Canada ran away with a heavy 52-17 victory against South Africa on the first day of Nations Cup competition, in Oakville, Ontario Tuesday.
Canada stepped on to the pitch for the first time since the 2010 World Cup, and did so after announcing a last-minute change. Ottawa’s Marie Bosco was added to the reserves bench, due to a minor injury flare-up with Cheryl Phillips.
From the beginning, it appeared that Canada’s speed across the field was going to be difficult for their opposition to contain, as Edmonton’s Jen Kish, who was standing in as Canada’s No. 8 during offensive scrums, was a constant threat and kept Canada on the front foot for most of the game.
“We are blessed with two great No. 8s,” said Head Coach John Tait. “Jenn has the ability and speed to get out and attack the other team’s backline, so we have enjoyed seeing what she can do in those situations. She was great today in both attack and defense.”
After an early Canadian try, the South Africans were able to claw their way back to a 7-6 scoreline, but that was as close as the match would get. A steady stream of quick ball with ample support runners began to see Canada widen the gap. Despite often heroic South African tackles, the Canadians began a parade to the try line.
The real story of this match was the impact of Canada’s 7s internationals. Names like Kish, Russell, Marchak, Burk and Landry were threats whenever they touched the ball; Landry herself notching three of Canada’s tries, with electric turns of pace.
"Overall I was very happy with our set piece, and I thought the overall team performance really improved in the second half,” said Tait. “One exciting thing was that the new caps really stood out. I thought Kayla Mack did great work around the park and showed she deserved to be out there. Kelly Russell really had a Captain’s performance out there as well."
As pleased as the Canadian management was with the team’s accomplishments, they are under no illusions about the path ahead of them in this competition.
“We are going to have to be a little more aware of where we are on the field in the future, and tighten up our kick chase,” Tait added. “We are only going to get so many opportunities from here on in at this tournament, so we will have to make sure we take them when they arrive."
The Canadian women will now rest up for their match on Day #2 of the Nations Cup, against the USA in Chatham, Ont. on Friday. The Americans pushed England to the extreme limit in their Day #1 match, losing a heartbreaker 15-11.
Final Score: Canada (52) - South Africa (17)
1. Marie-Pier Pinault-Reid (Club de Rugby de Quebec) Quebec City, PQ
2. Kim Donaldson (Burnaby Lake) Vancouver, BC
3. Corinne Jacobsen (Burnaby Lake) Vancouver, BC
4. Maria Jaworski (Calgary Hornets) Calgary, AB
5. Danielle Rowlands (Kirin RFC / Calgary Hornets) Colonsay, SK
6. Kayla Mack (Wild Oats) Saskatoon, SK
7. Jen Kish (Lep Tigers) Edmonton, AB
8. Kelly Russell (Capt.) (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
9. Laura Stoughton (Calgary Irish) Calgary, AB
10. Julia Sugawara (Burnaby Lake) Surrey, BC
11. Jessica Dovanne (Velox Valkyries) Victoria, BC
12. Mandy Marchak (Capilano) Winnipeg, MB
13. Brittany Waters (Meraloma) Vancouver, BC
14. Andrea Burk (Capilano North) Vancouver, BC
15. Ghislaine Landry (Toronto Scottish) Toronto, ON
16. Jessica Belchos (Markham Irish) Innisfil, ON
17. Brandi Van Eeuwen (Cowichan) Duncan, BC
18. Laura Russell (Toronto Nomads) Bolton, ON
19. Shannon Kane (Capilano) Victoria, BC
20. Arielle Dubissette-Borrice (Toronto Nomads) Ajax, ON
21. Julianne Zussman (Town of Mount Royal RFC) Montreal, PQ
22. Marie Bosco (Ottawa Irish) Ottawa, ON
Head Coach: John Tait
Assistant Coach: Sandro Fiorino
Team Manager: Penny Delaney
Press Officer: Jeff Hull
Athletic Therapist: Jason White
Athletic Therapist: Darren Wharrie
1. Nedene Botha
2. Denita Wentzel
3. Cebisa Kula
4. Dolly Mavumengwana
5. Nolusindiso Booi
6. Lamla Momoti
7. Mandisa Williams (Capt.)
8. Namhla Siyolo
9. Fundiswa Plaatjie
10. Zenay Jorsaan
11. Natasha Hofmeester
12. Daphne Scheepers
13. Ziyanda Tywaleni
14. Phumeza Gadu
15. Pulane Motloung
16. Pulane Motloung
17. Laurian Johannes
18. Onicca Moaga
19. Nomathamsanqa Faleni
20. Nwabisa Ngxatu
21. Janine Felix
22. Yolanda Meiring