Women's RWC 2017

August 26 2017


Elissa Alarie celebrates after win over Australia at World Cup 2017
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Canada Claim 5th Place with 43-12 Rout of Australia: VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS


The match was a fitting end for some of the senior players and coach who will be retiring from the program after the World Cup. I'm sure they were hoping for a medal match, it wasn't to be but they finished the 5th place match off in style.

Australia had the best of the opening minutes and twice had the lead in the first 20. Australia were dominating the physical contest and gaining yards on every carry by the forwards. They had seen how NZ had dominated here and were trying to duplicate their effort. The Australians couldn't back that effort up with any attack out wide where Canada had the advantage, the first three Canadian tries were from the backline Zussman, Thornborough, Alarie.



Once Canada had gained the lead for the final time the Australians lost a bit of their physical edge and Canada opened it up with further tries by Paquin, Zussman, Russell and Alarie.

The scrum was again key to turning the game around and a shout out to scrum coach Gary Dukelow.

Zussman had her best game of the tournament at fullback but it was Paquin, also at her finest, who won Player of the Match honours.

France had overtaken Canada for 3rd place in the World Rankings published on August 20th. The new rankings, reflecting the last two games, should be out by Monday.

Francois Ratier is stepping away as head coach of the women's XVs team, where he ends up next will be interesting, will he be offered the men's position or will he step away from Rugby Canada completely. Many of the senior players are likely closing out their career this World Cup and the new coach will need to find equivalent talent from the club ranks. Veteran players likely retiring from international rugby include Karen Paquin, Barbara Mervin, Julianne Zussman, Andrea Burk, Brittany Waters and Kelly Russell.

Hopefully next World Cup they will change the format to 16 teams and 4 pools as it was a cruel tournament to only lose one match to one of the best teams in the world, New Zealand, and yet find yourself out of the Cup running. World Rugby have received a lot of criticism around their approach to the women's game and that should fuel some positive changes.

from Rugby Canada

BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – Canada earned a fifth-place finish and a 4-1 overall record at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC), after beating Australia 43-12 in the Fifth Place Play-off Saturday at Queen’s University.

After an early try from Australia, the Canadians struck back in emphatic fashion, scoring four first-half tries, including three in a span of eight minutes, to seize momentum and take control of the contest. With three more tries in the second half, the Canadians cruised to a convincing win.

Julianne Zussman tallied her first of two tries to spark the Canadian offence in the 11th minute and after a Wallaroos try briefly put Australia back on top, an Amanda Thornborough score launched an impressive offensive surge from Canada that carried them to the final whistle.

Elissa Alarie and Karen Paquin, who was named the Woman of the Match, scored before the break, while Zussman, Alarie and captain Kelly Russell put up second-half tries.

Sarah Riordan and Liz Patu scored tries for Australia.
“That was a fun one to play,” Russell said. “We want to play with high tempo. We want use the width of the field and use our speed and we did that today. Australia played really hard and gave us a hard time in those breakdowns, but I’m so proud of the girls and the effort they put out there. The heart was amazing all throughout the tournament.”

Despite missing the Cup semifinals, Canada finished their WRWC campaign with their only loss coming against finalist and No. 1-ranked New Zealand.

The game marked Canada’s final match with head coach Francois Ratier at the helm. Francois took over as the head coach in 2013, leading the women’s team into each of the last two World Cups, including Canada’s second-place finish in 2014.

“Francois has been amazing for women’s rugby in Canada, building us to where we are (today),” Russell said. “I want to give a big thank you to him. I’m also just so proud to play with every one of these girls and the support from the Canadians here and back home has been absolutely amazing.”

Since Canada’s loss to the Black Ferns in pool play, they outscored Wales and Australia by a combined 95-12 en route to their fifth place finish.

With her brace, Alarie finished the tournament with six tries, which put her in a tie with Magali Harvey for the team lead.

Canada has been in the fifth-place bracket three times at the World Cup, finishing fifth in 1991 and sixth in both 1994 and 2010. In 2014, Canada finished second overall after losing to England in the final.

The Canadians and Australians met earlier this year in the International Women’s Rugby Series in New Zealand, with Canada earning a 45-5 victory.

Match Report:
It was all Australia early and the Wallaroos Sarah Riordan capitalized, scoring in the fourth minute to help her team to a 7-0 lead.

