Canada’s women’s rugby team in full swing to defeat Wales in preparation for World Cup on home soil
Canada’s 15 senior women scored their final home test match ahead of the Rugby World Cup with a 31-3 win over Wales at the Wanderers Grounds in Halifax on Saturday.
Tries from Paige Farries (2), Fabiola Forteza, Maddy Grant and Justine Pelletier – along with a series of successful conversions from a combination of Brianna Miller and captain Sophie de Goede – were enough to seal victory.
« I think the girls reacted well, » Canada’s 15-year-old senior women’s team head coach Kevin Rouet said after the game.
Starting the game, Elissa Alarie earned her 40th cap for the national 15-team at fullback, while Alexandra Tessier received her 35th at center and Miller scored her 30th at scrum half. After entering the field as a second-half substitute, Laura Russell earned her 53rd cap – tying her sister, Kelly, as the third-most-capped Canadian of all time – while Pelletier earned her 10th.
Olivia DeMerchant and Emma Taylor, who both live in Halifax, also played in the game with the former named in the starting lineup and the latter coming off the bench in the second half.
« We started off a little slow but the crowd was amazing »
Saturday’s game started with early pressure from No.9-ranked Wales, which resulted in a penalty conversion from opening half Elinor Snowsill to give them the lead within nine minutes.
However, Canada, ranked 4th, quickly gained a foothold in the match, led by their dominant field. In fact, the first try of the match was scored when the hosts opted for a scrum on the five-yard line following a penalty and the ball was sent to Farries who went over the top. Miller hit the conversion to make it 7-3.
The momentum was with the Canadians and they made it count when Forteza crossed the line for their second try 23 minutes later as they tightened their grip on first-half proceedings. Another try saw Grant receive the ball into space on the right wing and edge past the Welsh defense to touch down as Canada entered the break leading 17-3.
In the second half, the home team continued to delight a passionate Nova Scotia crowd as Farries scored his second try of the game within three minutes of the restart. Miller made the conversion to extend the score to 24-3.
Fresh off the pitch as a substitute, Pelletier marked her 10th appearance for Canada by scoring her side’s fifth try in the 66th minute. The scrum-half received the ball from just yards out and spun a Welsh defender to pass successfully before de Goede split the posts with the conversion.
« It was awesome, » Emma Taylor said after playing a senior international test match hours outside her hometown of Scotsburn, Nova Scotia.
« We started off a little slow but the crowd was amazing. When I ran onto the pitch I just heard people getting up so it was really exciting for me personally. I think the girls were floored by the amount of support here. It was a great win, a great team win. »
« It was great to be in front of a home crowd, » added Olivia DeMerchant. « It’s always great to have Canadian rugby fans cheering us on, so I love that. »
WATCH l Canadian women’s rugby players train in Halifax ahead of game: