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 unbeatens with New Zealand (7am ET/4am PT) on Thursday in the final match of pool play.
Despite a strong showing from the Welsh side, the Canadians were the better team, especially in the second half and were full value for the win. After taking a 7-0 lead into halftime, the Canadians had all the pressure in the second half, but a staunch Welsh defence kept the game close.
After several knocks on the door, the Canadians finally added to their lead in the 69th minute when Harvey slotted a penalty to provide a little insurance. Just before the fulltime whistle, Harvey crossed the line herself, tallying her sixth try of the tournament.
Captain Kelly Russell, who earned her 50th cap with Canada, was named the Guinness Woman of the Match.
“I think in our first game we got the offence right and in this game we got the defence right, but the next one we’ll put it all together,” Russell said. “Wales put a lot of pressure on us, but (the knock-ons) are pure discipline on our part and it’s something we have to clean up. I’m very happy with the discipline on defence we had. It’s definitely something to build off of.”
Josephson tallied Canada’s opening try in the 25th minute when she took advantage of a hard-charging run from Russell, picking the ball from the back of the ruck and slicing through the Welsh defence from 10 metres out. The try was Josephson’s first ever at the World Cup.
With a converted try secured, Canada had a chance to extend their lead soon after and were on the edge of the Welsh try line, but Wales held the Canadians up just a few metres out. A late Wales push was unfruitful and the teams went into halftime with Canada up by seven.
The second half story was all about Canada’s driving forward and Wales desperate defence. Three times within the first 15 minutes of the second half, Canada came within inches of the Welsh line, only to be denied on the stoop. The win was Canada’s first ever World Cup victory over Wales. This was be the third time Canada and Wales have met in the WRWC. The two sides previously met in 1991, when they played to a 9-9 draw, and in 1994, when Wales edged Canada 11-5. Both games were also in pool play.
Canada will now prepare for a New Zealand side that is coming of a 121-0 win over Hong Kong. Canada faced the Kiwis earlier this year in the opener of the International Women’s Rugby Series, losing 28-16 in New Zealand.
The Welsh looked impressive early on, earning much of the possession and forcing the Canadians into a few early turnovers. However, with 20 minutes in the books, the Canadians pushed back and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Lori Josephson tallied her first World Cup try.
With momentum swinging Canada’s way and they were soon knocking on the door again, but the Wales defence held the Canadians up with just a few metres to spare. A late thrust forward from Wales was unsuccessful and the teams went into the break with Canada leading 7-0.
Canada came out in second half on the front foot, but once again Wales held them just inches shy of the try line on several occasions. With the teams each down a player, with yellow cards shown to both sides, the Canadians went to the boot to extend their lead in the 69th minute. Magali Harvey converted to put Canada up 10-0 with just over 10 minutes to play.
Harvey rounded out the scoring when she took a pass 15 metres out and did the rest of the work, sprinting down the right wing and touching down.
Canada’s Roster to Face Wales (name, club, hometown):
1. Carolyn McEwen, Burnaby Lake RFC (Vancouver, BC)
2. Laura Russell, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
3. DaLeaka Menin, Calgary Hornets (Vulcan, AB)
4. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
5. Latoya Blackwood, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Montreal, QC)
6. Jacey Grusnick, Barrhaven Scottish (Alliston, ON)
7. Karen Paquin, Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers (Quebec City, QC)
8. Kelly Russell, Captain, Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC (Bolton, ON)
9. Lori Josephson, Aurora Barbarians (Beaverton, ON)
10. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
11. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
12. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
13. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
14. Magali Harvey, Club de Rugby de Quebec (Quebec City, QC)
15. Julianne Zussman, Castaway Wanderers (Montreal, QC)
16. Jane Kirby, Highland Fergus Rugby Club (Brampton, ON)
17. Brittany Kassil, Guelph Redcoats (Guelph, ON)
18. Olivia DeMerchant, Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers (Mapledale, NB)
19. Tyson Beukeboom, Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC (Uxbridge, ON)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)