Women's RWC 2017

August 17 2017


Elissa Alarie - RWC 2017
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NZ Dominant in 48-5 Victory Over Canada: Canada Now Battle for 5th Place


NZ weren't to be denied, they came out and dominated. Their second try at 18 minutes typified that as they just powered through the normally resolute Canadian defence, forwards against forwards and they won. That possession came from an error at the lineout from Canada, NZ would punish all the little mistakes that Canada made during the match. Canada were on their back foot from the beginning and never recovered. The normally reliable Canadian lineout just fell apart under the pressure and gifted NZ free possession.

The difference in attack was telling, NZ would run large forwards around the fringes gaining yards most of the time, when it went wide it would hit a runner at pace challenging the defence. When Canada went wide it was the predictable quick hands outside which NZ knew was coming, they would rush up fast on defence and the pressure often caused a Canadian handling error. The broadcast announcer even remarked that Canada needed to adjust their backline attack to be more direct. Harvey, Canada's best finisher, again languished on the wing not being brought into the play.

The game was sadly over when it was about a quarter way through, 19-0 for NZ and three tries. Even when NZ were down a player they scored a try, their direct running and ability to win almost every contact situation was wearing Canada down. They rarely made handling errors. They added two more tries before half 29-0 and Canada's chance of repeating as World Cup finalists looked very slim indeed.

Canada started the second half better but an errant pass was again punished and NZ kept posession to score their 6th try, 36-0. Latoya Blackwood was one of the few Canadian forwards who was able to hold her own in the physical one on one battles. Canada's lone try was a nice effort that featured their strong offload game, NZ were down a player due to a yellow card at the time but it was vintage Canadian women's rugby - Paquin to Russell to Zussman finished by Grusnick. Unfortunately there wasn't enough of it on the day. After the kickoff one of the Canadian subs dropped a simple pass inside her 22 and NZ pounced on it and scored, story of the day, 41-5 with a player down. NZ added a second try while down a player as Canada had lost all defensive shape with the substitutions.

The USA did what they had to do and gained a bonus point in their loss to England, they'll go through as the fourth place team. Canada will likely claim 5th seed and play the 8th place team. They still have two games left so need to readjust their mental state and tweak their game plan so they can return home with 5th place. How they rebound over the next two matches will tell a lot about the team, it's a massive blow to put in all that work and not reach the desired goal, they need to readjust their sites on 5th and finish strong.



from Rugby Canada

DUBLIN, IRELAND (August 17, 2017) - Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup title dreams came to a disappointing end Thursday, as the Canadians fell 48-5 to four-time champion New Zealand at Billings Park.
Needing at least a bonus point to keep their championship hopes alive, Canada was second best throughout the contest, as the Black Ferns, who are ranked second in the World Rugby rankings, took an early lead and held momentum from start to finish. Canada can no longer reach the semifinals and will compete in the fifth-place semifinals Aug. 22.

Canada, is third in the world rankings, hadn’t allowed a try in their first two contests, outscoring their opposition 113-0, but the Black Ferns provided to be a different challenge and the Canadians never found their footing.

A second-half try from Canada’s Jacey Grusnick was all the offence the Canadians could muster.

Kiwi front-rower Aldora Itunu earned a hat-trick, while Selica Winiata, Kelly Brazier, Stacey Waaka, captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili and Renee Wickliffe each scored once for the Black Ferns. Fa’amausili became the Black Ferns most capped player, as she was playing in her 50th test match.

“New Zealand is physically stronger, tactically stronger and technically stronger,” said Canadian head coach Francois Ratier. “When you face a better team, there’s not much else to say. The Black Ferns played better than us and they deserve the victory. Now, we’ll get some fresh blood in the lineup and prepare the future.”

Winiata opened the scoring in the sixth minute and, from there, New Zealand were in control the rest of the way. Itunu put up two of her three tries before the game reached the half-hour mark and the Kiwis were well on their way.