After Australia owned 97 per cent of possession though the first 10 minutes, the Canadians swung back off a turnover, with Julianne Zussman finishing off an 80m try. After Cindy Nelles snatched a turnover, the Canadians spun it to the wing, before Zussman nabbed a fortuitous bounce off the hands of an Australian defender and ran it in from 40m out.

The Aussies pushed back, with Liz Patu touching down off the back of a ruck to put the Wallaroos up 12-7 in the 20th minute.

Canada responded in short order, with Amanda Thornborough the beneficiary of some nifty Canadian offloading, taking a looping pass from Alex Tessier and scoring in the 28th minute to knot the match 12-12.

Taking advantage of a yellow card to Australia’s Rebecca Clough, Canada took less than two minutes to put a try on the scoreboard. Karen Paquin sent an over the top ball to Elissa Alarie and the Canadian winger took it the final 10 metres herself. Miller slotted the conversion to put Canada ahead 19-12.

Continuing to put their offensive talent on display, Canada’s Paquin weaved through the Australian defence to put up her team’s fourth try of the first half and give the Canadians a 24-12 lead heading into halftime.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Canadian offensive flair was once again on full display, with a number of short passes leading up to Zussman’s second try of the game.

With Canada up a player after Australia’s Cheyenne Campbell was shown yellow in the 64th minute, Kelly Russell touched down off the back of a five-metre Canadian scrum.

Alarie notched her second of the contest in the 73rd minute and Andrea Burk put up the extra two points to cap the scoring for Canada.

Canada Scoring:
Tries: Zussman (2), Alarie (2), Thornborough (1), Paquin (1), Russell (1)
Conversions: Miller (2), Burk (2)

Australia Scoring:
Tries: Riordan (1), Patu (1)
Conversions: Hewson (1)

Scoring Summary:
First Half
Try – Sarah Riordan (AUS) – 4’
Conversion – Ashleigh Hewson (AUS) – 5’
Try – Julianne Zussman (CAN) – 11’
Conversion – Brianna Miller (CAN) – 12’
Try – Liz Patu (AUS) – 20’
Try – Amanda Thornborough (CAN) – 28’
Try – Elissa Alarie (CAN) – 31’
Conversion – Brianna Miller (CAN) – 32’
Try – Karen Paquin (CAN) – 36’

Second Half
Try – Julianne Zussman (CAN) – 50’
Try – Kelly Russell (CAN) – 64’
Conversion – Andrea Burk (CAN) – 65’
Try – Elissa Alarie (CAN) – 73’
Conversion – Andrea Burk (CAN) – 73’

Yellow Cards
Australia – Rebecca Clough (30’)
Australia – Liz Patu (37’)
Australia – Cheyenne Campbell (64’)

Canada’s Roster againts Australia:
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. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
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. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
10. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
11. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
12. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
13. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
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. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Stratchona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)

2017 WRWC Staff:
Francois Ratier- Head Coach
Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach
Colette McAuley- Technical Support
Nicole Crowley- Manager
Shannon Houston – Team Doctor
Brad Curry – Physiotherapist
Jamie McCartney – Strength & Conditioning
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager
Meaghan Howat – Director

Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:
Pool Play
Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park (Dublin)
5th Place Semifinal
Canada 52 Wales 0 – Queen’s University (Belfast)
5th Place Play-Off
Canada 43 Australia 12 – Kingspan Stadium (Belfast)



Final Match for Canada at World Cup vs Australia for 5th Place 9am PT


Canada face Australia for 5th place tomorrow morning at 9am PT.

The biggest change sees Alex Tessier switch to #10 and Belchos goes to inside centre. Belchos hasn't had a great tournament at flyhalf and a switch there may give a boost to the Canadian attack. Brianna Miller who had a great game against Wales keeps the #9 jersey.

Harvey comes back into the lineup after sitting out the Wales game, hopefully she can put her skill to good use and up her work rate to see more ball. Alarie who has been strong all tournament keeps her spot on the other wing.

from Rugby Canada

BELFAST, IRELAND – With fifth place on the line at the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC) in Ireland, Canada’s Women’s Team head coach Francois Ratier has made three changes to the starting lineup that will face Australia in the fifth place play-off Saturday (12pm ET/9am PT) at Queen’s University.

