Women's RWC 2017

August 22 2017


Latoya Blackwood - Canada
© npho.ie

Canada Defeat Wales 52-0 to Claim Spot in 5th Place Final vs Australia


Canada finally came up with the effort needed against Wales. In pool play Canada couldn't get the 4 try bonus point win, only able to score 2 tries. This time they had plenty to spare with 8 tries. That result puts them in the 5th place final versus Australia who defeated host Ireland.

The star of the first half was #9 Brianna Miller who wasn't even scheduled to play today as third string scrum half behind Lori Josephson and Chelsea Guthrie. She quickly proved she deserves the starting role as she provided crisp delivery and her kicking skills were phenomenal.

Elissa Alarie was another back who shone today, she was sure handed fielding kicks and provided a strong counter attack option against Wales kicking game.

In the forwards Latoya Blackwood was the most dominant player, a fact recognized by the commentary team who awarded her with Player of the Match honours.

Canada's scrum as usual was pivotal in breaking the game open when they pushed Wales off their scrum into the goal area for a try.

Canada were better with ball security today, nullifying Wales hard work at the breakdown. There were fewer handling errors although that can be reduced even further for the next match as there are still players throwing the ball into empty space and dropping balls that hit them in the hands.

The Australia match will take place Saturday at 6am PT.

from Rugby Canada

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – Canada will play for fifth place at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) after a dominant 52-0 win over Wales in the fifth-place semifinals Tuesday at Queen’s University.

Looking to make a point after missing the World Cup semifinals, Canada was on the front foot from start to finish, scoring eight tries and rolling to a no-doubter.

Canada will play Australia in the fifth place match Aug. 26 (9am ET/6am PT). The Australians beat Ireland 36-24 in the other semifinal.

Just eight minutes into the contest, Elissa Alarie scored Canada’s scored her first of two tries in the match and the Canadian contingent were off and running.

Canada carried the run of play the rest of the way, with the try-scoring coming from Brianna Miller, Cindy Nelles, Jacey Grusnick, Karen Paquin and Barbara Mervin to go along with Alarie’s brace. Canada also earned a penalty try.

Miller, who was a late addition to the starting lineup, replacing Lori Josephson at scrumhalf, put up 10 points on five conversions.

Second-rower Latoya Blackwood was named the Women of the Match.

“We needed to come out strong and we did a lot of work on the break down and the girls had something to prove today,” said captain Kelly Russell. “I’m really proud of the way they rallied together after a bit of a disappointment earlier this week. The girls executed great today and our handling and ball security was much better. This is a strong group of women and I’m lucky to be surrounded by them.”

Canada scored 26 points in both halves for an emphatic victory and are now 3-1 in this year’s WRWC. They have shut out their opponents in all three of their victories, including a 15-0 win over Wales in pool play.

The Canadians and Australians met earlier this year in the International Women’s Rugby Series in New Zealand, with Canada earning a 45-5 victory. Canada has been in the fifth-place bracket three times at the World Cup, finishing fifth in 1991 and sixth in both 1994 and 2010.

Canada and Wales have now met four times in the WRWC. Prior to their two contests in this year’s tournament, the sides previously met in 1991, when they played to a 9-9 draw, and in 1994, when Wales edged Canada 11-5. Before Tuesday’s semifinal, all three of their previous meetings were in pool play.

Match Report:
Starting back on the wing, as she did in Canada’s pool play match with Wales, Alarie struck first for Canada, touching down in the eighth minute. A conversion from Miller set Canada up with an early seven-point edge.

Canada doubled its lead with Miller scoring and converting herself just before the half-hour mark. After a Canadian try had been turned over following a review, Canada’s pack overwhelmed the Welsh on a five-metre scrum and Miller jumped on a loose ball in the in-goal area.

A determined Canadian side continued to push their agenda, with Nelles scoring her first ever try with the senior women’s team. With Welsh forward Shona Powell-Hughes in the sin bin, Nelles capped a driving push from the Canadians, touching down from just outside the try line.

With momentum surging, Blackwood kept things rolling with a hard-charging run that sparked the build-up to Canada’s fourth try of the first half. A pair of quick offloads eventually found Alarie, who chipped, chased and touched down just before halftime, giving Canada a 26-0 lead at the break.

Just four minutes into the second half, Grusnick put up Canada’s fifth try of the match when she blocked a Welsh clearing attempt and pounced on the ball inside the in-goal area.

Then, it was Paquin looking like she was back in the sevens game, scoring her first of the afternoon after weaving through the Welsh defence and evading four defenders en route to touching down in the 49th minute.

After yet another powerful push from their pack, Canada was awarded a penalty try in the 57th minute to go ahead 47-0.

Mervin scored her first try of this year’s competition in the 73rd minute to wrap up the scoring.

