Canada & New Zealand Battle For Pool & Semi-Finals at #WRWC2017

August 16, 2016

Canada & New Zealand Battle For Pool & Semi-Finals at #WRWC2017

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Photo: INPHO/Tommy Dickson (Canada captain Kelly Russell is tackled by Dyddgu Hywel of Wales)

Doug Coil

The second ranked New Zealand Black Ferns will play the third ranked Canada at Billings Park UCD at 7am ET on Thursday.

In the opening round, the Black Ferns beat Wales 44-12, while Canada beat Hong Kong  98-0. In the second round, New Zealand beat Hong Kong 121-0, while Canada won 15-0 against Wales. Both teams are 2-0 and have 10 points and 9 points, respectively.

The winner of the match on Thursday will advance to the Semi-Finals, as the Pool B first place team, while the loser will need to be the top ranked second place team. Pool winners will be determined on Thursday as England plays the USA, both with 10 points, and France with 10 points plays Ireland with 8.

Canada will either need to pick up a win or a bonus point loss to move to the semi-finals, while the Black Ferns would likely still advance should Canada win.

In countries outside of New Zealand and Canada, the match will be streamed on http://www.rwcwomens.com. In Canada, the match can watched live on TSN/RDS. In New Zealand the match will be broadcast on SKY TV. All Black Ferns matches will be streamed live on SKY SPORT 1.

Canada

In the previous match against Wales, Lori Josephson scored a first-half try and Magali Harvey added 10 points in the second half, including both a try and penalty, to give Canada a critical victory that sets up a battle of undefeated teams in New Zealand and Canada. However, Canada with the win, did not gain a critical bonus point and must either win or gain a bonus point for keeping the match within 7 points of the Black Ferns.

Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made one change to the starting lineup that will take on the Black Ferns. Amanda Thornborough will be the outside center, when Andrea Burk, a reserve. In addition, Julianne Zussman and Elissa Alarie swap poistions and will be at wing and fullback, respectively. All other players, including reserves, remain the same.

The other backs include the halfback combination of Lori Josephson and Emily Belchos, with Alex Tessier at center and Magali Harvey, who leads the tournament in scoring with 51 points, at the wing.

Ratier’s pack is unchanged, with Carolyn McEwan, Laura Russell and DaLeaka Menin the front row, Kayla Mack and Latoya Blackwood at lock and a back row of Jacey Grusnick, Karen Paquin and captain Kelly Russell.

Canada, has not given up a point in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.

Canada has played New Zealand twice in the last 12 months with the Black Ferns winning both matches, 28-16 in the International Women’s Rugby Series in Wellington, New Zealand and last fall, 20-10 in Dublin.

Assistant Coach Colette McAuley said: “I’m happy with the girls. Obviously, we wanted to get a few more things executed against Wales that didn’t go our way. But, their energy is good and we know exactly what the game plan is going into New Zealand. The girls are going to bring it. I’m proud of these girls. They just such a tremendous group of athletes. They’ve worked very hard on the game plan and on our defence. We’re going to go out and play some good rugby and have some fun. New Zealand is going to be a tough opponent and it’s going to be a great game.”

New Zealand Black Ferns

Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore has made eight changes and one positional change for the match against Canada. The Black Ferns rotated their starters against Hong Kong and with the exception of Charmaine McMenamin at blindside flanker, the starters against Canada are the same as against Wales in the opening match.

Black Ferns Captain Faamausili is set to reach a record 50 caps, Kendra Cocksedge 40 caps and Eloise Blackwell 30 caps.

The match against Canada will decide the pool winner with places in the semi-finals on the line. Moore said “The Hong Kong match was critical for us to score a good tally of points and have none scored against us. It will stand us in good stead if points differentials need to be calculated.”

“Everyone is very buoyant and excited. This will be a very memorable day for Fiao’o, reaching a 50th cap while at a World Cup is extremely special.”

“Moore said that true to Faamausili’s character, she was determined to focus on the task at hand, rather than her individual achievement.”

“It’s a real testament to Fiao’o’s leadership. As captain she puts the team before everything. It will be a very proud day for the entire Black Ferns family and for rugby.”

For more on Fiao’o Faamausili click here. For her contributions to rugby and in the community, earlier today New Zealand Rugby announced a new annual award – the Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal for the player of the year in the Farah Palmer Cup.

Canada v New Zealand: 1. Carolyn McEwen 2. Laura Russell 3. DaLeaka Menin 4. Kayla Mack 5. Latoya Blackwood 6. Jacey Grusnick 7. Karen Paquin 8. Kelly Russell (C))  9. Lori Josephson 10. Emily Belchos 11. Julianne Zussman 12. Amanda Thornborough 13. Alex Tessier 14. Magali Harvey 15. Elissa Alarie (VC) 16. Jane Kirby 17. Brittany Kassil 18. Olivia DeMerchant 19. Tyson Beukeboom 20. Barbara Mervin 21. Chelsea Guthrie 22. Andrea Burk 23. Brittany Waters

New Zealand Black Ferns v Canada:
1. Toka Natua  2. Fiao’o Faamausili (C) 3. Aldora Itunu 4. Eloise Blackwell 5. Charmaine Smith 6. Charmaine McMenamin 7. Sarah Goss 8. Aroha Savage 9. Kendra Cocksedge 10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali 11. Renee Wickliffe 12. Kelly Brazier 13. Stacey Waaka 14. Portia Woodman 15. Selica Winiata 16. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 17. Sosoli Talawadua 18. Aotearoa Mata’u 19. Rebecca Wood 20. Linda Itunu 21. Kristina Sue 22. Theresa Fitzpatrick  23. Carla Hohepa