New Zealand steam-roll Canada to complete perfect run to World Cup semis

An eight-try rout has left 2014 runners-up Canada out of the running for a semi-final berth.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

New Zealand 48

Canada 5

Sean Farrell reports from Billings Park, UCD.

ON A DAY of pool deciders, New Zealand turned what should have been a close-run contest into a procession for their march to top seed for the semi-final stage with 15 points from their three games.

Though the Black Ferns saw off the world’s number three team with relative ease in June, even they must have been surprised with a dominant eight-try win over a terrific Canada outfit who will now miss out on the semi-finals.

Canada lived up to their billing as finalists in the last World Cup for just about seven minutes as they tested the Kiwi defence with a terrific high-tempo attack based off the pop passes of Lori Josephson. That early promise was torn to shreds by the searing pace of Portia Woodman on New Zealand’s very first attack. The Sevens star broke through the red midfield and scorched her way to the 22 before releasing a textbook pass for Selica Winiata.

While there was a sharp breeze blowing across the field at 45 degrees from Canada’s end, the Black Ferns reeled in the ambition of their rugby in favour of turning the screw with clever kicking from Kelly Brazier and Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali.

Pinning the Canucks into the corner, the black pack forced their advantage and used the power of tighthead prop Aldora Itunu twice in the space of five minutes to breach the whitewash and put a 19-point gap between the teams with just 23 minutes on the clock.

New Zealand perform the Haka Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Ituunu would have her name called out on the tannoy again five minutes later, but this time after receiving a yellow card for a head high hit. No matter. The disparity in strength was already in evidence. So while the red wall rushed up and presented for tackles, they too often were brushed aside by the powerful out-half Subritzky-Nafatali, number eight Aroha Savage and, to devastating effect the sheer velocity of Woodman.

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Stacey Waaka danced through a haze of tackles to grab New Zealand’s fourth try while they were still down to 14 women and on the stroke of half-time, Subritzky-Nafatali went out the back to Brazier who scythed through the last line of defence to leave the world’s third-best best with a 29-point half-time deficit against the world number two.

The second half delivered a similar pattern. A frenetic early Canadian pace that proved the quality in their ranks, but the onslaught was contained and VSN resumed making big carries from first receiver to pave the way for captain Fiao’o Faamausili to force a sixth.

Magali Harvey and Selica Winiata Magali Harvey and Selica Winiata of New Zealand Source: James Crombie/INPHO

With the US Eagles entering the day on 10 points in Pool C, one ahead of Canada’s nine in Pool A, the Americans took pool position in the race for a runners-up spot with a valiant try-scoring bonus point in defeat to England to put them on 11 points. Ireland, though, can still consign France to the mix when they clash for the right to top Pool C at 19.45 this evening.

A bonus point of ‘garbage time’ tries might have altered that picture for Canada. And after Eloise Blackwell picked up a second Kiwi sin-binning, there was a faint hope of that with Jacey Grusnick dotting down after a sweeping move on the hour mark. However, such optimism soon faded as the Ferns returned fire with a Renee Wickliffe score before Itunu completed her hat-trick and an impressive blackout of the pool stage.


New Zealand

Tries: S Winiata, A Itunu (3), S Waaka, K Brazier, F Faamausili, R Wickliffe

Conversions: K Cocksedge (3/7) K Brazier (1/1)


Tries: J Grusnick

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Conversions: E Belchos (0/1)

CANADA: Elissa Alarie (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC); Magali Harvey (Club de Rugby de Quebec), Alex Tessier (Montreal Barbarians), Amanda Thornborough (Westshore RFC), Julianne Zussman (Castaway Wanderers); Emily Belchos (Westshore RFC), Lori Josephson (Aurora Barbarians); Carolyn McEwen (Burnaby Lake RFC), Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC), DaLeaka Menin (Calgary Hornets), Kayla Mack (Saskatoon Wild Oats), Latoya Blackwood (Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC), Jacey Grusnick (Barrhaven Scottish), Karen Paquin (Club de Rugby de Quebec/Castaway Wanderers), Kelly Russell (Toronto Nomads/Cowichan RFC) (capt).

Replacements: Jane Kirby (Highland Fergus Rugby Club), Brittany Kassil (Guelph Redcoats), Olivia DeMerchant (Woodstock Wildmen/Castaway Wanderers), Tyson Beukeboom (Aurora Barbarians/Cowichan RFC), Barbara Mervin (Westshore RFC), Chelsea Guthrie (Stratchona Druids), Andrea Burk (Capilano RFC), Brittany Waters (Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers).

NEW ZEALAND: Selica Winiata (Manawatu); Portia Woodman (Counties Manukau), Stacey Waaka (Waikato), Kelly Brazier (Otago), Renee Wickliffe (Counties Manukau); Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali (Counties Manukau), Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury); Toka Natua (Waikato), Fiao’o Fa’amausili (Auckland) (capt), Aldora Itunu (Auckland), Eloise Blackwell (Auckland), Charmaine Smith (North Harbour), Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland), Sarah Goss (Manawatu), Aroha Savage (Counties Manukau).

Replacements: Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate (Counties Manukau), Sosoli Talawadua (Waikato), Aotearoa Mata’u (Counties Manukau), Rebecca Wood (North Harbour), Linda Itunu (Auckland), Kristina Sue (Manawatu), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Auckland), Carla Hohepa (Waikato).

Referee: Alhambra Nievas (Spain)

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Updated: 17.00, after the US lost to England.

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Sean Farrell

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