New Zealand held a 29-0 lead at the break, before outscoring Canada 19-5 in the second half. Canada will now await the results of the other games on Day 3 of the WRWC to determine their next opponent. The Canadians earned a silver medal at the last WRWC in 2014.

After New Zealand missed out on the semifinals in 2014, the Black Ferns will now be in a prime position as they topped Pool A with a 3-0 record and a point differential of +196. Canada remains winless all-time against the Black Ferns in 14 outings.

The Canadians also faced New Zealand earlier this year in the opener of the International Women’s Rugby Series, losing 28-16 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Match Report:
Canada held possession and looked strong in the first five minutes of the opening half, but New Zealand struck first, when the speedy Selica Winiata took a pass from Portia Woodman and did the rest of the work, touching down in the sixth minute.

With the Black Ferns on the front foot, they quickly put Canada under pressure with their pack and New Zealand’s Aldora Itunu plunged over twice in five minutes to put the Kiwis ahead 19-0 through 23 minutes.

Itunu was shown a yellow card for a high tackle in the 28th minute, but the Canadians were unable to take advantage. Instead, Stacey Waaka put another try on the board for New Zealand in the 33rd minute.

Just before the halftime whistle, the Black Ferns Kelly Brazier found her way throught the Canadian defence and wheeled around the outside, scoring New Zealand’s fifth try of the opening half. The second half started similarly to the first half, with Canada pushing towards the Kiwi end early, only to have New Zealand respond with a try from captain Fiao’o Fa’amausili.

The Canadians finally got on the board with a fantastic team try that was finished by Jacey Grusnick in the 61st minute. After several nifty offloads, Grusnick took a final pass from Julianne Zussman before running in untouched.

However, only two minutes later, New Zealand came right back, with Renee Wickliffe scoring to put the Kiwis ahead 41-5.

With just over 10 minutes to play, Itunu completed the hat-trick.

Canada’s Roster to Face New Zealand (name, club, hometown):
1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
4. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
5. Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
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. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)
10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
11. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
12. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
13. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
14. Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)
15. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
19. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)

2017 WRWC Staff:
Francois Ratier- Head Coach
Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach
Colette McAuley- Technical Support
Nicole Crowley- Manager
Shannon Houston – Team Doctor
Brad Curry – Physiotherapist
Jamie McCartney – Strength & Conditioning
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager
Meaghan Howat – Director

Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:
Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park

Canada Scoring:
Tries: Grusnick (1)
Conversions:
Penalties:

New Zealand Scoring:
Tries: Itunu (3), Winiata (1), Waaka (1), Brazier (1), Fa’amausili (1), Wickliffe (1)
Conversions: Cocksedge (3), Brazier (1)
Penalties:

Scoring Summary:
First Half
Try – Selica Winiata – 6’
Try – Aldora Itunu – 17’
Conversion – Kendra Cocksedge – 18’
Try – Aldora Itunu – 22’
Conversion – Kendra Cocksedge – 23’
Try – Stacey Waaka – 33’
Try – Kelly Brazier – 40’

Second Half
Try – Fiao’o Fa’amausili – 50’
Conversion – Kendra Cocksedge – 51’
Try – Jacey Grusnick – 61’
Try – Renee Wickliffe – 63’
Try – Aldora Itunu – 69’
Conversion – Kelly Brazier – 69’

Yellow Cards
New Zealand – Aldora Itunu (28’), Eloise Blackwell (58’)



Ratier Makes Two Changes for NZ Match: Canada Need Points or Will Play for 5th


The challenge is simple for Canada, win or get bonus points in the loss or else you play for 5th place. The lack of a bonus point in the win over Wales put the team in a difficult position with USA getting bonus points in both their wins.

Do Canada try to score at least four tries or hold NZ close and hope for the win or a loss by 7? Canada's lack of scoring prowess against the top two teams England and New Zealand may come back to haunt them. They have one of the best finishers in Magali Harvey but don't seem to have any inclination to create a game plan that brings her into the play often and early. If they've been saving the secret plan, this is the time to bring it out. Against Wales Harvey barely touched the ball in the first half.

