World Number 3 Pulls off Decisive Victory against its North America Neighbors to take Two Game Series and level the Tournament Score
Canada and its local rugby rivals USA faced their 36th tournament in San Diego, CA on April 1st in an important match up for the Can Am Series. Internationally ranked 3rd in the world, Canada was thought to have the upper hand over the Eagles, who are currently ranked 7th. Rankings aside, Canada was looking to even their total win-loss record against their neighbours, and managed to do so with a decisive 37-10 win over the Eagles. Winning both games of the two game series, Canada claimed the Can-Am Cup and balanced their record against the USA to 18 wins each.
RELATED: Fierce Battle Ensues at CanAms Rugby
Canada was looking to improve their first half performance after a relatively slow start against the Eagles this earlier in the week. Captain Kelly Russell led by example with a try early in the early minutes of the game, picking from the base of an ever-strong Canadian scrum five metres off the try line. Sunny skies allowed Canada to play their expansive style of rugby with their experienced and slippery back line putting the rest of their tries down in the corner of the pitch. This was a drastic change to Canada’s execution on Tuesday, where forwards were responsible for most of the scoreboard. Continued world-class performances were delivered by the addition of 7s players returning to the XVs game, notably Karen Paquin making textbook tackles throughout the game.
RELATED: Ruck On; The Rugby Show podcast with Kim & Maria
USA appeared to take the first 40 minutes to adjust to Canada’s expanse and pace, but managed to gain possession and pressure Canada’s end throughout the second half. Eagles front row substitutes provided a powerful impact. Jamila Reinhardt made several line breaks, and Phaidra Knight’s emergence from the woodworks brought a confidence and experience from three World Cup performances that the young Eagles need right now. The USA also managed to draw several penalties from Canada and turnover the ball by pressuring the tackle area. Despite this, the Eagles defense was broken by an organized Canadian backline, bringing the final score to 37-10.
Both teams will continue their preparations for the upcoming World Cup this coming summer in Ireland. USA head coach Pete Steinberg was impressed with the Eagles defense, citing 60 tackles in the first half alone. He noted the scrum as an area to work on in future months. Canada lis focused now on its next important series as they head to New Zealand in June to face the Black Ferns, England’s Red Roses, and the Australian Wallaroos in a pre World Cup competition.
Kim Donaldson is a retired Canadian team front row player. She participated in two World Cups, accumulating 45 caps over her ten year career and has since turned her attention towards coaching. She coached the Concordia Stingers for three years helping them climb to a fourth place national ranking, and has worked with the Canada U20 Women for the past two years. Recently Kim has relocated to Victoria, BC, where she has landed with the University of Victoria Vikes.