International Women’s Rugby Series 2017

June 09 2017

Karen Paquin - Canada

Canada Lose to NZ 28-16: England Defeat Australia 53-10

posted June 9 2017
[ed. comments below]

NZ finished a disappointing 5th in the last world cup after they were upset by Ireland in the pool round. They are however ranked #1 in the world based on previous results. They proved it tonight by defeating #3 Canada, 28-16 with Canada scoring a second try at the whistle. Unfortunately Canada have drawn NZ in their pool so may have to rely on getting the 4th spot in the three pool tournament to make the final four.

The result never really looked in doubt as NZ scored first and second and maintained the lead throughout. Canada clawed one back before half on a beautiful team try but the score at half was 14-5. The scoreline reflected the reality that NZ did all the little things better including hitting their conversions. They were more precise with their passing, better at the breakdown, more dangerous outside, more accurate at the lineout and had more players able to create impact plays. The one area Canada shone was at the scrum and that's down to BC's Gary Dukelow. If Canada ever regains control of the men's XVs program they should beg Gary Dukelow to be the scrum coach. He is the Canadian equivalent of NZ's scrum doctor Mike Cron.

As expected the Canadian forwards matched up well but it was danger when it went outside. NZ's first try was a result of turnover ball in the backs, simple defensive line speed flustered the Canadian backs and led to a turnover which led to a try. Canada are predictable when it goes wide with sequential passes to the outside, something NZ easily countered by cutting off the passing lane with defensive line speed. Many times players would pass by rote outside of them even when the pass receiver was clearly covered and in a worse position. It was the same with offloads where players would pass by rote and not look at the receiver who sometimes was wearing black. It will take an extraordinary game by Canada to defeat the Black Ferns at the World Cup.

NZ were more potent at the breakdown as well with Canada's larger tight five forwards sometimes unable to clear out NZ's smaller loose forwards who had better body position and technique. Sarah Goss in particular was a menace at #7. It was interesting to note that NZ's 7s players including Goss looked sharper than Canada's players like Paquin, Russell and Harvey who had given up 7s to concentrate on XVs. The debate still continues on which system is better but Sarah Goss made a strong argument for playing both to keep sharp.

England easily defeated Australia who are the low team in this competition. Canada will be heavily favoured to win that matchup but England will be another tight contest. The England match is up next on Tuesday, NZ time, or Monday evening (5:30pm), BC time.

from Rugby Canada

Canada opened its International Women’s Rugby Series campaign with a 28-16 defeat to New Zealand at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

Kendra Cocksedge had two tries for the Black Ferns while Jacey Grusnick and Elissa Alarie had Canada’s tries.

Kiwi captain Fiao’o Faamausili opened the scoring in the fifth minute but Canada replied in positive fashion — Edmonton’s Chelsea Guthrie tackled just meters from the line.

Despite some good Canadian pressure, the Black Ferns extended its lead to 14-0 as fullback Selica Winiata collected her own grubber kick to touch down.

However, Canada found life in the 37th minute as Jacey Grusnick finished off an outstanding team move that started inside the Canadian 22 before Magali Harvey’s penalty cut the Black Ferns’ lead to 14-8 at the break.

The hosts pushed its lead to 21-8 five minutes into the second half as she was benefactor of some great work by the forwards, diving over only a few meters from the line.

After Harvey’s penalty cut the deficit to 21-11, Cocksedge was in again in the 55th minute — after Victoria Subritsky-Nafatali had been sinbinned for a high tackle — as she exploited a hole in the Canadian defence for a 28-11 lead.

Canada were rewarded at the death though as Alarie was able to dive over in the corner after some sustained pressure but it wasn't enough as the top ranked Kiwis maintained their perfect record against Canada as they move to 12-0.

Canada returns to action on June 12 against England at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT LIVE on

Canada Face New Zealand on Friday: Rosters Annnounced

posted June 7 2017
[ed. comments below]

Two of the top teams in women's rugby go head to head Friday in Wellington, NZ prior to the Hurricanes v Chiefs Super Rugby match.

Based on previous form Canada's forwards should match up well but NZ will likely have an advantage in the backs. Portia Woodman is a legend of the game and it will be up to Elissa Alarie or Magali Harvey to keep her in check on the outside.

New Zealand have a few players who were kept back from the latest 7s tournament in Langford to prepare for this XVs series, including three starters Portia Woodman, Sarah Goss and Kelly Brazier. NZ ended up winning the tournament without them. Canada on the other hand don't share players between their XVs and 7s programs, Magali Harvey, Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell being dedicated to XVs now.

The four team tournament (Canada, NZ, England, Australia) is in preparation for the World Cup in Ireland starting August 9th.

The game is streamed live on at 10pm (Thurs) PT.

from Rugby Canada

Canada’s senior women’s head coach Francois Ratier has named his starting XV for the International Women’s Rugby Series opener against New Zealand.

Kelly Russell captains a team that has a wealth of experience as No. 3 ranked Canada faces the top ranked Black Ferns.

“Our preparation has been very good,” Ratier said. “It's the right country to be in when you want to be exposed to rugby.”