Canada Scoring:
Tries: Alarie, (2), Miller (1), Nelles (1), Grusnick (1), Paquin (1), Mervin (1), Penalty Try (1)
Conversions: Miller (5), Automatic Conversion on Penalty Try (1)

Scoring Summary:
First Half
Try – Elissa Alarie – 8’
Conversion – Brianna Miller – 9
Try – Brianna Miller – 28’
Conversion – Brianna Miller – 29’
Try – Cindy Nelles 35’
Conversion – Brianna Miller – 37’
Try – Elissa Alarie – 40’

Second Half
Try – Jacey Grusnick – 44’
Conversion – Brianna Miller – 46’
Try – Karen Paquin – 49’
Conversion – Brianna Miller – 50’
Try – Penalty Try – 57’
Conversion – Automatic on Penalty Try – 57’
Try – Barbara Mervin – 73’

Yellow Cards
Wales – Shona Powell-Hughes (32’)

Canada’s Roster to face Wales:
1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
4. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
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. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
11. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, 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. Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC)
15. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
19. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)

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:
Pool Play
Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park
5th Place Semifinal
Canada 52 Wales 0 – Queen’s University
5th Place Play-Off
Canada vs. Australia – Aug 26 – 9am ET/6am PT – Kingspan Stadium (Belfast)



Canada Announce Roster for Wales Match in 5th Place Semi-Final


Best quote of the tournament so far comes from forwards coach Gary Dukelow:

“I feel that we have to wake up and remember what this game is all about. It’s a physical game and I think we’ve been a bit too tentative and we can’t be anymore. The two words we’ve been using in our sessions are ‘next’ and ‘connect.’ We have to let the past go and do the best we can with what we have right now. Physicality is at the heart of our game and it will come back against Wales. We can’t be fancy at this point."

Canada did not bring their physical game so far at this tournament and it's what got them here and a 3rd place world ranking. They didn't need it against Hong Kong when they ran up a 98-0 scoreline and then they seemed to forget all about it. Wales surprised them and won the physical contest at the breakdown in their pool encounter, that resulted in Canada not being able to get the bonus point win and was a precursor for the NZ match where they were completely dominated in the physical contest. Can they regain their form for the rematch with Wales. A change in the front row and second row is hoping to reignite that physicality. Latoya Blackwood and Kelly Russell have been carrying too much of the load, time for other forwards to pick up their game.

In the backs no one has really stood out to date, Harvey looked good against Hong Kong but that was liking shooting fish in a barrel. She was mostly invisible against Wales and New Zealand, is it because she's not looking for work or does the attack plan not encourage that flexibility? It's a moot point in this match as she's not in the game day 23, apparently due to injury.

The formula for success is simple, more physicality from the forwards, less handling errors from the backs.

from Rugby Canada

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND (August 21, 2017) – Canada Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made four changes to his starting lineup for his team’s fifth place semifinal matchup with Wales Tuesday at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland.

Coming off a disappointing loss to New Zealand that ended Canada’s World Cup title dreams, Ratier has inserted four different players into the starting lineup and made one alteration amongst positions as the team prepares for Wales.

After a consistent forward unit for the first three matches of the WRWC, both Olivia DeMerchant and Cindy Nelles will get the call to start on Tuesday, with DeMerchant replacing DaLeaka Menin in the front row and Nelles taking Kayla Mack’s position in the second row.

The back line will see Brittany Waters get her first start of this year’s competition at centre, replacing Alex Tessier, while Frederique Rajotte will take the place of star winger Magali Harvey, who is unavailable for selection due to injury but likely to return for the final match on the 26th. Rajotte is back in the starting lineup after opening the tournament as a starting winger against Hong Kong.

Ratier will also flip-flop Julianne Zussman and Elissa Alarie, with Zussman starting at fullback and Alarie moving to the wing. The move sees both players return to the starting positions they held when Canada faced Wales in pool play.

This will be the second time these two teams have seen each other in the last 10 days. In their pool play meeting, Canada, who are ranked No. 3 in the World Rugby rankings, knocked off the Welsh 15-0 to earn their first ever WRWC victory over Wales, who are currently ranked No. 9. The winner of Tuesday’s semifinal will play in the fifth-place game against the winner of the other semifinal between Australia and Ireland.

This is just the second time in the last six WRWC competitions that Canada has missed the Cup semifinals. The last time Canada was in the fifth place semifinal at the WRWC was in 2010 when they faced Scotland. Canada advanced to the fifth place final with a 41-0 win, but eventually finished sixth overall after a 23-20 loss to the USA.

Canada has never finished lower than sixth at the WRWC, coming in sixth in 1994 and fifth in 1991. In the years that Canada earned a semifinal berth, they finished second in 2014 and fourth in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Canada and Wales have met four times in the WRWC. Prior to their contest in this year’s tournament, the two sides previously met in 1991, when they played to a 9-9 draw, and in 1994, when Wales edged Canada 11-5. All three of their previous meetings were in pool play.

Kick-off between Canada and Wales is set for 12pm ET/9am PT on Tuesday and you can watch live on TSN/RDS.

What Julianne Zussman said:
“I think it’s really important that we don’t let one loss in the tournament keep us down. It’s a tough format and it’s really unforgiving. Essentially, we want to prove that we deserve to be in the top four.

“We’re expecting a really physical Wales side. They were dominant in the breakdown and were more physical than we were and we didn’t respond in that first game. We’re looking to right that wrong and also to share the load a little bit more between our backs and our forwards and just attack them.”

What Assistant Coach Gary Dukelow said:
“I feel that we have to wake up and remember what this game is all about. It’s a physical game and I think we’ve been a bit too tentative and we can’t be anymore. The two words we’ve been using in our sessions are ‘next’ and ‘connect.’ We have to let the past go and do the best we can with what we have right now. Physicality is at the heart of our game and it will come back against Wales. We can’t be fancy at this point.

“What we do is what we leave for the next group. We recognize that these are important games for ourselves, but bigger than ourselves is Canadian rugby and certainly the women’s program.”

Canada’s Roster to face Wales:
1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
4. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
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. Frederique Rajotte, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC (Montreal, QC)
12. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
13. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)
14. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
15. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
19. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)

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
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager

Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:
Pool Play
Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park
Playoffs
Canada 52 vs Wales 0
Canada vs Australia - 5th Place Final

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