Oh, Canada!

Posted in Canada Rugby / Fifteens / News / NSWT / RWC

Oh, Canada!


By now, any readers of this site would have seen/ heard about the Women's monumental, semi-final victory yesterday over France, 18 - 16. One cannot offer enough superlatives for this monumental milestone for Canadian Rugby, specifically, for Canadian Women’s Rugby. Their self-belief, their dedication to, not just the game but each other, raising funds to basically pay their own way to this World Cup and so forth. Your self-belief, ever so visible in your game has been duly rewarded.


In the early stages, Canada failed to get any rub of the green from the Irish ref but they did settle after evident jitters, based predominantly on some good set scrummaging. It was the French who could complain that they were hard done by with an early yellow card for a “spear tackle” and despite being a man short, they actually responded with some cohesive team play. Field position was fairly equal, perhaps Canada having an edge. Right on the knell of the half, Harvey slotted a trey to tie the score line at 6 – 6. Canada lost their #9 just before the half with what looks like a tournament-ending knee injury. I must comment on Bernier. Her improvement over the four games has been commendable, today showing good service skills under pressure and her overall game, typifying the style of the team.


It was mere minutes in the second stanza when Alarie, who had moved from #15, threw a “huge dummy” from a scrum, opening a gap and she scooted the forty metres to the try line for the game’s opening tally. Just two minutes later, with Canada under some pressure, a scrum was won in the defending red zone, the ball went quickly through Marchak and Burke’s hands to the mercurial Harvey, the “Mighty Mouse” of this team. She scooted, shimmied and shook some eighty metres for arguably the tally of the tournament. Not only that, she converted from a reasonably challenging angle. Canada had their tails up and kept the pressure on, almost scoring the hat trick but it was not to be. The big French pack was looking bagged but fresh legs put a finger in the dam and one had a sense that their forward control, making large chunks of yardage, pick and drive, maul, off load and trundle was turning the table and the question of how long Canada could keep their line free of the French became a nagging one. They scored their first try with fifteen minutes remaining. They maintained the pressure and it took some amazing defence to keep them out – mention, one terrific try saver from Marchak. Willed by the crowd they were not to be denied and with the clock showing 79 minutes they scored with a relatively easy conversion that could tie the game. The first flinch of the kicker, saw a line of red banshees and the ball floated left. Fate, perhaps but a result created by every possible contingency being taken care of by the players.


Bouquets to Marie Pinault-Reid and Hilary Leith, the props who set the platform for the win. Kelly Russell had a lot on her plate today and was not as visible but her leadership is phenomenal, her fellow loosies, Murphy and Paquin were more noticeable and just accomplished heaps of work. I have become a HUGE fan of Alarie and Harvey, both epitomizing to players of smaller stature, just what can be accomplished. The center pairing of Burke and Marchak was pure gold. Plenty of superlatives but we know that this group believes the highest mantle can be achieved, so we wish them all the best for Sunday’s Final.