Pacific Four Series 2023 – Canada v NZ

Canada Fall to NZ 52-21 in Pacific Four Action

Canada go 1-1 in the Pacific Four series and with one round left are in a good position to finish top 3 and advance to the Tier One WXV. The USA look destined to be relegated to Tier 2 as they were pummelled by Australia today, 58-17, they’ll have to defeat the Black Ferns to have any chance of remaining in Tier 1. Canada fill face Australia in the final round of the series on Friday.

The story was a familiar one for Canada, their forwards can match up with the best in the world but the backs are a level below. All of Canada’s tries came from the forwards and when it came to 8 man rugby and winning collisions Canada were at their best. Canada’s poor kicking game put the team under pressure throughout the match. The player of the match was the NZ outside centre Amy Du Plessis.

from CBC Sports

A record crowd of 10,092 fans watched Sophie de Goede, Fabiola Forteza and Olivia DeMerchant post tries for Canada in a 52-21 loss to the reigning world champion New Zealand Black Ferns at TD Place in Pacific Four Series action — key preparation for the 2025 World Cup in England.

It was the largest crowd in program history.

Captain de Goede of Victoria put the No. 4 Canadians on the board late in the first half, shortly before Quebec City’s Forteza added a try of her own. de Goede’s two conversions made it 21-14 in favour of the visitors at halftime.

The second-ranked Black Ferns took control of the match early. Luka Connor put New Zealand in front in the second minute, with Ruahei Demant and Mererangi Paul each adding tries in the first half for a 21-0 lead.

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from NZ Herald

Canada did a lot of things right. Especially in the middle 40 minutes of the game. When they scored that try early in the second half to bring it back within 7 points you felt they were right in the game. But from there New Zealand clicked into gear and upped their intensity to put Canada under all sorts of pressure. Their defense was brave but in the last 20 minutes the gaps started to open up and New Zealand took full advantage.

New Zealand won’t be fully satisfied with that performance. The score looks flattering but there was a lot of handling errors and ill-discipline that kept Canada in the game for large periods tonight. However, when it really counted the Black Ferns stood up and did what they had to do. Du Plessis was sensational in the midfield and was rightly awarded the player of the match for her performance. Around her everyone had their moments and it was a real team performance in the last 20 minutes that got them over the line.

I was really impressed with Canada especially their loose forwards in De Goede and Forteza. They were aggressive in the tackles and ran hard with ball in hand. Not to mention De Goede being the first forward I’ve seen take shots at goal in a long time. A lot to be proud of for Canada but still a lot of improvement needed if they are to challenge the top teams in the world and get that elusive first win over the Black Ferns.

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*Canada Name Team to Face New Zealand on Saturday in Pacific Four Series in Ottawa*

Canada takes on New Zealand in the final series of games in the Pacific Four Series on Saturday. The top 3 teams will advance to the Tier 1 WXV, the 4th team will drop down to the Tier 2 competition. USA will face Australia in this round and then on July 14th, Friday, Canada will play Australia and USA will face NZ. Both Canada and NZ are 1-0 going into the final two games while USA and Australia are 0-1.

Comparing the Canada roster to the one that played in the final match of the World Cup last November, there are a few changes. The starting front row is the same, Tyson Beukeboom gets the start ahead of McKinley Hunt in the second row. Fobiola Forteza starts at openside, Karen Paquin is not in the squad. Gabrielle Senft starts at blindside, Sara Svoboda is on the bench. Sophie de Goede of course remains the same at #8. Justin Pelletier remains the same at scrum half but Julia Schell gets the start at #10 with Alex Tessier not in the squad. Sara Kaljuvee retains her spot at #12 but Fancy Bermudez replaces Alysha Corrigan at outside centre. Only Paige Farries retains her spot in the outside backs with Sabrina Poulin replacing Elissa Alarie at fullback and Florence Symonds replacing Maddy Grant on the wing. On the bench Gillian Boag remains backup hooker, McKinley Hunt and Alex Ellis are reserve props. Emma Taylor returns in her role as reserve second row. Olivia Apps is backup scrum-half and the reserve backs are Claire Gallagher and Shoshanah Seumanutafa.

For New Zealand they’re starting almost the same squad that defeated Australia 50-0 on June 29th. They’ve brought in a new loosehead prop, Phillipa Love, and started the reserve hooker and tighthead prop, moving the starters to the bench. The rest of the starters remain the same. They have one debutant on the bench at second row, Lucy Jenkins. In the Australia match they scored 4 tries from the starting backline, 3 from the starting forwards and 1 from the reserves.


