shoulder in and made some positive tackles, which was great.”
USA coach Pete Steinberg knows his team have work to do after suffering their heaviest ever loss to Canada, but it already looking forward as they continue to build towards the showpiece of the Women’s Game.
“Canada played a wide and fast game and that was something that we couldn’t keep up with,” admitted Steinberg, whose side scored four tries in the first half off turnovers. “They did a great job and it showed that we need to make some changes heading into Saturday.
“We struggled and they capitalised. We had glimpses of really great play, but couldn’t string together series of play to make it work.
“We talked about what lies ahead of us. That game is done and now we look forward to Saturday. Our goal is to grow from every game and this outcome makes it no different.”