Rugby Canada’s Senior Women’s 15s returned to Infinity Park on Friday night, earning their second win of the week over USA Rugby, 26-13 to capture the inaugural World Rugby Pacific Four Series title, which was contested only in North America this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
United States captain Kate Zackary opened scoring just minutes into play, followed by a quick response from Canada’s Sophie de Goede, who converted her own try. Teammate Courtney Holtkamp followed with a second Canada try to put her side up 12-7 before the nine-minute-mark of the opening half.
A United States penalty goal in the 28th minute from Gabby Cantorna cut the Canadian lead to 12-10, but the visitors answered right back once again with a try from Alex Ellis and a second conversion from de Goede.
The teams would head into the break with Canada leading 19-10.
Karen Paquin’s try with just over 10 minutes remaining in the match all but secured the Pacific Four Series title for Canada, whose defense stood tall despite being down a player for the majority of the second half following a red card. Paquin’s score would mark the final points for either side, with Canada maintaining a 26-13 lead through to the final whistle, capping off an impressive week of play following a two-year hiatus from competition.
“It’s absolutely amazing to be back with the team, we’ve spent a long time apart,” said Canada captain Laura Russell. “This environment…it was unbelievable to play here.”
Canada’s Laetitia Royer and Julia Schell made their Senior 15s debuts Friday night, while Paquin earned Mastercard’s Player of the Match after another strong performance.
“We had some things to work on, we wanted to come out hard and flying and we tried to do that,” added Russell. “We’ve still got a ways to go, we’re building right now, but we definitely wanted that fire in the game and we’re proud that we gritted it out and took home the win.”
Canada’s Senior Women’s 15s now travel to Europe for a November 14th fixture against world #1-ranked England at Twickenham Stoop in London. The match kicks off at 9:30am ET/6:30am PT and will be available to view in Canada on TSN.ca or through the TSN app.