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Canada women defeat the U.S. 32-11 to advance to the Rugby World Cup semifinal

Canadians to face England in Auckland next
Team Canada’s Sophie de Goede lines up for a penalty kick against Team Italy during second half test match rugby action at Starlight Stadium in Langford, B.C., on Sunday, July 24, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

Canada took control in the second half with 20 points to defeat the United States 32-11 and earn a berth in the semifinals at the Rugby World Cup on Sunday.

The third-ranked Canadians will face No. 1 England, the tournament favourite, next Friday at Eden Park in Auckland. No. 2 New Zealand, the five-time champions, meets No. 4 France in the other semifinal Saturday.

McKinley Hunt, Karen Paquin, Paige Farries and Alex Tessier scored tries for Canada, which led 12-8 at the break at Waitakere Stadium. Captain Sophie de Goede contributed 12 points with three conversions and two penalties.

Joanna Kitlinski scored the lone try for the seventh-ranked Americans. Alev Kelter booted two penalties.

It marked Canada’s seventh straight win over its North American rival since 2019 — and the second in a week.

“The first half was balanced but after that we showed we were better than the U.S.A.,” said Canadian coach Kevin Rouet.

The Canadians (4-0-0) defeated the Americans 29-14 last weekend to win Pool B and move into the knockout round as the second seed. The U.S. (1-3-0) advanced as one of the two best third-place finishers in the 12-team tournament.

In earlier quarterfinal action, England defeated No. 6 Australia 41-5, New Zealand downed No. 9 Wales 55-3 and France dispatched No. 5 Italy 39-3.

For the fully professional England side, it was a 29th straight victory. The Red Roses’ winning run dates back to a 28-13 loss to New Zealand in July 2019 and includes a 51-12 decision over Canada last November.

England has never finished out of the top three at the tournament.

The Red Roses won in 1994 and 2014 and finished runner-up five-times (losing to the U.S. in 1991 and New Zealand in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2017). They were third in 1998.

Canada’s best finish at the tournament was second in 2014 when it lost 21-9 to England in the final. The Canadian women placed fourth in 1998, 2002 and 2006 and were fifth last time out in 2017.

The rain that featured in the earlier England-Australia game had stopped before kickoff leaving a wet pitch. Both Canada and the U.S. looked to kick the ball early, looking to pin the opposition back.

The Americans pressed in the early going and went ahead in the ninth minute when Kitlinski crashed over after a lineout following a penalty to Maddy Grant for a high tackle near the Canadian try-line.

Canada answered in the 16th minute, using its driving maul off a lineout following a U.S. penalty for offside. Hunt eventually bulled her way over for the try with de Goede’s conversion giving Canada a 7-5 lead.

The Canadians kept coming with Paquin, capping off a lengthy attack, getting to an Elissa Alarie chip kick first for a 20th-minute try and a 12-5 lead.

Referee Joy Nicholls, in the 28th minute, warned the Canadians for an excessive penalty count. Second later the Canadians dodged a bullet when a Hope Rogers try off an American lineout was negated for a knock-on after video review.

A Kelter penalty in the 38th minute cut the Canadian lead to 12-8 as the rain began falling again.

The Canadians retrieved their own kickoff to start the second half and profited from it soon after as Farries sliced through the U.S. defence and touched down under the posts for a converted try that upped Canada’s lead to 19-8 in the 41st minute.

A Kelter penalty from distance reduced the advantage to 19-11.

Kelter was sent to the sin bin in the 47th minute for a high tackle near the U.S. goal line, reducing the Americans to 14 players for the next 10 minutes. De Goede was good on the ensuing penalty kick for a 22-11 lead.

Tessier scored the fourth Canadian try in the 57th minute as Canada battered the U.S. defence following a swerving run by Alarie.

Holes began to show in the tired U.S. defence and De Goede made it 32-11 with a 65th-minute penalty.

Canada lost centre Sara Kaljuvee early in the game after she failed a head injury assessment.

Lock Tyson Beukeboom came off the bench in the second half, moving into third place on the Canadian women’s appearances list with her 54th cap.


The Canadian Press

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