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Canada Beat France & Win The Women’s Rugby Super Series

July 10, 2016

Canada Beat France & Win The Women’s Rugby Super Series

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Photo: The Rugby Channel

Doug Coil

Canada beat France 29-10 in their final match of the Women’s Rugby Super Series on Saturday, July 9 at the Regional Athletic Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Canada has been a force throughout the Women’s Rugby Super Series. They dominated England in their 52-17 win and then had another fine performance against the United States gaining a 33-5 win.

Entering the match, Canada made one change as Frédérique Rajotte, who started against England in the first match. Canada also came into this match ranked 4th in the world, while France was currently second.

Entering this match, France had a 1-1 record in the Series after a 19-13 win against the USA and then after a last minute 17-13 loss to England.

France made ten changes in their starting XV, eight of which returned from starting against the USA. In addition, Romane Menager, who also started against the USA, moved from eight to flanker.

Canada v France

One minute into the match, France lost Romane Menager through injury. After play resumed,  France attacked from a 5 meter scrum. The ball was soon turned over and after a scrum to Canada, Alex Tessier cleared the ball. Aubrey Abadie took the ball at mid-field and advanced to within 5 meters. Soon after, Gaëlle Mignot was able to drive over for a try. Aubrey Abadie’s conversion went wide, but France took a 5-0 lead.

At the 20th minute, France was penalized at their own 40 meter line. Canada elected to kick a penalty kick, but Andrea Burk’s kick went wide. Soon later, numerous picks by the Canadian forwards were repelled by France. Quick hands then got the ball wide, but an errant pass went into touch.

In the ensuing lineout by France, the ball was taken by Canada. France found themselves under pressure by Canada, but a after successive penalties by France, Safi N’Diaye was sent to the bin. Barbara Mervin then barrelled over for a try and Burk converted for a 7-5 lead at the 27th minute.

After the restart, Canada attacked again with Latoya Blackwood finding a gap and advancing deep into French territory. Julianna Zussman went into contact and Andrea Burk picked for a try in the corner. Burk had a difficult conversion from near touch and the conversion was good for a 14-5 lead at the 32nd minute.

Canada kept the momentum flowing as they attacked within a couple of meters from the line before a penalty allowed France to relieve some pressure. That would not be the case, as an Alex Tessier offload to Frédérique Rajotte resulted in a try in the corner with no time remaining before halftime. Burk’s conversion went wide right and at halftime the score was 19-5 in favor of Canada.

France had the first major attack seven minutes into the second half, as Elodie Poublan broke inside Canada territory and Audrey Abadie advanced the ball inside 22 meters. Two minutes later, Gaëlle Mignot went in for her second try of the match. The conversion was missed, but France narrowed the gap to 19-10.

The French defense was solid all day and Canada needed to work to increase their lead at the 68th minute when Olivia DeMerchant picked the ball from a breakdown for a try. Andrea Burk then missed the conversion.

With one minute remaining, Latoya Blackwood added a try and Canada emerged with a 29-10 win over France.

Canada won the 2016 Women’s Rugby Super Series in dominant fashion, going undefeated and scoring 114 points. England, France and the USA finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th, respectively.

Rugby Canada in their match report had some interesting observations by Francois Ratier, Shaun Allen and Laura Russell.

Francois Ratier, Canada’ Women’s Head Coach said, “It’s a huge satisfaction. We learned from last year and we achieved our goal of getting better throughout the year. I am proud of the team and my fantastic staff.”

Francois Ratier was not available for the Series for personal reasons, so Interim Head Coach Shaun Allen guided the team to the Series win.

Allen commented about the players saying “It’s a pretty impressive performance by all our players in the three games. We showed a lot of heart, a lot of tenacity. Today was as close to a complete performance as we could put together.”

Finally, Canada’s captain Laura Russell said “The girls put in a lot of work in this camp and we stepped it up every time we stepped onto the field. As we continue to build towards the Women’s Rugby World Cup, it’s important for us to come together as a group like this and having wins against these teams puts us on the front foot.”

Canada: 1 Carolyn McEwen 2 Mary-Jane Kirby 3 DaLeaka Menin 4 Laura Russell (C) 5 Kayla Mack 6 Barbara Mervin 7 Latoya Blackwood 8 Jacey Grusnick 9 Chelsea Guthrie 10 Emily Belchos 11 Frédérique Rajotte 12 Andrea Burk 13 Alex Tessier 14 Brittany Waters 15 Julianna Zussman 16 Julis Folk 17 Demi Stamatatis 18 Olvia DeMerchant 19 Tyson Beukeboom 20 Fabiola Forteza 21 Brianna Miller 22 Anais Holly 23 Katie McNally

France: 1 Lisa Arricaste 2  Gaëlle Mignot (c) 3 Julie Duval 4 Céline Ferer 5  Audrey Forlani 6 Romane Menager 7  Gaëlle Hermet 8 Safi N’Diaye 9 Laure Sansus 10 Camille Imart 11 Audrey Abadie 12 Julie Billes 13 Lucille Godiveau 14 Elodie Poublan 15 Laura Delas 16 Agathe Sochat 17Dhia Maylis Traore 18 Manon André 19  20 Yanna Rivoalen 21 Camille Boudaud 22 Carla Neissen 23 Patricia Carricaburu

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