Canada begin World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 with big win v USA

Canada began their World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2024 campaign with a 50-7 victory over USA at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Last year’s runners-up ran in eight tries as they underlined the five-place gap between themselves and the Women’s Eagles in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.

Captain Sophie de Goede led from the front again by scoring two tries and 18 points and Claire Gallagher also bagged a brace in an impressive showing at half-back alongside Canada’s livewire nine Olivia Apps.

Playing in front of their fans for the first time since 2021, USA started brightly but Canada found themselves 10-0 up in as many minutes.

Both unconverted tries originated from unstoppable driving lineouts, that started just outside the Women’s Eagles’ 22, with the home team back-pedalling at a rate of knots.

Gallagher was the first to benefit from the good work of the forwards, their hits up the middle creating space for the fly-half to cross.

Tyson Beukeboom, on the verge of becoming Canada’s most-capped women's player, then marked her 66th test with a try, the second-row dotting down from the back of a maul.

With De Goede unable to add the extras on each occasion, Canada had as many points on the board as minutes played.

That 10-0 lead, however, was reduced to just three points when flanker Georgie Perris-Redding added to the hat-trick she scored in warm-up match against South Africa, the openside squeezing over from close range to get the Women’s Eagles on the scoreboard.

With the ball touched down in the shadow of the posts, Gabby Cantorna slotted the simplest of conversions.

Canada responded with a third try when Beukeboom’s second-row partner, Laetitia Royer, burst down the middle and scored from 25 metres out, De Goede adding the extras on this occasion.

USA continued to show invention in attack with Hope Rogers’ trademark trucks up the middle complemented by some good handling by the backs. But Canada’s tactical kicking game was on point and chances in a scoreless second quarter were few and far between.

Canada picked up the pace at the start of the second half and scored 33 unanswered points after the interval.

Madison Grant switched wings to coast over two minutes into the second half and the next try also originated from a scrum play, De Goede crossing for the first of her two quickfire tries with 50 minutes gone.

Five minutes later the flanker crossed again after good interplay with her back-row colleague, Pamphinette Buisa.

By this stage Canada were rampant but USA managed to stem the flow until Gallagher scored her second after a long period of phase play.

Referee Tyler Miller, making her own test debut in the middle, then sin-binned Bulou Mataitoga for pulling the jersey of her midfield opponent Alexandra Tessier in the build-up.

USA had chances to score despite dropping to 14 players and the pressure they exerted on the Canadian defence led to an accumulation of high tackles and a yellow card for Gallagher, the only blot on her copybook.

Canada’s bench, notably hard-running back Fancy Bermudez, made an impact late on and replacement forward, Julia Omokhuale added an eighth try near the end, Tessier converting as Canada reached a half-century of points and extended their winning run over their North American rivals to nine matches.

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Last updated: Apr 29, 2024, 9:12:29 AM
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