Canada fell to the New Zealand Black Ferns

rugby barbra
Day one double-header of WRSS sees England beat USA 39-13 and New Zealand defeat hosts Canada 40-22 in Calgary on Saturday
Barbara Mervin Photo credit Ron LeBlanc
CALGARY, AB – Canada fell to the New Zealand Black Ferns 40–22 in their opening game of the Women’s Rugby Super Series at the Calgary Rugby ParkSaturday evening.

Winger Honey Hireme scored two tries, including a stunning solo effort in the second half as the Black Ferns put up 22 second half points.

“It wasn’t the result we expected but for us it was our first game in nearly a year,” head coach Francois Ratier said. “The crowd was great, we would have preferred winning the game but we will have another chance on Wednesday and July 5th.”

The Black Ferns struck first as Charlene Halapua scored from a 5 metre lineout but Canada responded in positive fashion and were rewarded in the 15 minute when Olivia DeMerchant crashed over the line.

The Black Ferns would retake the lead in the 25th minute as Kendra Cocksedge kicked a penalty before Hireme snagged her first try of the game as she paced down the wing on a Black Ferns counter attack in the 28th minute. Four minutes later, Chelsea Alley had the third try for New Zealand after taking an offload from Victoria Subritski-Nafatali and touchding down to put the Black Ferns ahead 18-5.
“We tried to create a lot of movement and we have some things to build on for the next game,” Ratier said. “Obviously ball retention and ball in contact are areas we need to work on as we had too many turnovers but once again it’s a start for us and we will build on that.”
Canada received a lifeline right on half time as Latoya Blackwood, who brought her usual dominant running to the field, burst threw a tackle before offloading to Andrea Burk, who converted her own try, leaving Canada trailing 18-12 at the break.
The Black Ferns built on their lead quickly in the second half as Renne Wickliffe, Hireme, who scored on a wonderful solo try as she evaded would be tacklers, and Subritski-Nafatali all scored in a 13 minute burst. Blackwood got her name on the board after taking a nice feed from Tessier and Tyson Beukeboom got Canada within 13 points with six minutes to play, trailing 35-22. However, Janna Vaughn answered immediately for the final try of the night.
“I think in our attack we were very strong, we have fast players, fit players, but in defence we need to learn to get our of rucks we’re not winning and just spread out a little more and cover the outsides,” said Natasha Smith, who made her senior debut Saturday.
 rugby amanda
Amanda Thornborough Photo credit Ron LeBlanc
Ratier handed Smith, Chelsea Guthrie and Alex Tessier their test match debuts by naming them in the starting lineup while seven other players earned their first cap coming off the bench.
“My heart was definitely pumping,” said Julia Folk, who made her debut Saturday. “It was incredible. The energy on the field was wild. I got on at the end and the tempo was already set. I really enjoyed it.”
Smith, who found herself in open space on the wing as she used her pace often, was also excited about representing her country for the first time.
“It was unreal to be up there with such amazing players, being able to put in what I could offer and to inject some pace into the lineup and do the best I can,” she said. “It was amazing to be able to play for my country.”
Canada is back in action on Canada Day where they face the USA in Red Deer. Also on July 1, New Zealand will tackle England. Tickets to both games are available at and each game will be streamed LIVE at
Canada’s Roster for Game 1 of the Women’s Rugby Super Series – (Club), Hometown, Province
1 – Laura Russell – captain, (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
2 – Mary-Jane Kirby, (Highland RFC) Brampton, ON
3 – Olivia DeMerchant, (Woodstock Wildmen) Mapledale, NB
4 – Tyson Beukeboom, (Aurora Barbarians) Uxbridge, ON
5 – Maria Samson, (Calgary Hornets) Calgary, AB
6 – Barbara Mervin, (Velox RFC) Peterborough, ON
7 – Latoya Blackwood, (St. Anne de Bellevue) Montreal, QC
8 – Jacey Murphy, (Aurora Barbarians) Alliston, ON
9 – Chelsea Guthrie, (Stratchona Druids) Edmonton, AB
10 – Alex Tessier, (Montreal Barbarians) Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QB
11 – Natasha Smith, (Barrhaven Scottish) Ottawa, ON
12 – Andrea Burk, (Capilano RFC) North Vancouver, BC
13 – Amanda Thornborough, (Brandon Barbarians RFC) Brandon, MB
14 – Brittany Waters, (Meraloma Athletic Club) Vancouver, BC
15 – Julianne Zussman, (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, QC
16 – Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake Rugby Club), Vancouver, BC
17 – Julia Folk, (Regina Rogues), Regina, SK
18 – DaLeaka Menin, (Hornets) Vulcan, AB
19 – Emma Taylor, (Halifax RFC) Halifax, NS
20 – Cindy Nelles, (Oakville Crusaders / Belleville Bulldogs) Belleville, ON
21 – Jess Neilson, (Meraloma) Vancouver, BC
22 – Katie McNally (Velox Valkries) Guelph, ON
23 – Lisa Gauthier, (St-Anne de Bellevue), St-Bernardino, ON
Senior Women’s Coaching Staff:
Head Coach: Francois Ratier
Forwards Coach: Shaun Allen
Backs Coach: Colette McAuley
Scrum Coach: Gary Dukelow (West) John Lavery (East)
Manager: Meaghan Howat
New Zealand squad to face Canada:
1 – Toka Natua
2 – Fiao’o Fa’amusaili (captain)
3 – Aleisha Nelson
4 – Eloise Blackwell
5 – Chamaine Smith
6 – Charlene Halapua
7 – Justine Lavea
8 – Linda Itunu
9 – Kendra Cocksedge
10 – Victoria Subritski-Nafatali
11 – Renee Wickliffe
12 – Chelsea Alley
13 – Stacey Waaka
14 – Honey Hireme
15 – Selica Winiata (vice captain)
16 – Teresa Te Tamaki
17 – Aldora  Itunu
18 – Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate
19 – Angie Sisifa
20 – Lesley Ketu
21 – Emma Jenson
22 – Kiritapu Demant
23 -Janna VaughnJune 27 – Calgary, AB
Calgary Rugby Park
Game 1: USA 13 – 39 England
Game 2: Canada 22- 40 New ZealandJuly 1 – Red Deer, AB
Red Deer Rugby Club
Game 1: New Zealand vs. England
Kick Off: 4:00pm MT
Game 2: Canada vs. USA
Kick Off: 6:30pm MT
July 5 – Edmonton, AB
Ellerslie Rugby Park
Game 1: New Zealand vs. USA
Kick Off: 4:00pm MT
Game 2: Canada vs. England
Kick Off: 6:30pm MT

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