- Single-point win for England Women against hosts Canada
- Result secures second place in Rugby Super Series
England Women wrapped up the Rugby Super Series with a 15-14 defeat of hosts Canada in Edmonton on Sunday, handing the Rugby World Cup champions a second-place finish overall.
England, who last played Canada in the World Cup final 11 months ago where they triumphed 21-9, were held to a much closer game this time around, clinging on to the victory in the dying minutes of the game.
Simon Middleton’s side ran in three tries to their opponents' one, but Canada centre Andrea Burk kicked three penalties only for her last attempt in the final minute, potentially the match winner, to sail just wide.
Head Coach Middleton said: “Canada certainly provided the physical contest we expected though they did surprise us by keeping the game to such close quarters with a pick and go style. However, it’s testimony to the character of our players that we resisted everything they threw at us, especially on our line.
“It’s always difficult when a team comes at you hard in defence. We had to work very hard for our scores. Our defence as a whole was superb, it had to be, and we delivered on physicality and attitude in this game.
“This was always going to be a tour of development and our aim was to take our game to the next level with this group. The USA, New Zealand and Canada are probably the three most physical sides in the world and we have come away having learned a lot about ourselves. We are moving in the right direction as we go through this rebuilding phase.”
Canada started the clash well with a good spell of pressure in England’s 22 in the first 15 minutes, but England duly responded with captain Emily Scarratt and Heather Fisher making some good breaks. In the end, the deadlock was broken on 14 minutes after a good offload from Claire Allan saw wing Kay Wilson dot down in the corner.
Canada pulled three points back with the first of their three penalties from the boot of Burk but Wilson again put Canada on the back foot with a second try. Some good work by the forwards in the lineout handed the backs some width across the pitch and Wilson ran in to hand England a 10-3 lead.
Solid defence by England in the second quarter kept Canada at bay and frustrated until England were penalised, and Burk struck her second penalty to make the score 10-6 at half-time.
Canada took the upper hand after the break with England conceding too many penalties and in the end got the ball out wide to centre Amanda Thornborough for the try. That score handed the hosts the lead for the first time in the game.
England got back into the match and were unlucky not to score from a lineout catch and drive. Scarratt also missed a 34-metre penalty but in the end England regained the lead when powerful flanker Fisher made a break from a lineout. She was brought down five metres from the try line but Amber Reed recycled the ball out to replacement hooker Amy Cokayne, who touched down to score her maiden try for England.
With the score 11-15 in England‘s favour on 62 minutes, the visitors then found themselves clinging on for the win with Burk adding a third penalty to make the score 14-15 with nine minutes left to play. Her fourth attempt in the last minute of the game was not as successful with the ball sailing wide, leaving England to run out winners.
England Women team v Canada
15 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield) C
14 Kay Wilson (Thurrock)
13 Claire Allan (Richmond)
12 Ceri Large (Worcester)
11 Lydia Thompson (Worcester)
10 Emily Scott (Thurrock)
9 Leanne Riley (Saracens)
1 Rochelle Clark (Worcester)
2 Victoria Fleetwood (Saracens)
3 Justine Lucas (Lichfield)
4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
5 Rowena Burnfield (Richmond)
6 Heather Fisher (Thurrock)
7 Hannah Gallagher (Saracens)
8 Alexandra Matthews (Richmond)
16 Amy Cokayne (Lichfield)
17 Vicky Cornborough (Richmond)
18 Laura Keates (Worcester)
19 Abbie Scott (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks)
20 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) C
21 Bianca Blackburn (Worcester)
22 Amber Reed (Bristol)
23 Sarah McKenna (Saracens)
Tries: Wilson (2), CokayneSubstitutions:
Cokayne for Fleetwood (40), Keates for Lucas (40), Cornborough for Clark (50), A Scott for Burnfield (50), Reed for Large (60), Blackburn for Riley (60), Hunter for Gallagher (68), McKenna for Allan (70).