Canada Claim Their First World Cup Win in Women's Rugby League Tournament: 22-8 Over Papua New Guinea: VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
After getting pummeled in their first match by three time World champions New Zealand, Canada came out and claimed their first win at a World Cup against Papua New Guinea. That lone win could see them get to the semi-finals in the 6 team tournament. That would be huge for Canada's first foray into the women's World Cup.
Natasha Smith was the hero of the day scoring 3 of Canada's 4 tries. When we first saw her playing in Cowichan colours last year at the Herd Road club we knew there was talent there. She missed out on selection for the Union version of the World Cup in Ireland, she was given the status of "non-travelling reserve". Our feeling at the time is she belonged on that team and was perhaps edged out by reputation rather than ability in the final selection. Her hard running style was perfectly suited for Rugby League however, and the League selectors weren't going to make the same mistake.
In our write-up of the New Zealand match we had one piece of advice for next match, "get Natasha Smith more involved with ball in hand." The highlights below show what she can do when that happens.
NOTE: The RLWC match report mentions Natalie Tam was knocked unconscious and stretchered from the field, we'll try to get updates on her condition.
UPDATE: from Australia, "Nat is doing well. Didn't go to the hospital and is ok" from rlwc2017.com
It was a proud day for Canada Rugby League, with the women recording their first ever World Cup victory to the tune of 22-8.
The brave side came out on top against Papua New Guinea in an incredibly physical match to close out the second round of the group stages.
After an impressive defeat in their first major hit-out three days ago against New Zealand, Canada brought that same resilience tonight in a game where they defended superbly.
Papua New Guinea were attacking in front of a vocal pack of supporters in the Monty Porter Stand, and they were treated to the perfect view of the opening try of the match when Christie Bulhage completed a right-to-left shift and barged her way over.
It was a tight tussle and very physical, but it would be Canada who would grind their way back into the match courtesy of Natasha Smith. The barnstorming centre crashed over for a double in the later stages of the first half to put their noses in front.
The physicality shown by both sides resulted in a couple of stoppages to treat injuries which was the only low point in what was turning out to be by far the match of the afternoon and possibly the match of the tournament so far.
Just as they did in the first half, PNG were first to score in the second when they received an offside penalty and took advantage of the gifted field position when another right-to-left shift was completed, this time by Martha Karl.
PNG spent the best part of 15 minutes on the attack, but the resilience of Canada saw them turn away what was thrown at them time and time again, with their goal line defence holding strong.
In what made the defensive clinic even more spectacular, Canada were disrupted when Natalie Tam was knocked unconscious while making a tackle and a long delay in the match saw her stretchered from the field.
That determination was rewarded with six points and a buffer of more than a converted try as after a few sets chipping away at PNG defence, Stevi Schnoor put in a perfect grubber that was pounced on under the posts by her halves partner Sabrina McDaid.
The physicality of the game was once again came at the detriment of the players when another had to be stretchered off the field.
Smith capped off a great match by scoring her third try of the evening in the closes stages, which secured the Canadians first ever World Cup victory.
Canada 22 (N Smith 3, S McDaid tries; I Patrinos 2, McDaid goals) def PNG 8 (C Bulhage, M Karl tries)