Sticking with a similar lineup that earned Canada a 52-0 victory over Wales in the semifinals, Ratier’s side will see Magali Harvey re-enter the lineup after she was unavailable for selection against the Welsh due to injury. Harvey will slot in on the right wing in replacement of Frederique Rajotte, with Elissa Alarie on the left wing.

DaLeaka Menin returns to the starting roster and will be joined by front-rowers Carolyn McEwen and Laura Russell, who have started all five WRWC matches.

Cindy Nelles will get the call in the second row for the second time in as many games, teaming up with Latoya Blackwood, who was named the Woman of the Match against Wales.

As has been the case throughout the entire tournament, Jacey Grusnick, Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell will form the back row.

Brianna Miller, who was a late addition to the starting lineup against Wales due to an injury to Lori Josephson, will return at scrumhalf after she put up 15 points, including a try and five conversions in the semifinal.

For the first time at the World Cup there has been a switch at flyhalf, as Alex Tessier gets the nod at number 10, with Emily Belchos and Amanda Thornborough in the centre positions.

Julianne Zussman remains at fullback, and will be joined by the familiar winger duo of Harvey and Alarie.

Canada will be looking to finish the WRWC on a winning note, with a victory securing a 4-1 record. This will be the first ever meeting between Canada and Australia in the WRWC.

The two teams met earlier this year in the International Women’s Rugby Series in New Zealand, with Canada earning a 45-5 victory.

Canada has been in the fifth-place bracket four times at the World Cup, finishing fifth in 1991 and sixth in both 1994 and 2010.

Kick-off between Canada and Australia is set for 12pm ET/9am PT on Saturday and you can watch live on TSN/RDS.

What Carolyn McEwen said:

“Against Wales, we were a lot more physical in contact. We’re expecting a physical game against Australia too, so we’re looking to really build off our game against Wales and really take that physicality to the next level. We’re definitely here to go for the win and really bring this team together. We really want to show at this point what we can do as a tea, because we really believe in what we can put on the field.”

What Assistant Coach Shaun Allen said:

“We were happy with the performance against Wales, getting back to a performance where we can score a lot of points and where our defence and set pieces can be solid. We’re in a pretty good spot and hopefully we’re going to end on a high.

“Just from (Australia’s) performance at the World Cup, we’ve seen massive improvements in what they have been able to do since the New Zealand series. They’re very physical and very direct in terms of what they do on the attack. It’s going to be a good test for our defence and our ability to tackle them. They have some weapons around the field and we’re going to have to do a good job of identifying them and shutting them down.”

Canada’s Roster to face Australia:

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. Cindy Nelles, Belleville Bulldogs (Belleville, ON)
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. Brianna Miller, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Pointe-Claire, QC)
10. Alex Tessier, Montreal Barbarians (Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, QC)
11. Elissa Alarie, Vice Captain, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue RFC/Westshore RFC (Trois Rivieres, QC)
12. Emily Belchos, Westshore RFC (Innisfil, ON)
13. Amanda Thornborough, Westshore RFC (Brandon, MB)
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. Kayla Mack, Saskatoon Wild Oats (Saskatoon, SK)
20. Barbara Mervin, Westshore RFC (Peterborough, ON)
21. Chelsea Guthrie, Strathcona Druids (Edmonton, AB)
22. Andrea Burk, Capilano RFC (North Vancouver, BC)
23. Brittany Waters, Meraloma Athletic Club/Castaway Wanderers (Vancouver, BC)

2017 WRWC Staff:

Francois Ratier- Head Coach
Shaun Allen- Assistant Coach
Gary Dukelow – Assistant Coach
Colette McAuley- Technical Support
Nicole Crowley- Manager
Shannon Houston – Team Doctor
Brad Curry – Physiotherapist
Nicole Ainsworth- Athletic Therapist
James Kent- Analyst
Bryan Kelly – Media Manager

Canada’s 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup Schedule:

Pool Play

Canada 98 Hong Kong 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 15 Wales 0 – Billings Park (Dublin)
Canada 5 New Zealand 48 – Billings Park (Dublin)

5th Place Semifinal

Canada 52 Wales 0 – Queen’s University (Belfast)

5th Place Play-Off

Canada vs. Australia – Aug 26 – 12pm ET/9am PT – Queen’s University (Belfast)

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