Friday’s game is a precursor to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in August when the two sides will meet in the pool stages of the tournament.

“We don't approach it this way as being crucial,” Ratier said. “It's another international game versus a top nation.

“We take it as a challenge where we need to perform and continue to build our rugby.”

Carolyn McEwen, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin start in the front row for Canada with Tyson Beukeboom and Kayla Mack at lock. Jacey Grusnick and Karen Paquin start at flanker with Kelly Russell at No. 8.

Edmonton’s Chelsea Guthrie starts at scrum-half with Emily Belchos at fly-half. Elissa Alarie and Magali Harvey start on the wings while Amanda Thornborough and Brittany Waters get the nod in centre. Julianne Zussman starts at fullback.

Canada will be without Andrea Burk and Latoya Blackwood who miss out due to injury.

“The most important thing is the strength of the team, individuals can change the game but it doesn't affect the dynamic,” Ratier said.

Canada will also face England and Australia in the tournament, the final warmup before the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Friday’s game can be seen LIVE on at 1am ET/10pm PT.

Canada’s Roster vs. New Zealand (Name, club, hometown):

1. Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Vancouver, BC
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. DaLeaka Menin (Hornets) Vulcan, AB
4. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)
5. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
6. Jacey Grusnick, Barrhaven Scottish (Alliston, ON)
7. Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (Quebec City, QC)
8. Kelly Russell, captain Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
9. Chelsea Guthrie (Stratchona Druids) Edmonton, AB
10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
11. Elissa Alarie, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
12. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
13. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)
14. Magali Harvey, Town of Mont-Royal RFC (Quebec City, QC)
15. Julianne Zussman (Castaway Wanderers) Montreal, QC
16. Jane Kirby (Highland RFC) Brampton, ON
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
19. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)
22. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
23. Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC

Unavailable due to Injury:

Latoya Blackwood, Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)

International Women's Rugby Series Schedule:

Friday, 9 June - Wellington

Black Ferns vs. Canada
Australia vs. England

Tuesday, 13 June - Christchurch

Black Ferns vs. Australia
Canada vs. England

Saturday, 17 June - Rotorua

Black Ferns vs. England
Australia vs. Canada

from NZ Rugby

The Black Ferns side to take on Canada at Westpac Stadium this Friday in their first Test of the International Women’s Rugby Series has been named by Coach Glenn Moore today.

The team is (number of caps in brackets):
1. Pip Love (1)
2. Fiao’o Faamausili - captain (44)
3. Aleisha Nelson (20)
4. Eloise Blackwell (24)
5. Charmaine Smith (8)
6. Rawinia Everitt (19)
7. Sarah Goss (2)
8. Aroha Savage (22)
9. Kendra Cocksedge (34)
10. Victoria Subritsky-Nafatali (11)
11. Renee Wickliffe (24)
12. Kelly Brazier (29)
13. Stacey Waaka (3)
14. Portia Woodman (8)
15. Selica Winiata (24)

16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (12)
17. Toka Natua (8)
18. Aldora Itunu (8)
19. Linda Itunu (29)
20. Lesley Ketu (3)
21. Kristina Sue (4)
22. Honey Hireme (15)
23. Theresa Fitzpatrick#

#Test debut

Moore said the team was a mix of experienced players, newer faces and players returning from injury.

Prop Pip Love returns after injury ruled her out of the 2016 season. Stacey Waaka is back in the starting XV after an impressive Black Ferns debut in 2015 at just 20 was stalled by injury last year. Experienced forwards Les Ketu and Linda Itunu are also back after missing selection due to injury in 2016, and utility back and Black Ferns Sevens player Theresa Fitzpatrick will make her debut from the bench.

Moore said selections had been based on form which had shone through during the team trial last month and preparation in the tough, wet conditions in Wellington this week.

“Overall it’s a very strong and experienced side. We’ve had some terrible weather to train in but they have continued to work hard and maintain their focus.

“Everyone is ready to play and we’re hoping for a dry track. The feeling in the camp is buoyant and there’s a level of excitement having everyone back together. Everyone is looking forward to playing and excited the series is in New Zealand.

The Black Ferns last played Canada during their 2016 end of year tour in the United Kingdom and beat them by 10 points 20-10.

“I expect the Canadians, who are ranked third in the world, to have a good crack at us up front. They had a good scrum last year and they certainly have some great athletes with strength, power and pace," Moore said.

Kick-off for Friday’s international Test match at Westpac Stadium is at 5pm, prior to the Hurricanes v Chiefs Investec Super Rugby match.


09 Jun - Australia v England - Porirua Park - 12:30 PM
09 Jun - Black Ferns v Canada - Wellington - 5:00 PM
13 Jun - Canada v England - Rugby Park, Christchurch - 12:30 PM
13 Jun - Black Ferns v Australia - Rugby Park, Christchurch - 2:45 PM
17 Jun - Australia v Canada - Rotorua - 12:30 PM
17 Jun - Black Ferns v England - Rotorua - 4:15 PM

Black Ferns v England Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua (followed by Maori All Blacks v British & Irish Lions)

Please note the Black Ferns and Australia will be playing for the Laurie O'Reilly Memorial Trophy.

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