Canada has made it two from two in its fledgling women’s rugby league cross-border rivalry with the United States by scoring a 30-4 win in Monday’s Americas North Championship game in Kingston, Jamaica.
The Canada Ravens scored their first try in the opening minute of the game when left center Candace Scholten crashed through several would-be American defenders on a bustling solo effort.
The Canadians led 18-4 at the main break, although they had to withstand a grueling 15-minute period of unrelenting pressure by the USA Hawks who mounted wave after wave of attacking football but couldn’t turn that pressure into points.
Eventually, American hooker Tiana Granby dotted down over the tryline to close the gap to 6-4, but that was as close as the Hawks would get.
The second stanza of the first half saw plenty of mistakes creep into play by both teams, including knock-ons and multiple passes that were ruled as being forward by the referee.
Canada’s other tryscorers in the first half were right center Matilda Butler and lock and captain Megan Pakulis. Halfback and goalkicker Dani Franada was money with the conversions acing all three.
The second half was a different story with the Americans stepping up the pressure both in attack and defense, particularly when making tackles with the players keeping the ball carrier on the ground a little longer to give their defense time to reset.
Generally speaking, though, the second half was a fairly scrappy affair with neither team able to complete its sets on a continuing basis. More knock-ons, loose play-the-balls and unforced errors marred the half.
Canada went in two more times with fullback Petra Woods and prop Chantelle Crowl dotting down. Franada converted both of those tries to round out the scoring.
The scoreline could have blown out even further had the Ravens not bombed several try-scoring opportunities.
“I think it’s fair to say that we’re a little disappointed with some of the basic errors we made,” Canada head coach Mike Castle tells Rugby League Planet.
“In that regard I think we played well below the standards we’ve set ourselves. Having said that, I think there were some great passages of play that should give us confidence going forward.
“I am really happy with our defensive efforts. When you consider the amount of ball we turned over and the amount of defending our forwards had to do, we did a great job in holding them out for 4 points. They have a strong forward pack, and I’m really happy with the way we kept showing up in defence.
“Plenty to work on over the next couple of days as we head into the Jamaica game, but a win’s a win.”
The US team finished the game with just 12 players due to injuries taking their toll.
“We may have faced a tough loss to Canada today, but I couldn’t be prouder of our team’s unwavering dedication and the incredible strides they’ve made over the last five days,” says US head coach Ady Cooney.
“This result doesn’t overshadow our support for growing women’s rugby league. We’re truly honored to be part of the inaugural Americas North Championship.
“Credit to the Canada Ravens, who showed their strength today. We eagerly anticipate future matchups and the opportunity to lock horns again.”
The final game of the championships is on Wednesday when the Jamaica women Reggae Warriors will host the Canadians and should Canada get the W, they will win the series.
Taylor White, Agnes Fuerst, Christine Sargeant, Cyndi Campbell, Britney Royes, Robyn Oliveri, Courtney Treco, Paris Hart, Tiana Granby, Nicki Snyder, Sara Esther Anderson, Kadie Sandford, Samantha Black-Keels
Interchanges: Danielle Pola Wazko Siua, Shamarica Scott, Marcya Baylous, Narcisse Jordan
Try: Granby (14)
Goals: Oliveri 0/1
Petra Woods, Lauren Mueller, Candance Scholten, Matilda Butler, Brittany Jones, Dani Franada, Natalie Tam, Chantelle Crowl, Gabrielle Hindley, Liz Steele, Maddy Adberg, Rachel Choboter, Megan Pakulis Interchanges: Savanah Bacchus, Ada Okomkwo–Dappa, Fedelia Angles, Sarah Maguire
Tries: Scholten (1), Butler (17), Pakulis (31), Hindley (66), Steele (77)
Goals: Franada 5/5
Halt Time: 4-18
Americas North Championships schedule:
Game 1: Jamaica vs USA, University of West Indies, Kingston – Saturday, September 23
Game 2: USA vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Monday, September 25
Game 3: Jamaica vs Canada, University of West Indies, Kingston – Wednesday, September 27