Canada v France - Women's Super Series 2019

July 03 2019

Sophie de Goede

Canada Defeat France 36-19 in Bonus Point Performance

Canada started well putting together multiple phases and breaking the gain line consistently, they were awarded a penalty in front of the post inside the French 22 with a French player not rolling away from the breakdown. It's not often you see your #8 line up the penalty kick but with Sophie de Goede having the talent she got the job done, 3-0 after 2 minutes.

Canada's first error occurred inside their half when Amanda Thornborough had two players outside of her on attack and threw the ball in between and into touch, France went on attack with the lineout. France kept possession inside Canada's 22 and worked the phases, eventually their big #4 Safi N'Diave stretched over the line, 7-3 to France at 6 minutes.

Canada stormed back regaining the kickoff and not giving up possession as they marched 50 metres down the field, it went wide a few times but when it got close to the goal area the forwards just pinned their ears back and sent wave after wave of attackers at the French, eventually Tyson Beukeboom crossed the line, 10-7 for Canada at 10 minutes.

Canada lost their first ball at the breakdown and France went on attack inside Canada's 22. They overthrew the lineout however and #6 Slevinsky had a strong run outside the 22. Taylor Black at #10 was having a shaky start and miscommunicates with the backline and loses the ball in a tackle. France on attack again from a scrum. The French scrum half goes blindside with no support but beats #9 Josephson and the blindside winger, Sabrina Poulin. Poor defence from Canada on that try but strong effort from the French scrum half, 12-10 France after 15 minutes.

Canada were back on attack, strong running by the forwards who are breaking the gain line all day long. The ball goes wide Paige Farries offloads to Taylor Black a metre away from the goal line but Black knocks it on in the tackle, scrum France, 18 minutes gone.

Canada have a prolonged period of possession inside the France 22, they pass down the option for an easy 3 points and go for the scrum. Their scrum isn't dominant so it's a bit of a gamble. They end up losing the ball in loose play as one of the props, DeMerchant, can't hold onto the ball and France get the scrum. It's a water break at 20 minutes. Canada apply strong defensive pressure on France and it's paying off with a lineout inside the 22, the lineout goes down but the forwards go to their pick and go game and #6 Slevinky crosses the line. She's been impressive when she's had ball in hand the first half. 17-12 Canada with 27 minutes gone.

Josephson #9 starts the next possession putting the ball out on the full from a box kick, Canada under pressure again. Westshore's Amanda Thornborough at #13 saves the day by poaching the ball with France on attack 10 metres from the line. As the commentator mentioned it's her birthday today, no one brought her a gift so she decided to take something. Canada cleared to touch but lost the lineout, their lineout in the first match was a problem and now they're giving ball away again. They seem to do well when they go short to Sophie de Goedie but everything else is a toss up. The teams kick back and forth and France end up with a scrum at centre. Canada's scrum gets crunched and France are off on attack from the penalty. France fortunately keep knocking the ball on and it's giving Canada some reprieve in the first half. Canada's scrum isn't looking very solid at this point and scrum half Josephson's kicking has been giving a lot of ball away without pressure, still Canada are leading 17-12 with 5 minutes left in the half. The ball goes back and forth for the next 5 minutes both teams making errors, it ends 17-12 at the half for Canada. Neither team looking dominant but the one who can make the fewer errors in the second half will likely come out on top.

Canada finally put together a training ground backline move and execute it perfectly. After going through several phases with pods of forwards they draw the French defence in, go behind the pod and out to the backline. Black to Thornborough, to Farries, then Alarie who draws the defenders in with several dummies before releasing Poulin for the try. 22-12 for Canada at 44 minutes.

France owns the next 5 minutes, Canada are falling off their intensity on defence. A 22 drop out for France sees no Canadian defenders on the line to prevent a short tap and go, unusual at high level rugby. A kick ahead sees a poor chase, some subs will have to come on soon as Canada are losing momentum. At 50 minutes the subs start with #5 Grusnick coming off, she's had a quiet game, Courtney Holtkamp at #19 comes on. At 52 minutes #4 Tyson Beukeboom comes off and the change at scrum half is made with Brianna Miller coming on as #22. It looks like #20 Sara Svoboda has come on for Beukeboom in the second row. Laura Russell comes into play hooker as #17 and Gillian Boag is off. Canada immediately go on attack, win the lineout and are pounding the ball with the forwards inside the 5 metres. Scrum half Miller decides to go wide and sends it to #10 Taylor Black who throws an interception, it could have been a costly decision except the ref saves Canada with an offside call. The Canadian forwards have proven they can push France back and score in the trenches so why go wide after a couple of phases. Canada tap the penalty and Miller and Black are banned from touching the ball during the subsequent phases, Laura Russell finally crosses the line after prolonged pressure from the forwards. 29-20 for Canada with a quarter to play.

