Canada brought a young and inexperienced side to Allianz Park on Friday and it showed as they were completely overrun by England to the tune of 79-5. The World Cup finalists taught the visitors a lesson in attacking rugby as they crossed the line 13 times and dominated the match from start to finish. It’s the second-highest number of points conceded by Canada in a test match, bettered only by the 88-3 battering suffered at the hands of New Zealand at the 1996 Canada Cup.
Leading the way for England was Jess Breach who produced a stunning six-try performance in her test debut. Another 20-year-old debutante winger, Abby Dow, touched down twice on her own while 18-year-old fullback Ellie Kildunne, also on debut, wrapped up the scoring.
World Cup veterans Rachael Burford, Amy Cokayne, Marlie Packer, and Rochelle Clarke added singles with Amber Reed kicking five conversions and Zoe Harrison two. Packer was named player of the match following her own outstanding performance. The openside flanker seemed to be everywhere and blasted through the Canadian line almost at will to make space for the youngsters out wide.
It was the defense that proved irreparable as Canada had no answer for the pace of Breach, Dow, and Danielle Waterman out wide, while numerous missed tackles in the middle of the pitch allowed English attackers to get behind the defensive line and pick out the gaping holes left by stragglers.
Bright spots were rare for Canada. The scrum enjoyed a clear advantage but the lineout struggled. Paige Farries had one superb counter-attack that nearly saw her go the length of the field only for England to turn the ball over with the support too slow to react. Cindy Nelles scored Canada’s only points on the hour mark and was her country’s best player, repeatedly taking the ball on and assuming the captaincy when Laura Russell was replaced by Emily Barber.
Canada must find new inspiration ahead of their next meeting with the same opponents at The Stoop on Tuesday. The good news is that an immediate opportunity is available to put what was an utterly forgettable team performance in the rear-view mirror.
Tries – J. Breach 6 (5’, 21’, 29’, 42’, 50’, 66’), R. Burford (19’), A. Dow 2 (38’, 63’), A. Cokayne (48’), M. Packer (51’), R. Clark (74’), E. Kildunne (76’)
Cons – A. Reed 5/10 (20’, 39’, 43’, 52’, 64’), Z. Harrison 2/3 (75’, 77’)
Tries – C. Nelles (60’)
Cons – J. Neilson 0/1
1 Vickii Cornborough, 2 Amy Cokayne, 3 Heather Kerr, 4 Abbie Scott, 5 Rowena Burnfield, 6 Sarah Hunter (capt.), 7 Marlie Packer, 8 Poppy Cleall, 9 Leanne Riley, 10 Katy Mclean, 11 Jess Breach, 12 Amber Reed, 13 Rachael Burford, 14 Abby Dow, 15 Danielle Waterman
Replacements: 16 Lark Davies, 17 Rochelle Clark, 18 Hannah Botterman, 19 Tamara Taylor, 20 Shaunagh Brown, 21 Caity Mattinson, 22 Zoe Harrison, 23 Ellie Kildunne
1 Brittany Kassil, 2 Laura Russell (capt.), 3 Olivia DeMerchant, 4 Tyson Beukeboom, 5 Ngalula Fuamba, 6 Emily Nicholl, 7 Sara Svoboda, 8 Cindy Nelles, 9 Brianna Miller, 10 Jess Neilson, 11 Nadia Popov, 12 Emily Belchos, 13 Emma Jada, 14 Paige Farries, 15 Anaïs Holly
Replacements: 16 Emily Barber, 17 Alex Ellis, 18 Veronica Harrigan, 19 McKinley Hunt, 20 Janna Slevinsky, 21 Courtney Holtkamp, 22 Justine Pelletier, 23 Sam Alli
Referee: Alhambra Nievas (FER)
Assistants: Tim Baker (HKRFU) & Aimee Barrett-Theron (SARU)