Women Complete Well-Deserved Double Header
Canada's NSWT completed their two-game sweep of the U.S. on Friday night. Again, TSN provided good coverage with expert commentary from a U.S. enthusiast providing little insights to the players - well done! The following synthesis is for those who may have missed the game and do not have the time to utube it!
The game was only two minutes old when the U.S. completed a sweeping and dominant series following the opening kick off. Canada, not to be outdone, responded almost immediately with a De Goede, brute force, unstoppable leg drive following four try line recycles. Shortly after, loosie, Courtney Holtkamp, made a fine, dodging run and offered a "don't argue" fend for the second try. Then it was more heroics from Sophie around the thirty minute mark, when she alertly spotted a defensive gap from a ruck and burst toward the tryline. It was all hands on deck for the hosts and she was desparatley pulled down only for the ensuing ruck to produce quality ball for a hard-working prop, Alex Ellis, to cross for a 19 -10 lead. The U.S. received a yellow card very late in the half and despite Canada's close proximity to the line, no advantage could be taken and they worked the ball downfield safely.
Early in the second half the hosts notched a penalty to close to 13 - 19. Shortly after, Canada received a yellow for a breakdown infringement and the U.S. looked very dangerous. It was committed defensive work that turned the fray. When the same culprit re-offended she recieved a red card and Canada was short for the next thirty minutes. Some fresh U.S. legs in the FRF caused scrummaging issues and it was only stout defense and amazing commitment that repelled the ladies wearing maroon. Cometh the hour, cometh the player, and it was Karen Paquin who had assumed the Captaincy following Laura Russell's departure, who did what only Paquin can do. She broke a tackle and skipped away from another and she was off! A side-step and thirty five metres later, she was over the line for De Goede to add another convert and with a mere five minutes on the clock, fourteen ladies carried the day, 26 - 13.
Again, it was another intriguing battle however a four try to one differential really did tell the tale of the tape. Canada had made eleven changes to Monday's side. Every member of this squad made a difference and selections for the RWC will be difficult, as it should be. On the night, I really liked the props, Kassil and Ellis and the rest of the tight forwards all worked hard with moments of standout play. The loosies, Paquin, Player-of-the Match, and DeGoede with eleven points, were simply outstanding. I thought Westshore's Emily Belchos at #10 was the pick of the backs, providng a good link with a feisty scrum half, Pelletier, causing some real threats with shifty breaks. Shout out to all who subbed in from the pines. Canada are ranked #3 in the world and next travel to the UK to take on #1, England. I thought this game produced some outstanding rugby and all involved are to be congratulated. It was well-officiated, although, arguably, the cards may have been a bit over the top. 'onyas!
FOOTNOTE - Just in. Canada's NSMT lost a "last-minute" decision to a higher ranked Portugal, 17 - 20. From the scoreline one would read that this was a far better effort than that we have recently witnessed.
CW Men take a pair at the Hornet's Nest. The train chugs on!