#16 Ngalula Fuamba and #18 Maude Laliberte come on as replacement props. Canada put themselves under pressure when they try a pre-planned move that makes no sense, off the lineout they peel the replacement prop #18 Maude Laliberte into the backline, the ball goes from #9 to #10, Taylor Black misses Laliberte by a foot on the pass. Whether Laliberte, who hadn't touched the ball yet, was supposed to be running onto the ball or not the play looked doomed from the beginning, France pick it up and are now positioned at Canada's 5 metre line with a penalty. They run it in as Canada look a little shocked from the turnover, 29-19 with 15 minutes left.

France have the upper hand now and Canada's #16 Ngalula Fuamba receives a yellow for taking out a player without the ball, Canada will play short for the final 10 minutes with only a 10 point lead. Canada keep the ball inside France's 22 and the forwards grind it out, winding down the clock. The ball is passed out to Amanda Thornborough who scores Canada's 5th try, converted by Sophie de Goede, 36-19, and that's the final.

A game won by the strong forward pack, #8 Sophie de Goede was chosen player of the match, a good choice. Canada will have to sort out the halfback pairing, they have a strong forward pack, a potent backline but the connection through the halfbacks is not optimum.

Canada's Schedule:

Canada 20-35 New Zealand

Canada 36 – 19 France

Saturday, July 6
Canada vs England– 8:15pm ET/ 5:15pm PT

Wednesday, July 10
Canada vs USA – 8:15pm ET/ 5:15pm PT

Canada Name Team to Face France Tomorrow at 2:15pm PT

A few changes made to the Canada side that faced the NZ Black Ferns and lost a close 35-20 match. Captain Laura Russell is on the bench, she's replaced by Capilano's Gillian Boag in the starting XV. Ngalula Fuamba is listed at the backup hooker role. The starting props remain the same with Marchant and Menin, the backup props according to numbering convention are Laura Russell and Maude Laliberte. It all seems a little strange as Fuamba is normally a second row according to her Rugby Canada profile and second row or loose forward according to her University of Montreal profile and Laura Russell is usually starting hooker. We'll see how that pans out come game time. CW's Sophie de Goede comes out from her second row position to start at #8 and #8 Fabiola Forteza moves to openside while openside Janna Slevinsky moves to blindside. Tyson Beukeboom from the Cowichan Rugby Club starts at second row along with Jacey Grusnick, Grusnick was on the bench for the NZ match.

In the backline Taylor Black takes over for Alex Tessier at #10, Tessier moves to inside centre taking the position of 7s player Sara Kaljuvee who takes the day off. At outside centre Amanda Thornborough from Westshore replaces Anais Holly who also takes the day off. Elissa Alarie from Westshore who had an outstanding game against NZ moves from wing to fullback and takes on the captaincy. Paige Farries from Westshore retains her wing position and Sabrina Poulin gets her first start on the other wing. At scrum half Lori Josephson gets the start and Brianna Miller moves to the bench.

This is France's first match of the series so there's no form guide on their touring team.

Returning to Ngalula Fuamba while doing research we came across this interesting interview from the University of Montreal sutdent/athlete blog. One comment in particular was worth sharing, in english and the original french:

Q: What would you say to girls who are hesitant to start rugby?

Ngalula: Look at the 2014 Canada Women's World Cup, the final against England, watch the Canadian team win the bronze medal at the Olympics and try to tell me after rugby is not beautiful sport. It's impossible not to fall in love while watching rugby. It is impossible not to be impressed by its intensity, by the courage of its strong, fast and inspiring athletes. Rugby is a contact sport where women mix courage and femininity with great determination. Rugby challenges all the stereotypes of women. And the beauty of this sport is that everyone can play, no matter what their size or experience.

Q: Qu’est-ce que tu dirais aux jeunes filles qui hésitent à commencer le rugby?

Ngalula: Regardez la coupe du monde 2014 de l’équipe féminine du Canada, la finale contre l’Angleterre, regardez l’équipe canadienne remporter la médaille de bronze aux Jeux olympiques et essayez de me dire après que le rugby n’est pas un beau sport. Il est impossible de ne pas tomber en amour en regardant le rugby. Il est impossible de ne pas être impressionné par son intensité, par le courage de ses athlètes fortes, rapides et inspirantes. Le rugby est un sport de contact où les femmes mélangent courage et féminité avec une belle détermination. Le rugby défie tous les stéréotypes des femmes. Et la beauté de ce sport, c’est que tout le monde peut y jouer, peu importe son gabarit ou son expérience.

Best wishes to the team, again unfortunately the live stream is not free but only available if you subscribe to

Pemberton Holmes
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