Ratier has put Ellisa Alarie back at fullback and Julianne Zussman to wing, also Amanda Thornborough replaces Andrea Burk in the centres.

Kickoff is at 4am PT.

from Rugby Canada

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Ahead of Canada’s all-important match against New Zealand at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland, Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made two changes to the starting lineup that will take on the Black Ferns Thursday.

In the most prominent matchup on Day 3 of the WRWC, with the No. 3-ranked Canadians taking on the No. 2-ranked Kiwis, Ratier is going with the same forward unit for the third game in a row, while altering a few positions amongst the backs.

Entering the starting fray for the first time in this year’s tournament will be Amanda Thornborough in replacement of Andrea Burk, while Vice-Captain Elissa Alarie moves back to fullback and Julianne Zussman slots in on the wing.

The other four positions amongst the backs remain unchanged, with Lori Josephson getting her third straight start at scrumhalf, while Emily Belchos will once again take the field as Canada’s flyhalf.

Alex Tessier is back at centre, while Magali Harvey, who leads the tournament in scoring with 51 points, will once again patrol the wing.

Ratier’s pack is unchanged, with Carolyn McEwan, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin making up the front row, while Kayla Mack and Latoya Blackwood will form the second row.

The back row trio of Jacey Grusnick, Karen Paquin and captain Kelly Russell round out what has been an impressive forward group through Canada’s first two outings.

Canada, who has yet to give up a point in the WRWC, enters Thursday’s match with nine points in the standings through two games, while the Black Ferns earned the full 10 points in their first two matches. Only the three pool winners and one second-place finisher advance to the semifinals.

Canada and New Zealand have become familiar foes in recent years, yet the Canadians are still in search of their first ever victory over the Black Ferns. The Kiwis are 13-0 all-time in test rugby against Canada.

The Canadians faced New Zealand earlier this year in the opener of the International Women’s Rugby Series, losing 28-16 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Last fall, the Black Ferns edged Canada 20-10 in Dublin.

Canada is coming off a 15-0 win over Wales, while New Zealand dismantled Hong Kong by a count of 121-0 in their most recent game. The Black Ferns knocked off Wales 44-12, while Canada beat Hong Kong 98-0 on the tournament’s opening day.

Kick-off between Canada and New Zealand is set for 7am ET/4am PT on Thursday and you can watch live on TSN/RDS.

What Jane Kirby said:

“It’s really nice to be the only team that so far that hasn’t been scored on. It’s always hard with a tournament like this, with the format, with so many days between our turnovers. But the team’s really taken a chance to connect and refocus on our next game and I think that’s really positive.

“We knew that this (game) was the set date for eight months now. They’ve been our highest competition in the past year and it’s been the focus. You can’t be the best team in the world without beating all the other teams, so this is the focus now.”

What Assistant Coach Colette McAuley said:

“I’m happy with the girls. Obviously, we wanted to get a few more things executed against Wales that didn’t go our way. But, their energy is good and we know exactly what the game plan is going into New Zealand. The girls are going to bring it. I’m proud of these girls. They just such a tremendous group of athletes. They’ve worked very hard on the game plan and on our defence. We’re going to go out and play some good rugby and have some fun. New Zealand is going to be a tough opponent and it’s going to be a great game.”

Canada’s Roster to face New Zealand:

1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
4. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
5. Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
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. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)
10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
11. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
12. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
13. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
14. Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)
15. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
19. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)

2017 WRWC Staff:

Francois Ratier- Head Coach
Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach
Colette McAuley- Technical Support
Nicole Crowley- Manager
Shannon Houston – Team Doctor
Brad Curry – Physiotherapist
Jamie McCartney – Strength & Conditioning
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager
Meaghan Howat – Director

Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:

Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park
Canada vs. New Zealand – Aug 17 – 7am ET/4am PT – Billings Park

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