1. Olivia DeMerchant (Mapledale, NB) – Halifax Tars RFC
2. Emily Tuttosi (Souris, MB) – Calgary Hornets / Exeter Chiefs
3. Daleaka Menin (Vulcan, AB) – Exeter Chiefs
4. Tyson Beukeboom (Uxbridge, ON) – Cowichan RFC
5. Courtney Holtkamp (Rimbey, AB) – Red Deer Titans Rugby
6. Gabrielle Senft (Regina, SK) – Castaway Wanderers / Exeter Chiefs
7. Fabiola Forteza (Quebec City, QC) – Club de rugby de Québec / Stade Bordelais
8. Sophie de Goede (Victoria, BC) – Castaway Wanderers RFC
9. Justine Pelletier (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) – Club de rugby de Québec / Stade Bordelais
10. Julia Schell (Uxbridge, ON) – Guelph Redcoats / Castaway Wanderers
11. Paige Farries (Red Deer, AB) – Westshore RFC / Worcester Warriors
12. Sara Kaljuvee (Ajax, ON) – Toronto Scottish / Westshore RFC
13. Fancy Bermudez (Edmonton, AB) – Nor’Wester Athletic Association / Westshore RFC
14. Florence Symonds (Hong Kong) – University of British Columbia
15. Sabrina Poulin (St-Georges, QC) – TMRRFC / Eibar Rugby Taldea
16. Gillian Boag (Calgary, AB) – Capilano RFC
17. McKinley Hunt (King City, ON) – Aurora Barbarians
18. Alexandria Ellis (Ottawa, ON) – Barrhaven Scottish / Saracens
19. Emma Taylor (Scotsburn, NS) – Halifax RFC?
20. Sara Svoboda (Belleville, ON) – Brantford Harlequins / Belleville Bulldogs / Loughborough Lightning
21. Olivia Apps (Lindsay, ON) – Lindsay RFC
22. Claire Gallagher (Caledon, ON) – Aurora Barbarians / University of Ottawa
23. Shoshanah Seumanutafa (White Rock, BC) – University of British Columbia

New Zealand

1 Phillipa Love
2 Luka Connor
3 Amy Rule
4 Maiakawanakaulani Roos
5 Chelsea Bremner
6 Alana Bremner
7 Kennedy Simon
8 Liana Mikaele-Tu’u
9 Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu
10 Ruahei Demant
11 Katelyn Vahaakolo
12 Sylvia Brunt
13 Amy du Plessis
14 Mererangi Paul
15 Renee Holmes
16 Georgia Ponsonby
17 Kate Henwood
18 Tanya Kalounivale
19 Lucy Jenkins
20 Kenda Reynolds
21 Iritana Hohaia
22 Rosie Kelly
23 Kelsey Teneti

from Rugby Canada

Head Coach Kevin Rouet has named the match day roster for Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team’s meeting with the reigning World Champion New Zealand Black Ferns on Saturday July 8 at TD Place in Ottawa.

Two players will rise up the ranks of all-time appearances for Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team when they start on Saturday. Olivia DeMerchant will play in her 55th cap, tying Maria Gallo for third all-time. DaLeaka Menin will tie Julia Sugawara for seventh all-time, earning her 46th cap.

Florence Symonds will make her international 15s debut on the wing. Symonds first debuted for Hong Kong at age 17 before making Canada’s Women’s Sevens Team in 2021 as a 19-year-old. Fellow sevens player Olivia Apps could also earn her first cap off the bench, along with the University of Ottawa’s Claire Gallagher.

With an expected crowd of over 7,500, July 8 is primed to be a record-setting day for women’s rugby in Canada. When Canada takes to the pitch against New Zealand at 7:00 p.m. ET, it will be in front of the largest crowd ever seen at an international women’s 15s match hosted in Canada. The match will also be broadcast on TSN.

“This is an important game in our preparation towards the 2025 Rugby World Cup,” said Rouet. “We are looking forward to putting on a performance this Saturday that both our team and Canada will be proud of.”

The last time these two teams met was at the previous edition of the World Rugby Pacific Four Series in June 2022. New Zealand won the tournament, with Canada following in second with just one loss, a 28-0 game against the Black Ferns.

Both teams started the 2023 Pacific Four Series earlier this year with strong wins. Canada won 50-17 over the USA on April 1 in Madrid, while New Zealand beat Australia 50-0 in Brisbane on June 29. New Zealand currently holds first place in the standings with a higher point differential than Canada.

Qualification for the inaugural WXV, a new three-tier annual global women’s international 15s competition, is on the line, with the top three teams from the Pacific Four Series qualifying for the top WXV tier and the bottom team headed for tier 2.

Tickets start at just $20 and can be purchased at Questions regarding ticket purchases can be directed to

More information on the 2023 World Rugby Pacific Four Series can be found here.



Australia vs USA – 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET on TSN+
Canada vs New Zealand – 4:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET on TSN4


New Zealand vs USA – 1:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. ET on TSN+
Canada vs Australia – 4:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET on TSN1

More information on TSN+, an all-new streaming service, can be found at

Posted in National Women's XVs.

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