Canada has beaten the US women’s senior rugby team 25-17 to sweep the pair of matches taking place in Glendale, Colorado this week.
It is a gratifying result for new Canadian team coach John Long – who took over the post just three months ago – and opened his tenure with a 10-7 victory between the two country's A sides on Wednesday evening.
“The girls have worked extremely hard all week to put our methods into practice and I think everyone tried too hard at the start,” said Long of a slow Canadian start. “Once we relaxed we got into the groove.”
The U.S. actually scored first, five minutes into the match as the USA won a lineout and dished it to Beckett Royce who ran up the weak side and touched it down.
Canada tied the game shortly thereafter as Mandy Marchak also received an opportunity off the lineout and broke through the defense to score for the visiting side making for a 5 -5 hal time score.
In what was an extremely physical match, the U.S. saw both its flyhalf and inside center go down with injuries in the first half. Additionally, the English referee handed out four yellow cards, forcing both the U.S. and Canada to play short for 20 minutes of the game. Canada incurred its yellow cards in the first half, but the U.S. spread its out into the second and clearly started losing a bit of form in the pack.
“Half time brought a change of tactic with the forwards working hard to create faster ball,” explained Long. “This created opportunities for our backs who broke through the US defense to score a good try.”
Around the 50 minute mark, the U.S. was charged with repeated penalties within its own 22 and allowed Canada the opportunity to kick for three points, and earn its first lead of the day.
Less than 10 minutes later, Canada was starting to see some success at the hands of its backline and quick hands gave wing Maria Gallo the opportunity for her first try of the day. Canada’s Anna Schnell converted and its lead improved to 10.
Gallo would score one more in similar fashion just before the 70 minute mark, this one coming off a great run by Ashley Patzer, who popped it inside just in time to hit the open wing, who put five more on the board. This time the conversion missed, but Canada was in a good position with a 15 point lead and just 10 minutes left on the clock.
The USA’s winger Vanesha McGee would pick up the slack for the U.S. on the outside, and thanks to Stephanie Bruce’s 20 meter run, would get an opportunity to take it out wide and touch it down. The injured Bruce would slot the tough conversion, although visibly in pain and the U.S. would come within eight points with just over five minutes left.
The U.S. looked to have the opportunity they were looking for at the midfield mark, but then a kick to fullback Ashley Patzer dashed all hopes as she ran it up to within the USA’s own 10 meter line before getting tackled out of bounds.
Canada won the lineout and prop Leslie Cripps pushed it over for the Canadians. The conversion was missed, but Canada had basically sealed their victory, moving just out of reach for the U.S.
The U.S. wouldn’t go down lightly though and replacement winger Victoria Folayan got a bit of space on the outside in the last play of the game, touching down a try and allowing the U.S. to finish on a high note as the whistle blew after the conversion just fell short.
“We obviously would have liked to win this game,” Flores added. “But this is a stepping stone for us. It is all about getting to where we need to be at the World Cup in 2010 and this definitely gave us something to learn from.”
The Can-Am matches in Colorado were the first of five matches this summer, as the team kicks off its journey towards the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010, which is held in England next August and September. The Women’s Eagles will see their remaining games in the Nations Cup in Toronto in August.
The Women’s Can-Am matches will be uploaded in their entirety to the USA Rugby Media Center early next week for fans who missed the action live!
Tries: Marchak, Gallo (2), Cripps
Canada Women’s Lineup:
1.Leslie Cripps; 2.Kim Donaldson (Leslie McKenzie in at halftime); 3.Marlene Donaldson; 4.Paige Burdette (Marie Eve Brindamour Carrigan in at 60:13); 5. Megan Gibbs; 6.Heather Jaques; 7. Gillian Florence (Kelly Russell in at 49:14; 8. Barbara Mervin (Nikki Tyminski in at 66:40); 9. Laura Stoughton; 10. Anna Schnell (Julia Suguwara in at 69:03); 11. Julianne Zussman (Cheryl Phillips in at 65:43) 12. Sarah Ulmer (Brooke Hilditch in at 73:16); 13.Mandy Marchak; 14. Maria Gallo; 15.Ashley Patzer
Tries: Royce, McGee, Folayan
U.S. Women’s Lineup:
1. Farrah Douglas; 2. Mari Wallace (Lisa Butts in at 77:44); 3. Jamie Burke; 4. Jillion Potter; 5. Sarah Walsh (Sharon Blaney in at 30:23); 6. Kristin Zdanczewicz; 7. Beckett Royce (Mel Denham in at halftime); 8. Blair Groefsema; 9. Claudia Braymer; 10. Stephanie Bruce; 11. Ashley Kmiecik (Victoria Folayan in at 62:45); 12. Mel Kanuk (San Juanito Moreno in at 66:40); 13. Lynelle Kugler; 14. Vanesha McGee; 15. Ashley English.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images